Namita Gupta Wiggers presented 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 7:30 pm, at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Her talk was entitled “Making Space: Museums and Craft in the Twenty-First Century.”




Namita Gupta Wiggers is a writer, curator, and educator based in Portland, Oregon. She is the Director and Co-Founder of Critical Craft Forum, an online and onsite platform for exchange that offers real-time conversations about issues in the field (www.criticalcraftforum.com). Wiggers teaches in the MFA Applied Craft + Design program, co-administered by the Oregon College of Art + Craft and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. From 2004 to 2014 she served as Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon. Wiggers contributes to online and in-print journals and books, and serves as the Exhibition Reviews Editor for The Journal of Modern Craft. Her current projects include: Across the Table, Across the Land with Michael Strand for the National Council on Ceramic Education in the Arts; a textile-focused exhibition at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle; a Maker Space project at the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science in Miami; and the forthcoming Companion to Contemporary Craft with Wiley Blackwell Publishers.

At Bard Graduate Center, Wiggers spoke 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 discussed 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.