Object Focus: The Bowl

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Object Focus: The Bowl, Reflect + Respond on Tumblr

An ongoing compilation of writing on the bowl, including: A Bowl, responses to bowls in the exhibition ranging from empirical observation to poetry; My Bowl, reflections on objects from one's personal history, memory, or day-to-day reality; and The Bowl, writing selections that consider the bowl as an archetypical form.

Access the blog on Tumblr.

CraftPerspectives Symposium: Craft and Social Practice

This symposium is in conjunction with Open Engagement, an international conference that explores socially engaged art making organized by Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration. Craft and Social Practice is a project of Muse

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Curatorial Walkthrough: Object Focus the Bowl, Part 1

Chief Curator Namita Wiggers and Curator of Collection Nicole Nathan offer an in depth look at Object Focus: The Bowl, Part 1, on view through August 3, 2013.
Download (mp3).

Curatorial Walkthrough: Object Focus the Bowl, Part 2

MoCC Director and Chief Curator Namita Wiggers offers an in depth look at Object Focus: The Bowl, Engage + Use, on view through September 21, 2013.
Download (mp3).

Associate Curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo speaks with Joseph Gallivan about Object Focus: The Bowl on KBOO

Associate Curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo speaks with Joseph Gallivan about Object Focus: The Bowl on KBOO community radio

Object Focus: The Bowl, a series of videos by Food.Farmer.Earth

Food.Farmer.Earth interviews Director and Chief Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers about the Object Focus: The Bowl in a series of YouTube videos.

March 07, 2013 – September 21, 2013

Curated by: Namita Gupta Wiggers

Objects that occupy daily lives can be some of the most challenging to present, analyze and consider in a museum environment. The second in the Object Focus series, this exhibition focuses on an archetypal cultural form: the bowl. Commonplace and familiar, the bowl can range from utilitarian to decorative, functional to conceptual. Pairing writers from a range of disciplines with bowls from the Museum’s collection and public and private collections, this exhibition focuses on writing and thinking about simple, everyday objects. The exhibition will include interactive elements for visitors to handle a variety of bowls, and space for collective thoughts and responses in writing to help build fresh perspectives on this powerful, yet often overlooked form. The exhibition will be unveiled and dismantled in two phases.

Object Focus: The Bowl, Reflect+Respond
March 7 – August 3, 2013

Reflect+Respond, will pair objects from local collections and the MoCC archive with short narratives written by individuals from a range of disciplines. The words of chefs, anthropologists, and poets will appear alongside those of critics, makers, and curators, all extolling on the art and craft of the bowl in its myriad incarnations. This portion of Object Focus will welcome visitors to contribute their own reflections on the bowl inspired by a work on display or by an object in your collection at home.

Writers! Please submit any musin’s and thinkin’s on Bowls, (500-word max!), to Reflections can involve a bowl included in the exhibition, or draw from an object from your personal history, memory, or day-to-day reality. If your inspiration is sourced from outside the Museum, it would be fantastic if you could include a photo, drawing, or some other visual representation of your bowl along with your text. You will be able to view your submission as part of the Tumblr feed that went live March 7, 2013!

Object Focus: The Bowl, Engage+Use
May 16 – September 21, 2013

Engage+Use, features contemporary project-based work that investigates the processes of making, using, and living with bowls. Ayumi Horie has organized Circulate, a lending library of handcrafted bowls that visitors can checkout and use at home to reflect on the tactile, embodied experience of objects. Artist and activist Michael Strand created Bowls Around Town, a traveling trunk—a kit to serve and document family-style meals—that was distributed within various communities in Portland to investigate the social and cultural experience of an object. Strand’s kits continue to be available through the Multnomah County Library. Visit their online catalog to reserve and check out the Bowls Around Town project. Craft Mystery Cult, a collective of makers based in Oakland, Chicago, and Indonesia, have collaborated on A Setting for Leo, Lynx, Casseopiea, and Camelopardalis, an installation that alludes to the hemisphere as bowl that encompasses the globe. The collective mines the essential materials and processes of craft as a point to explore the embodied experience of craft-based making as a timeless and boundaryless set of practices. Andy Paiko and Ethan Rose return to the Museum to present a second iteration of Transference, an installation of five glass armonicas that presents the bowl as a vehicle to project rather than contain.

Also included in Engage + Use is Portland Selects, a two-fold project that features, firstly, a selection of bowls on loan from a group of Portland’s celebrated chefs, bakers, confectioners, and cookbook authors. In addition to displaying the bowl itself, the Museum produced short video interviews with each participant as a way to communicate each bowl’s personal significance to the owner. Secondly, Portland Selects includes a series of collaborative projects between area restaurants and local ceramic artists. In these partnerships, potters worked one-on-one with chefs to create a vessel specifically designed to serve a seasonal menu item. Look for these Portland Selects collaborations as of June 1 on the menus of Park Kitchen, Irving St. Kitchen, and all five Hot Lips Pizza locations.


John & Suzanne Bishop • Mary & Brot Bishop • Ed Cauduro Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation • Maribeth Collins • Konky & Bob Forster • Jere Grimm • Karen & Harry Groth • The Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc. • Linda & Bill Nicholson • Dick & Deanne Rubinstein • Nani Warren • RACC and Work for Art


Part 1 – Collection Gallery
Part 2 – Lower Gallery