Archive for the 'Lecture' Category

The Mother Load

Visit the Center for Creative Connections (C3) over the next few months to view The Mother Load, a collaborative project and interactive community installation created by artists Lesli Robertson and Natalie Macellaio that explores the balance between being an artist while also being a mother. The project engages artists from all over the globe both on the Mother Load website and in person. You can attend a visual performance lecture, Hot Potato Called Motherby Israeli artist Shira Richter of The Mother Load project at the DMA tomorrow, October 2, at 7:00 p.m.

Natalie Macelleio (left) and Lesli Robertson (right)

Natalie Macellaio (left) and Lesli Robertson (right)

How has the Mother Load project affected your perspective on being a mother and an artist?

Natalie Macellaio (artist; co-creator of The Mother Load): I feel like I’ve become more interested in collaborating with other women and other artists in general. I’ve become more aware of people’s strengths and how they can best benefit from different things that are happening. I’ve tried to become a little more selfless and look for opportunities not just for myself but for other people I know.

Lesli Robertson (artist; co-creator of The Mother Load): I think one of the things it’s done is to encourage me to continue to dream big. Having children doesn’t mean we have to shut off any part of ourselves, but rather we imagine other possibilities. We can change our practice in a way that will help us move forward and accomplish the things we, as artists, want to do. You don’t have to step backwards, but step forwards.

Shira Richter

Shira Richter

Shira Richter (visiting artist with the Mother Load project): The Mother Load makes me very happy because it’s a non-subject, really, and Lesli and Natalie have helped it become more a subject in its own accord with this international dialogue. It’s extremely important: just the other day, I heard about an art student who couldn’t find a sitter, so she came to class with her baby and the professor basically kicked her out. The student has been trying to fight it, and she felt very alone, but a friend sent her to me, and now there’s this big international conversation going on. It gives us backing, it makes this issue more visible and that’s what we’re trying to do in general, make a connection between motherhood and being an artist. It’s like a worldwide guild. From what I know about it, the art world is extremely sexist, so having an international group of serious people talking about this as a serious subject makes me feel as though my chest is growing just as we speak.

How do you fit in time to be creative? 

LR: By working in collaboration with Natalie. That helps us find the time to be creative and work as artists. Since our children are young, it has been important to go to each other’s studios, and to designate that specific important time for that process to happen. I work at night, I work in the morning, and I also try to have time to think and dream.

Liam, Lesli's son, playing in her studio

Liam, Lesli’s son, playing in her studio

NM: I always try to keep things I’m working on with me. It could be a little project I can do in a few hours to something I work on for months. I always have it with me, at work or at home, so if I find an extra 30 minutes I can work on it. I’ve learned that the only way I can get anything done is to grab time when I can and when I have the energy. I’ve found that my best time is in the morning, so I get as much thinking and work done then as I can. Also, to have someone you’re accountable to when you work collaboratively forces you to stay on top of it and stay on your game, if you will.

Natalie's children, Milo and Fina

Natalie’s children, Milo and Fina

SR: First of all, I think it’s different according to the age of your kids, and it depends on context: do you have a partner who helps, do you have an extended group that helps such as friends, other artists, other mothers, helpers, grandmas, etc.? It really depends on that. Since my kids are older now (twelve), things have changed. At the beginning, I grabbed any minute I had. It’s why I shifted from being a filmmaker to an artist. I didn’t have time to make films anymore. I dissected the film into frames and became more of a photographer and artist in order to suit my new profession as a mother. I completely changed my medium and the way I work.

Shira installing a gallery show

Shira installing a gallery show

NM: Along those same lines, I also no longer create large-scale installations – I now create more intimate works and things I can get done in a reasonable amount of time.

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Visitors at the opening of The Mother Load at the DMA

What message would you like visitors to take home with them after visiting the DMA’s Mother Load installation?

NM: Lesli and I were just talking about it last night and thinking about the responses on the tiles. We are hoping that instead of running through the space, visitors will take a moment to reflect on their own lives and what they nurture. They don’t have to be an artist to relate to the idea of being a mother while also wanting to nurture something inside themselves. We hope that visitors take a few minutes to reflect on what they nurture and to figure out a good balance in their day-to-day activities.

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Visitors respond to the question “In your life right now, what do you nurture, and why?”

LR: To speak to another point, we also want visitors to discover new artists and the work they’re doing. We include QR codes because we want them to be a visual representation of the two sides of the artists, but also so visitors can find new artists that hopefully can be a great inspiration to them. The idea of art and motherhood and all these conversations aren’t in one culture, but are broader than that.

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A visitors scan one of the QR codes included in the installation

NM: Sometimes we feel we are so far away from other cultures and other people. We don’t feel like we have common ground, but we do, and it’s easier to find similarities between different countries, languages, and cultures than you realize. Lesli and I have had Skype conversations with women we’ve never met, and we find we have this common ground and can talk for an hour or two hours (that’s what happened the first time we talked with Shira). This is something extremely universal, and these conversations need to continue, maybe today more so than ever.

LR: Visitors to the DMA’s installation can read written responses on this topic from women all over the globe on the accompanying iPad in the installation or at

SR: First of all, I haven’t been to the installation yet, but I am excited to see it. There’s so much on this subject that belongs not only to women artists but belongs to culture at large because we are creative beings. I think we in the Western world divide creativity and nurturing. Women artists who are mothers are trying to figure out how to connect these two and bring them back together. We find that, as we become mothers, it is so intense and that’s where the tear occurs; you’re using creativity to bring up this amazing human being but you also think “What about my career, my work?” We’re trying to bring these two elements back together and figure out a way to inspire ourselves and others.

Join us tomorrow for what is sure to be a unique performance-lecture experience.

Melissa Gonzales is the C3 Gallery Manager at the DMA.


Installing Light

Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World is opening this weekend and the DMA is the only venue outside of Europe to host this exhibition featuring rarely seen objects from around the world. We’ve been preparing for weeks for Sunday’s opening, as you can see in the photos below,

Learn more about the exhibition and the artistic techniques used to enhance the effect of light found in the objects on display in Nur from the DMA’s senior advisor for Islamic art, Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir. And on Thursday, April 3, your lecture ticket will also include admission to Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World!






































































































































Kimberly Daniell is the manager of communications and public affairs at the DMA

Savor the Arts: A Kitchen Adventure

This Friday, cookbook author and professor of comparative literature Dr. Mary Ann Caws will be here to discuss her book The Modern Art Cookbook during our Savor the Arts Late Night event.


The Modern Art Cookbook is equal parts art historic document and recipe guide, illuminating the relationship between art and food. In preparation for this event, the DMA’s programming team decided to try some recipes from the book to see what they were like (and to test their kitchen skills).

Betsy Glickman, Manager of Adult Programming:
I have always been a fan of the “breakfast for dinner” concept, so I opted to tackle an egg-based dish from the book. Armed with a minimal set of ingredients—and an even more minimal set of cooking skills—I set aside an evening to bring Pablo Picasso’s Spanish Omelette to life in my kitchen. I originally thought the dish would resemble a traditional, half-plate-sized omelette, but as I laid out the ingredients (10 eggs, 4 potatoes, 2 onions, etc.), I realized this was going to be much larger.


I began by peeling and slicing the potatoes and onions. I then tossed them into a large pan and sautéed them for about 15 minutes. While they were cooking, I beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Once the potatoes and onions were beginning to brown, I drained them on some paper towels to help absorb the excess moisture. I then added them to the salad bowl along with a large helping of salt and pepper.

Next it was time to make the omelette. I pulled out the best nonstick pan I own, added some olive oil and medium heat, and poured in the contents to cook for several minutes.


As the edges began to firm up, I realized the hardest part of the process was yet to come: I somehow had to flip this thing over. I snagged a plate for assistance, and, in a swift movement, transferred most of the contents to the plate and back into the pan. All in all, I’d give my flip an 8 out of 10.


I cooked the omelette for another 2-3 minutes. The book instructed to leave the center a little runny, but, unfortunately, I overcooked it a bit. Even so, the end result was quite tasty. Viva el Spanish Omelette!


Things I learned: It’s difficult to ruin an omelette, but there are endless ways to make it better. In the future, I may try adding tomatoes, peppers, and/or salsa to this recipe.

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:
I decided to make Brecht’s Favorite Potato Bread because I have always been interested in mastering a bread recipe (yeast and rising dough have always been a bit of a mystery to me). This recipe called for one cube of yeast, which I should have researched before picking this recipe. I tried finding a conversion from cubed yeast to dry yeast and was not successful, so I went with one packet of dried yeast for the recipe. Because dry yeast needs to be activated with water, I reduced the amount of oil recommended.

Stacey's Ingredients

Even with that reduction, my dough was very wet. After adding an additional cup of flour it was still not the texture I thought it should be. But having little experience with bread, and thinking that the mashed potatoes probably added moisture, I thought maybe that was how it was supposed to be.

While the dough did rise, as you can see from the photos the dough did not hold its shape once formed into “loafs.”

Stacey's Recipe 4

While the look of the bread left much to be desired, I found the flavor interesting, which I attribute to the lemon zest.

Things I learned: Yeast used to come in cubes. I will add lemon zest to any future bread dough recipes I try.

Liz Menz, Manager of Adult Programming:
The last time we all got together for a cooking blog, I went with soup, so this time I ventured into the realm of desserts. I decided to make Claude Monet’s Almond Cookies. The recipe is much like a shortbread recipe, so there were very few wet ingredients and (something I discovered halfway through) the dough required kneading.

photo 3

Combining the flour, confectioner’s sugar, ground almonds and lemon rind into a bowl with the eggs was the easy part. Realizing that the cubed butter was still needed, I figured out that my wooden spoon was not going to cut it, so kneading was the way to go!

photo 1

After some work (and one phone call to my mother), I realized I was doing this right, as the dough finally came together. It was on to rolling out the dough and cutting the cookies! I am a less-than-prepared baker and discovered that, in a pinch, a wine bottle doubles well as a rolling pin and wine glasses are the perfect size for cutting!

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After I sprinkled the cut cookies with sugar and sliced almonds, they went into the oven for about 20-25 minutes. They came out golden and yummy! The lemon rind really gave them a great flavor, and I decided that these cookies would be great with a cup of coffee and a book.

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Things I learned: Shortbread-type recipes are harder than they look, but worth it. Lemon rind is a great addition to cookies. Also, thanks Mom.

Don’t forget to join us on Friday as we savor the arts! And, for more fun food-inspired posts, peruse the Culinary Canvas section of our Canvas Blog.

Betsy Glickman is a manager of adult programming at the DMA.
Stacey Lizotte is head of adult programming and multimedia services at the DMA.
Liz Menz is a manager of adult programming at the DMA.

Dynamic Duo

Tomorrow, artist Stephen Lapthisophon, featured in the current Concentrations 56 exhibition at the DMA, will join his lifelong friend actor John Judd for a conversation about the creative process. Get to know these best friends before Thursday’s event:

John Judd and Stephen Lapthisophon, 1978

John Judd and Stephen Lapthisophon, 1978

Do you involve each other in your creative processes?
SL: John and I speak frequently now about our influences, the creative process and the various ways that we feel our work reflects the time in which we live. There is no direct integration of his work in mine—rather, it is an implied dialogue—constant, permanent and generous.
JJ: It’s impossible to estimate the degree to which Stephen influences my work. My relationship with Stephen is almost like one of family in that even though we’ve ended up pursuing different avenues in the arts, and are no longer collaborators, we shared formative creative experiences, and we were almost constant companions for many years. Stephen is always in there somewhere.

What is one piece/work of art of the other’s that you most enjoy or inspires you?
SL: I have seen him perform many times but perhaps my favorite piece I have seen him in is Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow, where he played Laurence Olivier.
JJ: I can see his hand in this simple small piece [below] as indelibly as I do in his current work. It represents something essentially Stephen—a quality that remains and has always been present in his best work.

Stephen Lapthisophon, House, 1977, paint on wood,

Stephen Lapthisophon, House, 1977, paint on wood, courtesy of the artist, photo: John Judd

How has your friendship evolved over 40 years?
SL: I met John Judd walking into my first art class as an undergraduate at UT Austin in 1974. We have known each other and trusted each other’s work since then.
JJ: From our first conversation there has existed an unspoken agreement—that we will confront this world as allies. We are like-minded and determined to take what we were given and make more of it. To leave some marks behind. We have lived our lives in very close proximity and miles apart, we have at times collaborated and pursued separate endeavors, we’ve had individual triumphs and defeats, have even exceeded each other’s expectations, but we have always been able to pick up a phone or sit down together and resume the conversation.

For more insight, stories and discussion, join us tomorrow night, December 5, at 7.30 p.m.!
Liz Menz is the manager of adult programming at the DMA

Feasting: From Ancient Mexico to Our Kitchens

On Thursday, November 15, cookbook author Diana Kennedy, often called the Julia Child of Mexico, will be here to discuss her cookbook Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy, as well as the feasting traditions of ancient Mexico.

Oaxaca al Gusto: An Infinite Gastronomy is equal parts historic document and kitchen guide, focusing on the traditional cuisine of the Oaxaca region of Mexico. In preparation for this event, the DMA’s programming team decided to try some recipes from the book to see what they were like (and to test their kitchen skills).

Stacey Lizotte, Head of Adult Programming and Multimedia Services:

I decided to make Clavaria Mushrooms in Mole (Mole de hongos de curenito de venado) because I have always wanted to learn how to make a mole sauce. This recipe called for a few ingredients that I could not find in the four different grocery stores that I went to. I replaced the main ingredient, clavaria mushrooms, with a mix of regular button mushrooms and oyster mushrooms. I also could not find dried costeños chiles and instead went with dried gaujillo chiles.

Ingredients for Clavaria Mushrooms in Mole (Mole de hongos de curenito de venado)

First you make a paste of the mushrooms and then add them to a pureed tomato, chile, garlic, onion, and spice mixture before frying in a skillet with lard over high heat. You then mix with masa to thicken the sauce. Traditionally, this dish is just served with corn tortillas.

Mushroom paste

I found the mole to be on the mild side and would serve it with a meat next time, either chicken or beef, in addition to the tortillas.

Things I learned: You can toast the chiles on an electric stove top burner if you don’t have a comal as recommended in the book. And, you will need a very large skillet for the last step, as this recipe makes a lot of mole.

Roasting chiles on electric stove

Clavaria Mushrooms in Mole (Mole de hongos de curenito de venado)

Liz Menz, Manager of Adult Programming:

I am without question the least experienced cook of our team, so I chose to make a simpler recipe, Red Chickpea Soup (Molito de garbanzo rojo). After a pep talk from a few of my more kitchen-savvy friends and a deep breath, I gathered my ingredients and went to work. I did make one small change to the recipe and replaced the lard with Crisco to make it vegetarian friendly.

Ingredients for Red Chickpea Soup (Molito de garbanzo rojo)

After whisking the chickpea powder/flour into water to get a smooth consistency, I turned to my blender to puree the onion, garlic, and tomatoes.

Tomato, onion, and garlic in blender to puree

I added the chickpea mixture to boiling salted water and let it reduce for quite a while to get a thicker consistency for the soup. Meanwhile, the Crisco was melting in a larger skillet to fry and reduce the onion, garlic, and tomato puree. After the puree had reduced some, I added it to the pot with the chickpea base and whisked regularly as it reduced more. After letting it simmer for a while on low, the soup thickened up quite a bit.

Chickpea mixture and tomato puree reducing on stove

The soup was very tasty and, as I mwentioned to a co-worker afterwards, would also make a great base for veggies or meat for a heartier meal.

Things I learned: The puree mixture fries and reduces much quicker than I expected, whereas the soup reduced very slowly. Also, my Google app on my phone was just as important as my whisk–in fact, for this inexperienced cook, it was essential!

Red Chickpea Soup (Molito de garbanzo rojo)

Denise Helbing, Manager of Partner Programs:

I decided to finish off our departmental Oaxacan meal with dessert so I made Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche).

For this dish, you only need a few simple ingredients. The only “special” ingredient I didn’t already have was evaporated milk.

Ingredients for Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche)

You just cook the rice in a bit of water with the spices first, then add the two milks and lime and cook slowly for about thirty0 minutes, stirring regularly.

Cooking all the ingredients

The unique aspect of this pudding, compared to other rice puddings I have made or eaten, was the addition of the lime rind during the cooking process. It combined nicely with the cinnamon and allspice and gave the pudding a distinct flavor.

Removing lime rind from milk

This recipe did not call for any sugar or sweetener (like honey or agave), and to me, rice pudding, in a dessert form, needs to be a little bit sweet, so I must make a confession; I added some simple syrup to my pudding at the end of cooking.

I served it as suggested with a bit of lime zest and cream (half and half) on top. My husband said it reminded him of decadent, rich Fruit Loops. And he likes Fruit Loops, so that was a compliment!

Rice Pudding (Arroz con leche)

Feasting in Ancient Mexio is part of our programming for the special exhibition The Legacy of the Plumed Serpent in Ancient Mexico. The exhibition will be on view through Sunday, November 25.

Seldom Scene: “Beguiling Deception”

Who’s that lady? Find out tonight at 7:30 p.m. when University of Oregon Art History professor Dr. Kathleen Nicholson discusses allegorical portraits in 18th-century France at the Museum’s annual Michael L. Rosenberg Lecture.

Nicolas de Largilliére, "Portrait of the Comtesse de Montsoreau and Sister as Diana and an Attendant," 1714, oil on canvas, lent by the Michael L. Rosenberg Foundation, 29.2004.11


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