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Namita Gupta Wiggers

NCECA 2013 Ceramics Biennial / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, USA

NCECA 2013 Ceramics Biennial at Houston Center for Contemporary Craft

NCECA 2013 Ceramics Biennial / Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, USA
January 26 - May 5, 2013

Award presentation & Reception: Thursday, March 21, 5:30 - 9 PM.

Held in conjunction with the Annual Conference in odd-numbered years, the NCECA Biennial is the premier juried exhibition open to all current members of NCECA (both national and international) and to all ceramic artists, 18 years and older, residing in the U.S.

Houston Center for Contemporary Craft will host the 2013 Biennial Exhibition from January 26 - May 5, 2013. The opening reception will take place on January 25, 2013 and a reception will also be held during the Houston Conference on Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 5:30 - 9:00 pm. NCECA produces a color catalog featuring work by all participating artists and may be pre-ordered through NCECA’s Online Store. Remaining copies may also be available for purchase at conference.

Participating artists: Nicole Aquillano, Christa Assad, Tom Bartel, Nicholas Bivins, Renée Brown, Josephine Burr, Gary Carlos, Lisa Cecere, Du Chau, Andréa Keys Connell, Emily Connell, Shenny Cruces, Elizabeth DeLyria, Sharan Elran, Léopold L. Foulem, Teri Frame, Chad Gunderson, Sarah House, Erica Iman, Ryan LaBar, Thomas Lane, Lauren Mabry, Ted Neal, Tybre Newcomer, Claudia Olds Goldie, Vijay V. Paniker, Joseph Pintz, Paolo Porelli, Audrey Rosulek, Joel Schroeder, Linda Sormin, Mark Nathan Stafford, Michael Strand, George Timock, Triesch Voelker

Jurors: Cristina Cordova, Namita Gupta Wiggers, Richard Notkin

Internationally acclaimed for her hauntingly, provocative figurative sculptures, juror Cristina Cordova has a well-established record of museum exhibitions including: Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico; Mint Museum of Craft + Design, Charlotte, NC; Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile, AL; Gretchen Keyworth, Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, MA and the Joseph -Schein Museum, NY. A highly respected workshop teacher, Cristina has led numerous workshops in figurative art in universities and art centers such as: Armory Arts Center, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Anderson Ranch Arts Center and Penland School of Crafts where she serves as a trustee. A graduate of Colegio de Agricultura y Artes Mecánicas, Mayagüyez, Puerto Rico and New York State College of Ceramics, Alfred University; Cristina’s work challenges gender and racial boundaries while engendering discourse on intellectual conventions and social mores. Cristina recently exhibited her art in Bestiario at the Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, FL during the 2011 NCECA conference and in Push Play: The 2012 NCECA Invitational at Bellevue Arts Museum.

Namita Gupta Wiggers is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, OR, where she directs the exhibition, collection and public programming. Her curatorial work combines her experience and training as an art historian, a museum educator, ethnographer and design researcher, teacher, writer, and studio art jeweler. Through exhibitions and programming, Wiggers considers how craft and design function as subjects and verbs, and as simultaneously distinct and intersecting practices, and how the exhibition operates as a site and space for cultural inquiry.
Recent publications include Generations: Betty Feves (forthcoming), Ken Shores: Clay Has the Last Word (2010), and Unpacking the Collection: Selections from the Museum of Contemporary Craft (2008), the first publication to document the Museum’s collection and the institution’s connections to dramatic changes in craft-based and artistic practice over the past 70 years. Wiggers edited Garth Clark’s How Envy Killed the Crafts Movement: An Autopsy in Two Parts (2009) and contributes essays for museum catalogues, including Hand + Made: The Performative Impulse in Art and Craft (2010, Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston) and Innovation & Change: Ceramics from the Arizona State University Art Museum (2009, Ceramic Research Center, ASU). Her writing on contemporary jewelry includes Mining History: Ornamentalism Revisited (Metalsmith, 2009), co-authored with Lena Vigna and Curatorial Conundrums: Exhibiting Contemporary Art Jewelry in a Museum Environment (Art Jewelry Forum Website, 2010). She is the co-founder of Critical Craft Forum, and serves on the Board of Trustees, American Craft Council and the curatorial board of accessceramics, an online clay-focused database.

Richard Notkin lives and works in Helena, Montana, creating works deeply influenced by the centuries-old tradition of Yixing pottery from which he has adopted the precise working methods and a penchant for trompe l’oeil. With his artwork serving as an extension of his conscience, Richard’s ceramic sculptures and tile murals are visual explorations into social and political commentary questioning military misadventures and foreign policy around the world with particular focus on nuclear weaponry and energy. Richard Notkin received his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from University of California, Davis. His awards include: Artist Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts, 1979, 1981, 1988; Fellowship in Sculpture, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation and the Hoi Fellowship from the United States Artists Foundation. In 2008, he was elected to The American Craft Council College of Fellows. His work is in over 60 public collections including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Cooper-Hewitt Museum, Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles A. Wustum Museum of Art, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Shigaraki Museum of Ceramic Art and Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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  • Object Focus: The Bowl / Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland

    Object Focus: The Bowl at Museum of Contemporary Craft Portland

    Object Focus: The Bowl / Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland
    March 7 - September 21, 2013

    Curated by Namita Gupta Wiggers

    The Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) opens the second exhibition in its Object Focus series, Object Focus: The Bowl, on March 7, 2013. This two-part exhibition, featuring nearly 200 bowls, focuses attention on the most commonplace of objects, asking us to consider the ubiquitous bowl in new ways. As artist and PNCA professor M.K. Guth has pointed out, the history of the bowl is the history of civilization. Yet because it holds our cereal, our soup, our tea, our spare change, it becomes so familiar as to be overlooked. Through a variety of engaging activities, Object Focus: The Bowl invites the viewer to connect the work on display in the Museum with the bowl in his or her everyday life. The bowls on view range from the functional to the decorative, industrially produced to handmade, and span the globe geographically and culturally.

    Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Common Things, Andrea Zittel’s A-Z Container, and conversations with artists, craftspeople, and designers about how they consider this archetypal form in their own work, inspired the thinking around this exhibition. Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum London, has written in The Language of Things that everyday objects like the table, chair, and lamp have been pulled into the realm of Design to become the Noguchi Table, Eames Chair, and Ingo Maurer Lamp. The bowl, perhaps too commonplace and familiar, has stubbornly refused to be co-opted in this way. 

    To invite a deeper consideration of the bowl, Object Focus: The Bowl will feature a number of participatory projects in the Museum and in the community, many of which engage the public in collaboration.

    In Part One: Reflect + Respond, March 7-August 3, 2013, Director and Chief Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers has kick-started this process by inviting anthropologists, artists, poets, novelists, curators, and more to write 500 words on a bowl of their choosing from the exhibition. This is only the beginning. Throughout the exhibition, the Museum invites viewers to write their own 500-word pieces on the bowl in an effort to gather 50,000 words by August, 2013. 50,000 words is the average length of a novel, according to the popular National Novel Writing Month project. All contributions will be made available online at www.objectfocusbowl.tumblr.com

    There will also be a drawing station in the Museum. Students from PNCA’s BFA in Illustration program will be contributing works on the bowl, and visitors are invited to contribute drawings to the exhibition as well.

    The second part of the exhibition, Part Two: Engage + Use, May 16-September 21, 2013, explores the social role of the bowl through artist projects, performances, a symposium, through contributions by the region’s chefs and a project in partnership with Portland restaurants.

    Ayumi Horie will create a bowl lending library that will allow visitors to handle handcrafted bowls in the museum and borrow objects to be used at home. For his project, Bowls Around Town, Michael Strand has created traveling trunks that contain a ceramic bowl, digital camera, and recipe book to circulate among some of Portland’s communities that come together around mealtimes. Area chefs, cookbook authors, bakers, and candymakers will make bowl selections and offer recipes at the Chefs’ Table. In addition, there will be a reprisal of Transference by Andy Paiko and Ethan Rose, as well as a series of performances by Craft Mystery Cult. Finally, there will be a symposium on Craft and Social Practice featuring some of the artists featured in Object Focus: The Bowl, planned in conjunction with Portland State University’s Open Engagement Conference.

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  • Reflecting on Erik Gronborg / Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland

    Reflecting on Erik Gronborg exhibition Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland

    Reflecting on Erik Gronborg / Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR, USA
    August 07, 2012 – February 16, 2013

    Selections and Installation by Jeffry Mitchell
    Curated by Jeffry Mitchell and Namita Gupta Wiggers

    Erik Gronborg employs archetypes of functional ceramic traditions as conceptual vehicles to explore contemporary culture. Combining a 1,000-year-old-continuum of ceramic history with silk-screening, comics, china paint, and commercial glazes, Gronborg’s provocative “crafty” and non-precious approach is a precursor to the “sloppy craft” that is as challenging today as it was in the late 1960s. Working with Seattle-based artist Jeffry Mitchell, selections of Gronborg’s work will be drawn from local public and private collections. Through dialogue and conversation throughout the process with Namita Gupta Wiggers, and an installation designed by Mitchell, the exhibition will explore Gronborg’s use of craft as a tool for social commentary and political satire, and how the work relates to Mitchell’s own explorations of ceramics as a contemporary medium.

    Location: Collection Gallery

    Opening August 7, 2012 and running through February 16, 2013, this exhibition is part of a series of ongoing explorations in which the Museum invites fresh perspectives on the collection and archive by partnering with artists, creative people, and designers to create public exhibitions. Director and Chief Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers invited ceramic artist Jeffry Mitchell to make selections of Gronborg’s work as a way of fostering a dialogue between the work of these two artists of different generations and as a way of creating conversation around Gronborg’s work.

    The Museum is recording conversations between Wiggers and Mitchell about Mitchell’s selections and groupings of the senior artist’s work. These conversations center on the use of craft as a tool for social commentary and political satire, and how Gronborg’s work relates to Mitchell’s own explorations of ceramics as a contemporary sculptural medium. Reflecting on Erik Gronborg, co-curated by Mitchell and Wiggers, features work from the Museum’s collection and from private collections in Portland. The more than 85 works by Gronborg include ceramic, wood, and miniature bronze sculptures.

    Erik Gronborg, who moved to the United States from Denmark in 1959, almost immediately began making what he considers functional ceramic works that explore contemporary culture. Combining the 1,000-year-old-continuum of ceramic history with silk-screening, comics, china paint, and commercial glazes, Gronborg’s provocative “crafty” and non-precious approach is a precursor to the “sloppy craft” that is as challenging today as it was in the late 1960s. Gronborg, whose last kiln firing was in 1996, won The City of Paris Award at The Paris Bienale in 1963. Gronborg has spent most of his life as an artist and educator at various institutions in California and also taught at Reed College from 1965-69.

    A retrospective of Mitchell’s work, Like a Valentine: The Art of Jeffry Mitchell, opens at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle in October 2012. Mitchell was awarded a Joan Mitchell Grant in 2009 and was a finalist for the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards at the Portland Art Museum in 2008. His work was included in the ICA’s 2009 exhibition, Dirt on Delight: Impulses that Form Clay. Mitchell is represented by Ambach & Rice in Los Angeles.

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