CCAC's The Unknown Artist Reviewed in Oregon ArtsWatch and Art in America

April 01, 2020

We’re sending a big thank you to both Oregon ArtsWatch and Art in America for their reviews of The Unknown Artist exhibition at PNCA’s Center for Contemporary Art and Culture.

The group exhibition from curator and artist Lucy Cotter brings together ceramics and textiles from the collection of the former Museum of Contemporary Craft to create a dialogue around obsolescence, the relative value of making, and its entanglement with artistic authorship and visibility.

As Oregon ArtsWatch reporter Martha Daghlian notes, The Unknown Artist avoids becoming a straightforward attempt to elevate traditional arts and crafts, thanks to Cotter’s “in-depth research into the objects on view and the institutional and cultural contexts within which they and their makers exist.”

The show’s launch in the midst of a global pandemic has also created an opening to address another dialogue, with Daghlian posing the question, “how do the arts proceed in this time of social distancing?”

“We have to see that this is also a moment for possibility,” answers Cotter. “When resources dry up you have to decide what is important,” also noting that “making sustainable exhibitions [now] means finding new ways of thinking.”

In her review for Art in America, reporter Amelia Rina notes that The Unknown Artist "provided a nuanced framework for thinking about notions of artistic authorship, raising provocative questions: How are economic and cultural value distributed? How can we recalibrate value systems built on exploitation? How can authorship reveal or hide labor, and is authorship inherently valuable?"

Read the full review from Oregon ArtsWatch.

Read the full review from Art in America.