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Sunday 05.07.06

« Extra Sansory Perception | Main | some things »

The "School of Nan" Curtis era comes to an end at PNCA


For months, those in the know have suspected that Nan Curtis might be altering her relationship with PNCA as director and curator of the Feldman Gallery as well as the chair of the sculpture department. Now it's official and it has been announced to faculty and students that she will be stepping down in those roles to pursue her own art. Savvy, sharp and capable of willing important exhibitions into reality, she will be greatly missed. Nan has been THE life force of PNCA's exhibitions program culminating with her Troca Brasil show last fall, it featured Ernesto Neto and Laura Lima's tarted up chickens. Other highlights of her curatorial tenure have been Charles Goldman and Heidi Cody's pop alphabets.

Who might replace her? One obvious choice is PNCA alumnus and sometimes curatorial collaborator Cris Moss. Maybe PNCA will search for outside talent?

Back to Curtis, her effects on students have been equally important and I once referred to it as the School of Nan. Please feel free to leave comments here. Let's wish her success on her new focus as well as remind her of all the positive impact she has had on the Portland's contemporary art community. Nan Curtis has been and will continue to be one its foremost pioneers.

*Update, we broke the story yesterday but the O chimes in today... with the additional (much whispered about) and very important announcement that PNCA will inaugurate a MFA program in 2007. Finally, this city with over 10,000+ artists will have 2 MFA programs (Portland State has the other). Portland is growing up and Nan has laid a great deal of the groundwork, take a bow.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 07, 2006 at 18:21 | Comments (5)


Nan was one of the first artists I met when I moved to town over a decade ago. She was brash and kind and her projects were infamous. (Just ask her what she served up at the first DADA Ball!)

She was an inspiration to me then as she is now. Topher and I would not have had an audience as receptive to Swallow Press projects had NANCO not come first. Over the years Nan has become a friend, a confidant and a collaborator not to mention a consummate instigator of the best kind of activity.

She pushed the Feldman to a great and meaningful place. For many- many- many- many -people she was the bridge to PNCA. She holds up her students, advocates for other artists and organizations, has a wicked sense of humor and is deserved of all of the praise, thanks and awe that surrounds her. For her work and her ways love always! Onward!

Posted by: Kristan Kennedy [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 8, 2006 04:01 PM

My first solo show in Portland was in the Manuel Izquierdo Gallery at PNCA. I had just moved to Portland with an art degree from another state and was taking a continuing education class at PNCA when I turned in a proposal for a show to Nan. At the time the policy at PNCA was not to take proposals from students, but Nan stepped in and argued my case. This was a critical first step for me in establishing myself in the Pacific NW.

Posted by: Laura Fritz [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 9, 2006 11:13 PM

It is wonderful to read public acknowledgement of Nan's many qualities and accomplishments. Kristan, I second your assessment of Nan's success in curating smart and interesting exhibitions that have brought the Feldman to a fantastic place. I will greatly miss our direct institutional collaboration. I am, however, very excited that she is returning to life as a full time artist and I can't wait to see what happens.

And what about those floating head centerpieces at the DADA Ball?

Posted by: Stephanie Snyder [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2006 02:43 AM

Nan and I went to the same graduate school and had some of the same teachers! Who am I supposed to talk about the Nati with now? Midwest represent!

I feel clingy and depressed. You guys have been "under her wing" for years and I just got here....It seems like everyone is "under her wing"

but I guess wings are for flyin' after all!

oh man, that's the cheesiest thing I've ever written but I think I'm gonna cry.....

Posted by: Isaac [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2006 11:11 AM

I claim full responsibility for my cheesy metaphor... I'm working on a Tina- Turner esque ballad on the electric guitar for Nan right now....

I wonder if she ever knew that she's my hero?

That she's the wind beneath MY wings?

Posted by: Isaac [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 12, 2006 11:46 AM

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