Georgia native J. Morgan Puett emerged in the mid-1980s as a fashion designer. Her distinctive style, which drew from sources that explored the history of garments, were hand-made, crafted of hand-dyed natural fabrics, often in wrinkled, informal states. Her quirky SoHo retail space was heralded for its evocative environment—a bewildering combination of store, art installation, architectural remnant, and factory.
Puett contiues her practice largely as an installation artist. Her projects ambitiously engage communities, localized culture, and historical sites, drawing from traditions of costume and labor, personal appearance and adornment. From these projects, experiential relationships emerge that break down barriers of craft and object, social and archeological, tangible and precious. She lives and works on her farm in rural Pennsylvania.
Since 2001, Puett has focused her artistic practice on large-scale collaborative projects that mine her interest in the role of fashion and garments on culture, both historical and contemporary, in efforts that honor labor and “missing links to history.” Recent projects have been commissioned by the Santa Barbara Contemporary Art Forum; the Abington Art Center, Philadelphia; Mass MoCA, North Adams, MA; Artex, Arnhern, Amsterdam; The Fabric Workshop Museum, Philadelphia; Wave Hill, Bronx, New York; the Serpentine Gallery, London; and the 2002 Spoletto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina. Puett received her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Portland State University’s Art Department offers free public lectures every Monday night of the school year. This is the seventeenth lecture of the fourth year of the PMMNLS. The PSU MFA Monday Night Lecture Series is supported in part by PICA, Reed College, Lewis and Clark College, and The NW Film Center.