Art museum announces livestreamed art history talk with Namita Gupta Wiggers


Exhibition, Betty Feves: The Earth Itself, Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University is pleased to invite visitors to enjoy a new program for October with educator and curator Namita Gupta Wiggers.

Teaching Through Talking: How Betty Feves’ Ceramics Reveal Historic Shifts in Art Education, a livestreamed art history talk, will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 28 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. After the talk, Namita will have a conversation with Squeak Meisel, chair of WSU’s Department of Fine Arts. Questions will be moderated via Zoom Q&A.

Educator and curator Namita Gupta Wiggers will discuss an important pivot in arts education in the 1930s and 40s exemplified by the ceramics of artist and WSU alumnus Betty Feves. This talk accompanies the exhibition Betty Feves: The Earth Itself at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at WSU.

Betty Whiteman Feves belongs to a generation of mid-century vanguard artists who set the stage for dynamic shifts in the use of clay in art. She graduated from Washington State College (now Washington State University) in 1939. As an undergraduate student, Feves experienced an historic pivot in arts education, exemplified by the teachings of abstract expressionist Clyfford Still.

Still’s discussion-based approach, which we know as the modern-day “crit,” was a radical shift away from a physical correction-based method. Feves also studied with Cameron Booth, William Fortune Ryan, and Alexander Archipenko, but correspondence with her classmate Alice Burke Schuchman reveals that Still’s teachings were the ideas with which she continued to wrestle. From Still, Feves learned dedication, the crit-based method of education, and how to mix her own paint. She also experienced the pressures and constraints pushed upon female art students aiming to be working artists in the 1930s and 40s. Starting with her academic art education, this lecture will connect Feves’ work in the context of her undergraduate and graduate education at WSU, Columbia University, and DesignTechnics with her lifelong work in clay.

Funding for this program and exhibition is provided by Alan and Laurie Feves, the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, Patrick and Elizabeth Siler, and members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

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