"We Claim the Bowl in the Name of Craft," in Contemporary Clay and Museum Culture, edited by Christie Brown, Julian Stair and Clare Twomey was released in June 2016. Published by Routledge.
Two essays appear in On and Off: Jewelry in the Wider Cultural Field: "Kiff Slemmons: living on Indian land," and Kerianne Quick's fob.
The essay contributed to O. Pioneers! focuses on the work of Betty Feves.
The GICB 2015 International Competition includes essays on each of the top awardees.
Objects to Wear, an exhibition which exemplifies the cultural zeitgeist of late 1960s youth culture and brought notoriety to Gjis Bakker and Emmy van Leersum of the Netherlands is my contribution to Shows and Tales: On Jewelry Exhibition Making. It includes never-before-published images of models wearing jewelry and installation photographs of this legendary exhibition.
Several local writers in Portland were invited to share essays on design. I contributed "The Fridge is Dead, Long Live the Fridge," an autobiographical case study on this iconic cultural object and the connection it lends to understanding place, family, history and use.
Pigeons on the Grass, Alas takes its title from Gertrude Stein, and its content from the construction of a series of responses on curating into a "fake" symposium.
On the shelf. . . .
Selections of publications
or to which I've contributed content. . . .
Contemporary Clay and Museum Culture
I contributed an essay, "We Claim the Bowl in the Name of Craft" to this forthcoming publication. Anticipated availability: June 2016
Edited by Christie Brown, Julian Stair, and Clare Twomey
This groundbreaking book is the first to provide a critical overview of the relationship between contemporary ceramics and curatorial practice in museum culture. Ceramic objects form a major part of museum collections, with connections to anthropology, archaeology and other disciplines that engage with the cultural and social history of humankind. In recent years museums have provided the impetus for cutting-edge artistic practice, either as a response to particular collections, or as part of exhibitions. But the question of how museums have staged contemporary ceramics and how ceramic artists respond to museum collections has not been the subject of published research to date. This book examines how ceramic artists have, over the last decade, begun to animate museum collections in new ways, and reflects on the impact that these new initiatives have had in the broad context of visual culture. Ceramics in the Expanded Field is the culmination of a three-year AHRC funded project, and reflects its major findings. It brings together leading international voices in the field of ceramics, research undertaken throughout the project and papers delivered at the concluding conference. By examining the benefits and constraints of interventions and the dialogue between ceramics and museological practice, this book will bring focus to an area of museology that has not yet been theorized, and will contribute to policy debates and art practice.
On and Off: Jewelry in the Wider Cultural Field
I contributed two essays to this publication, one on Kerianne Quick, and the second on Kiff Slemmons.
Benjamin Lignel, ed.
Jewelry will meddle in human affairs. It will bear witness to transfers of authority, seal alliances, stand proud over your scholastic achievements, or discreetly signal that, no, not tonight, thank you very much. And of course, human affairs will in turn inform the conception, intended use, and abuse of jewelry. Contemporary work, in particular, is defined by the range of cultural references that it brings into the foreground and its willingness to tackle contentious issues.
On and Off is a collection of 30 short essays on jewelry in the wider cultural realm, reflecting AJF’s mission to report on contemporary practice. AJF’s fifth publication depicts the ongoing conversation between incorporated social norms and creative agendas, exploring those phenomena that inform and complicate jewelry’s history—sex, domination, self-identification, territory, and death.
About half of the essays focus on individual works, while the other half engage with jewelry’s agency in the social, political, and private spheres. The collection as a whole invites some of the meatier subjects of human affairs to the jewelry table: cultural appropriation, social engineering, political propaganda, or jewelry-mediated empowerment.
With essays by:
David Beytelmann, Nigel Borell, Cécile Bulté, Monika Brugger, Susan Cohn, Anna Conticello, Liesbeth den Besten, Rutger Emmelkamp, Julie Ewington, Mònica Gaspar, Stephen Knott, Marthe Le Van, Baptiste Lignel, Jillian Moore, Stephen Mulqueen, Elisabeth Murphy, Kevin Murray, Kerianne Quick, Suzanne Ramljak, Amina Rizwan, Damian Skinner, Emily Stoehrer, Timothy Information Limited, Namita Gupta Wiggers, and Marilyn Zapf.
And illustrations by:
O Pioneers! Women Ceramic Artists 1925-1960
Contributed "Betty Feves: Building Community as a Career"
Edited by Ezra Shales
2015 Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Art
New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University
Alfred, New York
Geongyi International Ceramics Biennal 2015
In 2015 I co-juried the GICB 2015 international competition. Each juror contributed essays on each of the award winners, included in this publication.
75 Gifts for 75 Years
Museum of Contemporary Craft at PNCA
By Namita Gupta Wiggers. To celebrate the Museum’s 75th Anniversary and role as one of the nation’s oldest institutions dedicated to craft, collectors from the Pacific Northwest and beyond have generously donated and promised gifts to the Museum’s permanent collection. Published 2012. Design: Briar Levit.
$20 + S&H. Softcover; 64 pages; full color; 9.5 × 7.5 inches. Order Now by calling the Gallery Store at 503-546-2654
Ken Shores: Clay Has the Last Word
This stand alone publication was created in conjunction with Generations: Ken Shores, the first museum retrospective to focus on the work of local artist, educator, and the first paid Director of Contemporary Crafts Gallery, now Museum of Contemporary Craft at Pacific Northwest College of Art.
Innovation & Change: Ceramics from the Arizona State University Art Museum
Innovation & Change provides the first overview of the Arizona State University Art Museum's internationally renowned contemporary ceramics collection. Richly illustrated with more than 125 highlights from the collection, Innovation & Change also presents some of the most talented writers in America and England contributing insightful observations of key works, making this handsome publication an invaluable resource for years to come. Also included are a comprehensive chronology as well as extensive exhibition and bibliographic listings.
Softbound, 224 pages with over 100 colorplates. Suggested retail is $45.
Transforming Practice, a comprehensive collection of articles from Museum Education Roundtable'sJournal of Museum Education, presents a rich and exemplary selection of writing in one accessible resource. Each of the book's four sections includes an introductory essay; "sparks" excerpted from each article that alone might ignite debate; "reflections" by some of the authors looking back on their work; and discussion questions. Four case studies in the final section highlight the fascinating interplay among change, response, and understanding. Transforming Practice is a professional development tool--a resource for museum training programs, small museums, staffs, practitioner groups, and friends to inspire conversation, critique, debate, and your own writing. As Stephen E. Weil writes in his foreword, this book reveals "the richness of ideas, the dedication to excellence, and the extraordinary depth and variety of talents to be found among this generation of museum educators." Sponsored by the Museum Education Roundtable.
This title is sponsored by The Museum Education Roundtable.
The Museum Education Roundtable (MER) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, dedicated to enriching and promoting the field of Museum Education. Through publications, programs, and communication networks, MER fosters professionalism, encourages leadership, scholarship, and research in museum-based learning, and advocates the inclusion and application of museum-based learning in the general education arena. For more information on MER and its activities, please visit their website at http://museumeducation.info/. Members receive the Journal of Museum Education as a benefit of membership. Write to MER at PO Box 15727, Washington, DC 20003.
The first publication produced by Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art, “How Envy Killed the Crafts Movement: An Autopsy in Two Parts,” is now available on lulu.com. The book is based on the lecture of the same name given by Garth Clark on October 16, 2008, co-presented by MoCC, PNCA and Oregon College of Art and Craft. “With characteristic humor, Clark’s lecture surveys the past 150 years...Arguing that the desire for parity with the fine arts by artists, crafters (as Clark prefers), collectors, academia and institutions created the demise of the movement itself, Clark expresses concern that nostalgia and envy plague an aging community. As a result, he wryly quips, success is measured by escape from the 'penitentiary' of craft into the 'nirvana' of the art world. Instead of seeking a bridge to the fine arts, Clark advocates re-unification with design.” -Namita Gupta Wiggers
Quality is Contagious: John Economaki & Bridge City Tool Works
Unpacking the Collection: Selections from the Museum of Contemporary Craft
The first publication to document Museum of Contemporary Craft’s collection and its connections to dramatic changes in artistic practice over the past seventy years, Unpacking the Collection introduces this vital regional center for craft through photographs of work, essays, texts, archival photographs and an abbreviated exhibition chronology. Published 2008. Distributed by D.A.P.
$35 + S&H. Softcover; 136 pages; full color; 9.5 × 7.5 inches. Order Now by calling the Gallery Store at 503-546-2654
Manufractured by Steven Skov Holt and Mara Holt Skov
MANUFRACTURED The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects
PUBLISHER COMMENTS This volume reveals a major trend taking place today in visual and material culture—the radical appropriation of consumer goods as raw material for art- and object-making. A growing number of artists, craftspeople, and designers are realigning traditional craft practices with already manufactured objects and materials to marry the uniquely handmade with the uniformly mass-produced. Published to coincide with a show at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon, Manuf®actured offers an arresting look at the new crossover of craft, art, and design, and an exciting new cultural genre.
Writing I've contributed to online blogs, journals, etc. . .
In February 2015, I was invited to guest edit a special issue on textiles for Art Practical. For issue 6.3 Dimensions: Expanded Measures of Textiles, contributors included, in order: Elissa Auther; Sheila Pepe and LJ Roberts; John Brodie; Sonya Clark; Carissa Carman and Rowland Ricketts III; Bukola Koiki; Vanessa Kauffman; Rebecca Gates; T'ai Smith; Danny Orrendorff; Susan Beal; Emily Katz, and myself (introduction).
Here is what I proposed:
When asked to edit an issue on textiles, I immediately thought of how I use Neil Cummings’ ReadingThings. This out-of-print text addresses the slippery intangibilities of representation of objects outside of the circles of commodity culture. It sits on my bedside table, where I can randomly access it at any time. Open it to any page, and a productive connection, thought, or question emerges from any number of kinds of information about things: a photograph, drawing, two kinds of verb lists, essays, etc.
It is the sensation of discovery triggered by the volume’s collected content that is the aim of this issue of Art Practical. Mirroring the way in which opening the page of a book can lead to unexpected paths and thinking, each contribution is chosen to be a platform for discovery within the issue, and, by extension, of the internet. It is a proposition, using an online journal as the tool of conveyance. It is an effort to push what is possible in understanding textiles as a broad subject, and also in what an online journal like Art Practical can achieve in connecting content to the medium and context in which it exists. In this way, the issue is intended to operate as a facilitator of inquiry as much as a document of thinking through textiles right now.
THIS SUMMER I AM GOING TO READ… REBECCA SOLNIT’S WANDERLUST: A HISTORY OF WALKING
In Summer 2015, Art Jewelry Forum launched a reading series, described as follows by Editor, Benjamin Lignel, and including the following contributors:
Reading is seasonal. Come June, we head down the nearest Amazon shop—well, you know what I mean—to buy what your downstairs neighbor calls a “summer read” while wrapping a bashful smile around the latest Le Carré, which happens to be poking out of his beach tote.
Meanwhile AJF, being of the WTF persuasion, believes that the intensity of intellectual stimulation we provide should be directly proportional to the quantity of sand you are sitting on. And so I have asked some of the fiercest book consumers I know—namely, the very smart people who contribute to this website—to tell us about one book that has made a particular impression on them. Quite a superlative cast of people has kindly accepted my invitation, and I am delighted to announce the 2015 summer book tour.
Book Tour: publication dates and cities of provenance
Montreuil, July 2 Benjamin Lignel
Little Rock, August 2 Marion Fulk
Zürich, July 10 Monica Gaspar
Oslo, August 10 André Gali
Liverpool, July 17 Stephen Knott
Melbourne, August 17 Kevin Murray
Lahore, July 22 Amina Rizwan
Portland, August 22 Namita Wiggers
Amstelveen, July 28 Liesbeth den Besten
Seattle, August 28 Jennifer Navva Milliken
WHAT CRAFT IS MISSING: Conversation to Continue…
Lowery Sims guest edited an issue of The Brooklyn Rail, "Beyond the Horizons of Craft: Diversity in the Global Art Market" was published on April 2, 2014.
. . . This issue includes the perspectives of individuals involved in craft and craftsmanship that consider these issues from various perspectives: from that of the artists by Sheila Pepe, Aaron McIntosh and curator Allyson Unzicker; from that of the traditional craftsperson by Keith Recker; from that of the field itself by Namita Wiggers; to that of the community manifestations by Margaret Wertheim. It also considers the implications of digital technology by Ron Labaco; and a tribute to Aileen Osborne Webb, the catalytic founder of the American Craft Council and what would become the Museum of Arts and Design by Glenn Adamson. We are pleased to have also in this issue Danielle Mysliwiec’s interview with the legendary artist in fiber and other materials, Sheila Hicks.
KERIANNE QUICK’S FOB: ONE ON ONE Nº6
The Fridge is Dead, Long Live the Fridge from Share Document
CURATORIAL CONUNDRUMS: EXHIBITING CONTEMPORARY ART JEWELRY IN A MUSEUM
As an independent curator, each project is researched, designed, and installed in collaboration with the host institution or organization.
Read a review of the exhibition in the Seattle Times here: http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/visual-arts/review-everything-has-been-material-for-scissors-to-shape-is-a-flow-of-textiles-interrupted/
Lauren Sinner blogged about her visit to Everything has been material for scissors to shape for Surface Design Journal: http://www.surfacedesign.org/everything-material-scissors-shape/
EVERYTHING HAS BEEN MATERIAL FOR SCISSORS TO SHAPE
Through a series of pairings connecting The Wing’s collections with artworks by contemporary artists of Asian heritage, this exhibition explores relationships between myth and the everyday, commodity cultures and identity, and evidence and narratives of women’s labors, from handwork to small shops to factories. Drawing her title from Pablo Neruda’s Ode to Scissors, curator Namita Gupta Wiggers organizes the exhibition into a series of “conversations,” each offering a lens on how textiles shape and form history and human experiences. Artists: Surabhi Ghosh, Aram Han Sifuentes, Stephanie Syjuco. Graphic Designer: Shantanu Suman of Open Door Design Studio
Across the Table, Across the Land
Collaboration with Michael Strand. Commissioned by NCECA (National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts) for their 50th Anniversary.
On view at Charlotte Street Foundation (La Esquina), Kansas City, KS from March 16 - April 23, 2016
www.ncecaacrossthetable.com (includes promo video and downloadable Field Guide)
Across the Table, Across the Land showcases how ceramics - and the ceramics community - bring people together every day. These communities may be small - extended family or a class. They may be personal - links to a mentor or a community leader. Or, they may reveal a larger web of connections to social issues such as domestic violence, homelessness, hunger, and labor.
The exhibition is drawn from a webapp (www.ncecaacrossthetable.com), developed as a public archive of photos and narratives detailing how ceramics link communities through food and food-related projects. Drawing upon this "archive without walls," this vibrant "collection" served as the core for the selection of projects and work on view.
Curated for the 50th Anniversary of the National Council on Education in the Ceramics Arts (NCEA), Across the Table, Across the Land is a snapshot of how the table is both a literal space and an idea in 2016. For guest curators Michael Strand and Namita Gupta Wiggers, the project celebrates social engagement, functional ceramics, ad rethinks how curators can approach the work co creating crowd-sourced exhibitions. All stories, images, and objects remain in the voice of the participants.
Museum of Contemporary Craft at PNCA
From 2004 to 2014, I served as the Curator (2004-12), and later Director and Chief Curator (2012-14) at Museum fof Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR. From 1999 to 2006, I sold my jewelry in the Gallery Store. Hired to lead programming vision for Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery, originally founded in 1937 as Oregon Ceramic Studio, I was part of the team that moved MoCC from its original home on SW Corbett Ave. to 724 NW Davis Street. I remained with the Museum through the transition from independent organization through the final stages of its partnership agreement with Paciic Northwest College of Art (2009-2014). In February 2016, PNCA closed the Museum, and incorporated its collection and archives into the Center for Art and Culture, housed in its newly opened site at 511 NW Broadway. www.MuseumofContemporaryCraft.org
Museum of Contemporary Craft at PNCA
I created exhibition, programs, and developed the collection at Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR, the oldest organization focused on modern and contemporary craft in the US (1927-2016).
Photo: Micah Fischer
Lectures | Panels
Selected lectures are linked here
Lectures | Panels
Making Space: Museums and Craft in the Twenty-First Century
Streamed live on Feb 2, 2016
Namita Gupta Wiggers will be presenting at The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation Seminar in New York and American Material Culture on Tuesday, February 2, 2016, from 6 to 7:30pm, at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Her talk is entitled “Making Space: Museums and Craft in the Twenty-First Century.”
At Bard Graduate Center, Wiggers will speak on “Making Space: Museums and Craft in the Twenty-First Century.” In the past decade, we have witnessed significant shifts in how craft is examined, interpreted, documented, practiced, and exhibited. During this time, more craft-focused institutions in the United States opened or renewed their missions than in any decade since industrialization. Making space for craft can be more than simply adding exhibitions, collections, or programs to existing models, rather it is an opportunity to rethink the museum itself. Using examples from past exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Craft as well as current projects, Wiggers will discuss how exhibition-making operates as a research and development platform for rethinking craft, with a focus on the challenges and strengths of smaller museums located outside of major urban centers.
Museum and Interpretation: Moderated Session, "Present Tense"
In October 2016, I served as moderator of the panel on Museums at the American Craft Council's "Present Tense" Conference, Omaha, NE.
Keynote: Almost Touch + Virtual Communities: Photo+Craft
April 2, 2016
How does photography operate in conjunction with the handmade object? When photography – and social media – are the primary vehicles for communicating about objects, how is photography creating craft communities?
Quilt: A rose by any other name does not smell as sweet. . . .
May 1, 2015
Keynote: Studio Art Quilt Associates Annual Conference
The quilt in any number of forms can be found in homes throughout the world. The art quilt, however, is created with a different trajectory in the mind of contemporary artists. In this presentation, I will address the power of a global cultural form, and explore how the category of objects known as "quilts" are powerful - perhaps more powerful than if relegated to the art world alone.
Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts
Materialities: Contemporary Textile Arts - 1st International SDA Members' Exhibition will be on view in Arrowmont's Sandra J. Blain Galleryduring MADE/AWARE intensive.
When was the last time you thought about a bowl? Is there one that's a favorite in your life? Did the advent of the bowl truly represent the dawn of human civilization?
CraftPerspectives Lecture | Benjamin Lignel and Namita Gupta Wiggers
Published on Nov 4, 2013
Contemporary jewelry is doing OK. It does not need another pat on the back in the form of a 300-page book of images. When taking on the task of editor in 2010, Damian Skinner decided to treat Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective as an opportunity to examine jewelry as a mature, fully developed practice. Rather than propose yet another set of justifications for its existence, he led a project to provide instruments to navigate the spaces in which jewelry lives (Part 1), to understand the history of the field (Part 2), and to grasp some of the contentious issues that animate jewelry today (Part 3). This joint lecture by Benjamin Lignel and Namita Wiggers, both contributors to Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective, Part 1, will look at the history of contemporary jewelry through the lens of some of its defining moments. Why was the critique of preciousness so important? What exactly is de-skilling, and does it herald the end of bench-based craft? Why is inheritance an issue for long-term preservation of contemporary jewelry?
Lignel and Wiggers will also discuss the spaces of contemporary jewelry, revealing how they are both found and invented as products of contemporary practice. We will show how such spaces are determined by maker's willingness to appropriate them and to challenge the limits of what is historically "given."
While we share some assumptions about contemporary jewelry, our positions as curator and editor/maker have colored, and to some extent polarized, how we think about the field. This lecture is meant to test our methodology and to better understand the functionality of the book as a user-friendly tool kit. The lecture will pick up selected tools in a non-linear presentation of a non-linear book with the goal of leaving the audience with the strange urge to burn, and then redraw the plinth on which contemporary jewelry sits.
This program is co-sponsored by Art Jewelry Forum and the MFA in Applied Craft + Design. A book signing will follow the lecture.
Among Fellows Exhibition Tour
"Among Fellows" curator Namita Gupta Wiggers talks about each of the 2012 American Craft Council College of Fellows award recipients and the exhibition at SOFA Chicago.
Portland x Design - Museum of Contemporary Craft
Namita Gupta Wiggers, Curator, Museum of Contemporary Craft, details the history, current exhibits and the raison d'etre of a very unique museum in the Northwest.
Namita Gupta Wiggers: Museum of Contemporary Craft
Creative Mornings: Portland
2016: Workshops on curating and craft in New Zealand with Auckland Museum and Craft New Zealand
Forthcoming - Curating Craft Workshops in New Zealand
Collaboration with Roland Ricketts
For artists, originality is generally defined externally – as something that is new to everyone, that hasn’t been seen or done or made before amidst all the things out there in the world. But where is the “origin” in originality? Must tradition and originality be opposite points on a spectrum?
In this workshop/discussion, Ricketts & Wiggers will explore a different understanding of originality, one that starts from your own internal interests in process & materials. What are your points of creative origin? How do you engage or obscure them? How can deep skill come together to define a different model of origin/ality?
This is not a book: A Test-Drive Thru Contemporary Jewelry in Perspective
Workshop co-taught with Benjamin Lignel, Editor, Art Jewelry Forum, artist and co-author of section one of Contemporary Jewelry in Persective. Workshops taught at Museum of Contemporary Craft/MFA Applied Craft + Design/Oregon College of Art + Craft / Pacific Northwest College of Art and repeated at University of Oregon.
In addition to crits and mentoring students, I currently teach in the MFA Applied Craft +Design Program. This Theory of Objects course is offered in the second semester of the students' first year of coursework.
MFA Applied Craft + Design
I teach Theory of Objects as an Adjunct Instructor in the MFA Applied Craft + Design program, jointly administered by Oregon College of Art and Craft and Pacific Northwest College of Art
Chair: Heidi Schwegler
The object inhabits an uneasy space within theory. This course explores how key theorists in a variety of disciplines think and write about the object(s). How are objects understood to be different or similar to things? How do key theorists examine tensions between the imagined and the real, the human-made versus the factory-produced artifact, or the agency of objects to act on or to connect humans? This seminar explores foundational texts by: Arjun Appadurai, Martha Buskirk, Glenn Adamson, Alfred Gell, Bruno Latour, Daniel Miller, Tim Ingold, Alison J. Clarke, Jenni Sorkin, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Thomas McEvilley, Garth Clark, Sherry Turkle, Akiko Busch, and Bill Brown, amongst others. Students will map theories about objects and things through a spectrum of disciplinary lenses, such as: art, art history, craft, and design, as well as anthropology, archaeology, architecture, literature, material culture, visual culture, and philosophy. Theoretical texts within and outside of assigned class readings will be used to collectively produce an analytical annotated bibliography, accompanied by a list of keywords, as well as a individually written pieces focused on an object of each students’ own choosing.
History of Graphic Design
I taught the History of Graphic Design course in Spring 2014 at Portland State University, OR
Critical Craft Forum
Founded in 2008, Critical Craft Forum is an online and onsite platform for dialogue and exchange. Visit the Facebook Group (over 8000 members as of April 2016) or the website at www.criticalcraftforum.com
Unchaste Readers: Series by Jenny Forrester
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 The American Legion, Alberta Street, Portland, OR
Participated in bi-monthly reading series founded by Jenny Forrester
Celebration of Wong May's Picasso's Tears, Poems 1978-2013
December 13, 2014
Mother Foucault's Bookshop
Octopus Books is celebrating the publication of Picasso’s Tears 1978-2013 by Wong May with readings and performances by 15 of some of her most thoughtful readers. Picasso’s Tears is Wong May’s fourth book of poems, but her first since leaving the United States in 1978.
Performing Wong May’s work will be:
Jennifer Armbrust Samiya Bashir Kate Bingaman-Burt Wendy Chin-Tanner Frances Dinger and Richard Chiem Sara Brant Guest Heather Napualani Hodges and Nikki Hodges-Pham Auden Koeneke Charles Seluzicki Karen McAlister Shimoda Simon Tam Namita Gupta Wiggers Derek Hunter Wilson