Namita Gupta Wiggers: The timing was right to leave the museum

As PNCA and the Museum of Contemporary Craft started a new chapter, the museum's leader took the opportunity to leave

Namita Gupta Wiggers brought Ai Weiwei's "Dropping the Urn" to Portland in 2010.

Namita Gupta Wiggers brought Ai Weiwei’s “Dropping the Urn” to Portland in 2010.

Late last week Pacific Northwest College of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Craft announced that MoCC executive director and chief curator Namita Gupta Wiggers was leaving both posts. The timing seemed odd. Since she was hired in 2004, Wiggers had helped the museum successfully reinvent itself, move from its antiquated Southwest Corbett Ave. home to new quarters in the Pearl District, survive a near-death experience that led to its absorption into PNCA, and then helped it evolve into a partner with the college.

Wasn’t the good part about to begin? The part where Wiggers’s eye for opportunities and wide connections could generate even more and even better exhibitions at the museum? Especially since PNCA was on the verge of moving out of its Goodman Building home and into a gleaming renovation in the 511 Broadway building, just down the North Park Blocks from the museum? So what was the deal?

“My leaving is my own timing,” Wiggers said yesterday. “This is a good moment to shift my focus.”  And what makes it a good moment is that the trajectories of the museum, PNCA and Wiggers’ own career make this a good window for an exit. If she wanted to do some different things after 10 years and create the least disruption at the museum and PNCA, this is the time, and Wiggers took advantage of it. Which isn’t so odd at all.


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