Alfred University News

'Nanette’s Gifts,' two additional exhibits open the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum’s 2021 schedule

Nanette L. Laitman with ceramic art works from her collection, 2018. Photo: Brian Oglesbee
Nanette L. Laitman with ceramic art works from her collection, 2018. Photo: Brian Oglesbee

A series of three new exhibitions will open Feb. 25 at the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum to begin the Museum’s 2021 season, ACAM Director and Chief Curator Wayne Higby announced this week.


 A series of three new exhibitions will open Feb. 25 at the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum to begin the Museum’s 2021 season, ACAM Director and Chief Curator Wayne Higby announced this week.

Nineteen important works of ceramic art donated to the Museum by philanthropist Nanette L. Laitman will be on display in the exhibit Nanette’s Gifts. “ACAM is acknowledging Nanette Laitman not only for her generous gift, but for her vision and longstanding, vitally important support of American artists and the craft ethos,” Higby said, describing Laitman as “a guiding light of the American Craft Movement and friend of the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum.”

The exhibit Nanette’s Gifts includes works by ceramic art luminaries Mary Frank, Patti Warashina, Tip Toland, Ken Price, Robert Brady, Richard DeVore, Adrian Saxe, Daisy Youngblood and Paula Winokur, Higby said.

Laitman, who died March 23, 2020, was a principal benefactor and founder of New York City’s Museum of Arts and Design. She served on the Museum's Board of Directors for 25 years, including as its president. “Additionally,” Higby says, “her visionary and unparalleled contribution acknowledging the lives and work of craft artists through the Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, at the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, assures that the oral histories and the papers of many groundbreaking craft artists will not be lost.”

Before her death, Laitman invited Higby to her New York City home in order to discuss potential gifts to the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum from her distinguished collection of ceramic art.  Nanette’s Gifts is a result of that visit.

“The Alfred Ceramic Art Museum was very fortunate to have the opportunity to engage Nanette Laitman’s interest in its mission,” Higby says. “It is a distinct honor for the museum and Alfred University to be the benefactors of her generosity. “

In conjunction with Nanette’s Gifts, Higby announced ACAM will also mount Relocation, a new installation of the permanent collection, that will focus on the conceptual nature of objects and the subtle change in meaning as derived from their shifting location in three-dimensional space.

 Relocation will open Feb. 25, along with SoLow Cellars: Selections from the Collection of John and Andrea Gill, which will serve as the museum’s Showcase Exhibition for the spring. “The Gills, renowned artist-educators of national and international reputation, have acquired over the years a truly remarkable collection from which they will choose some particularly special examples,” Higby says. “The Museum is grateful to have this opportunity to work with them.”

The Gills are both distinguished professors of ceramic art at Alfred University, Higby noted. John Gill currently serves as Professor of Ceramic Art, while Andrea Gill retired as Professor Emeritus of Ceramic Art in 2017.

Covid-19 protocols are in place. Visit the museum’s website at ceramicsmuseum.alfred.edu for details. Currently, the museum is closed and will open in February to the students, faculty and staff of Alfred University.