The Ceramics of Gertrud and Otto Natzler
An essay by Portland-based educator, art historian and arts writer Prudence Roberts.
CraftPerspectives Lecture: Garth Clark (Part I)
CraftPerspectives Lecture: Garth Clark (Part I)
New York gallery owner, curator, writer and historian Garth Clark presents a provocative lecture and dialogue based on his new essay examining how aesthetics, economics and art-envy has “killed” the crafts movement. Clark will first present his paper and then engage in an extended conversation with the audience. One of craft’s most influential thinkers, Clark has edited and contributed to over 50 books, is author of over 200 essays and articles, and was the recipient of the prestigious Mather Award from the College Art Association. Sue Taylor, assistant chair of the Portland State University Art Department will provide an introduction. This lecture took place at Pacific Northwest College of Art, October 16, 2008.
Craft Conversation: Dawn Odell and Namita Gupta Wiggers on Shards
October 9, 2008
Join us for a lively discussion about some of ceramics’ most controversial and topical issues. Dawn Odell, assistant professor of art history, Lewis & Clark College, and Namita Gupta Wiggers will facilitate a discussion of Shards: Garth Clark on Ceramic Art.
October 14, 2008
Learn more about the exhibitions on view in a guided tour with Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers.
CraftPerspectives Lecture: An Evening with Garth Clark
How Envy Killed the Crafts Movement: An Autopsy in Two Parts
October 16, 2008
New York gallery owner, curator, writer and historian Garth Clark presents a provocative lecture and dialogue based on his new essay examining how aesthetics, economics and art-envy has “killed” the crafts movement. Clark will first present his paper and then engage in an extended conversation with the audience. One of craft’s most influential thinkers, Clark has edited and contributed to over 50 books, is author of over 200 essays and articles, and was the recipient of the prestigious Mather Award from the College Art Association. Sue Taylor, assistant chair of the Portland State University Art Department will provide an introduction.
Oregon Potter’s Association
September 9–October 19, 2008
Saturday Demonstrations: September 13, 20, 27, October 4, 11, 18 (1–4 pm)
On view in the Museum
Two documentaries about Gertrud and Otto Natzler, The Ceramic Art of the Natzlers, Artists of the World Series (1966) and Earth, Fire, Water and Wind: The Ceramics of Otto Natzler (1992), are on view in the exhibition. Total running time: 40 minutes.
August 02, 2008 – January 25, 2009
Curated by: Namita Gupta Wiggers
Gertrud and Otto Natzler’s connection to Portland began shortly after they emigrated from German-occupied Austria to Los Angeles, California in 1938. For its inaugural exhibition in 1939, Oregon Ceramic Studio (now Museum of Contemporary Craft) hosted the California Second Annual Ceramic Exhibition, introducing modern ceramics to Portland through the work of Laura Andreson, Glen Lukens, Gertrud and Otto Natzler, and Beatrice Wood. Several decades later, former director Jan de Vries organized the retrospective Natzler Ceramics (1975) for Contemporary Crafts Gallery (now Museum of Contemporary Craft).
The Ceramics of Gertrud and Otto Natzler marks what would have been the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gertud (d. 1971) and Otto (d. 2007). It is an opportunity to reacquaint those familiar with the work of the Natzlers, and to introduce new audiences to this pair of artists who continue to play a critical role in the history of craft. Drawn from local collections and several West Coast museums, the nearly 100 objects on view survey the range of forms produced over a period of several decades by this prolific couple. Two documentaries from 1966 and 1992 show the artists at work in their studio, connecting ideas, process and product. A tape recording of a lecture by Otto Natzler, held in conjunction with Natzler Ceramics in 1975 was recently discovered in the Museum archives, and is publicly available for the first time as an audio podcast on the Museum’s web site. Selected vessels by two contemporary artists, Jeremy Briddell and Adam Silverman, reveal the ongoing impact of mid-century modernism and the Natzler’s work on ceramics today.
The installation of the exhibition pivots on Gertrud’s comment that “in pottery, form is the content.” For the four artists in this exhibition, structure and materials are inseparable. Each form seamlessly integrates a range of elements: silhouette and line, texture and color, form and glaze, repetition and variation, history and innovation. Undeniably beautiful, the works on view operate between sculpture and functional form, inviting slow, luxuriant looking while raising questions about how pottery resides in today’s concept-driven art arena.
Thank you to the individuals and museums who have lent or donated work for this exhibition.
Richard L. Brown
De Young Museum, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Margaret Murray Gordon
Carol and Seymour Haber
Ronna and Eric Hoffman
Long Beach Museum of Art
Mills College Art Museum
Mary Anne Normandin
Portland Art Museum
Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery