Peter Feldstein: Memories & The Oxford Project
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Peter Feldstein: Memories & The Oxford Project


Peter Feldstein collage portrait by David VanAllen
Photo collage portrait (detail) of Peter Feldstein by David VanAllen provided by David Dunlap

Peter Feldstein was a prolific artist with a brilliant, creative mind. We are so proud to be able to honor his life and career through with a retrospective exhibition and collection of memories from those who still hold him close. 
Please enjoy reading more memories from Peter's loved ones and information on his most recognized series, The Oxford Project.

Jane Gilmor photo collage portrait by David VanAllen
Photo collage portrait (detail) of Jane Gilmor by David VanAllen provided by David Dunlap

David Dunlap remembering Peter:

"Somewhere, All Things Considered ( ? ), yesterday I heard something I think I have heard before. It is true, we do die, but when we really die ( “Gone Gone Gone” says Allen Ginsberg ) is when no one calls out our name anymore.
A couple of years ago, Chris Roy ( “Gone Gone Gone” ) was speaking about those great, African caskets [at the University of Iowa]. I was in the audience. I raised my hand to ask a question.  Chris acknowledged my waving hand.  He addressed me, called out my name “Peter”.

O how I liked this. Peter endures. Peter continues on when someone calls out his name, now folded into my name not yet gone. Peter and I were often mistaken for one another.  It was somewhat of a mystery to both of us. Peter and I collaborated many times over many years. Maybe we rubbed off one another.  

I like to think this happened. I like to think about what I learned from Peter ( thank you )."

The Oxford Project press release 1
Partial press release from 2008 when The Oxford Project was published, provided by Amy N. Worthen.

Jim Snitzer remembering Peter:

"I was lucky to have a good friend as a colleague and a trusted colleague as a friend. Peter was certainly both of those. 

Peter and I were friends for a long time. As a new faculty member, he took me under his wing, always looking out for me. One of the things we shared was a sense of gallows humor, a necessity for navigating academia.  Once, apropos of nothing, he said “You know…” and I just started laughing, because I knew exactly what he was going to say. Peter was a gregarious and endearing character and he provided all who knew him with memorable moments of comic relief - some knowingly, some not - but always willingly. 

That willingness to not take himself too seriously is indicative of how generous a person he was, something which also made him - probably against his wishes - a dedicated faculty member. He was instrumental in establishing the school’s first computer cluster, and for many years was a passionate and vocal advocate for the school’s photography program.

As he counted down to his retirement, he was the happiest I’d ever seen him. Finally, he was getting the last laugh.  

I’m grateful to him for all his years of friendship and support and miss hearing that laugh.  The world is a smaller and sadder place without him. "

Peter Feldstein and Amy Worthen in Italy
Amy N. Worthen and Peter Feldstein in Italy 2009, image provided by Amy N. Worthen

Amy N. Worthen remembering Peter:

"In September 1967, I arrived in Iowa City to begin graduate school in printmaking at the University of Iowa. I knew no one in Iowa, although I had a piece of paper with two names written on it from my mother. One of the names was that of Peter Feldstein. He had grown up as the backyard neighbor of my parents' friends and their four daughters in White Plains, New York, and was a graduate student at the U of I. Peter was essentially the first person I met in Iowa.

Throughout our graduate school days in the tumultuous late '60s, we ran into each other from time to time. He became a faculty member.  I moved to Des Moines. When Peter joined the group of artists represented by Olson-Larsen, I followed his pioneering exploration of digital printmaking. We would see each other at openings. In 2006, he and Stephen Bloom approached the Des Moines Art Center to talk about their work on The Oxford Project. I was assigned to develop a show of their work for Print Gallery and I wrote a gallery guide, so we really reconnected professionally over this project. We visited back and forth in Oxford and Des Moines.  In 2009, I co-curated an Italian version of The Oxford Projectexhibition that was shown at an annual photography festival in Padua (near Venice) in the Veneto Region, Iowa's Sister State. The show included twenty-one of Peter's photographs and the texts translated into Italian.The city of Padua published a beautiful bilingual and fully-illustrated catalogue. Peter traveled to Venice for the opening and stayed with me and Tom at our apartment there. Just this past September 2019, Peter's photo and text panels were shown once again, in a beautiful exhibition space in the small city of Este.

The last time I saw Peter was perhaps a year before his death, when we ran into each other on a street corner in Iowa City. He had had a stroke and had difficulty speaking. I felt so sad. I am grateful that I was able to enjoy a fifty-year friendship with Peter. We two New Yorkers in Iowa had shared nearly a lifetime of connection and we both felt deeply appreciative that Iowa had nurtured our creative lives."

Amy is Curator of Prints and Drawings, Emerita at the Des Moines Art Center and has been represented by Olson-Larsen Galleries for 40+ years. See her work here.

Peter Feldstein self portrait 1984 and 2007
Self portraits from 1984 and 2007, marking the beginning and end of The Oxford Project– from the catalog published in conjunction with The Oxford Project exhibition in Padua, Italy in 2009. The catalog included text in both English and Italian.

Installation image of The Oxford Project 1

Installation image of The Oxford Project 2
Installation images at Olson-Larsen Galleries of three Oxford Project prints originally exhibited in 2007.


In the final presentation of The Oxford Project, text by Stephen Bloom is in the center of the composition flanked on either side by portraits made by Peter from 1984 and 2005 of the residents of Oxford, Iowa. A beginning, a middle, and an end. Those who knew Peter, had a beginning with him, maybe a nebulous middle, and we like to think that there will be no end to his memory and the impression he left on us.

We want to extend our gratitude to Josephine Tornabuoni and the many others who helped make this exhibition possible. Thank you for coming along with us as we shared Peter's life and work with you!


09/23/2020 1:38 PM |Add a comment
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