The Tang’s designation as a teaching museum signals Skidmore’s intent to make Tang exhibitions and museum use by students and faculty a significant aspect of the interdisciplinary undergraduate liberal arts education it offers. The museum’s mission focuses on ideas; regular use of museum galleries and collection storage as teaching spaces, and the principle that artworks can and should be used to advance knowledge across the disciplines.
At the heart of the Tang Museum is an ambitious exhibition program of approximately twelve exhibitions each year. The Tang originates nearly all of its exhibitions and regularly involves faculty and students as curators and advisors for its signature interdisciplinary exhibitions. These large-scale projects combine diverse objects such as antique maps, scientific equipment, Rube Goldberg cartoons, Hudson River School landscapes, and Shaker furniture with new works of international contemporary art.
Tang exhibitions probe the boundaries of conventional curatorial practice, frequently crossing time-periods and disciplines, and encompassing all types of media and objects to explore intersections between the visual and performing arts, natural sciences, and humanities in new and inventive ways.
The Tang also originates significant survey exhibitions of contemporary art, featuring major emerging and established artists. The Opener Series features artists who come to campus as part of their collaboration and often involve realizing new work.
As part of its mission, the Tang regularly produces catalogues to extend its projects beyond the gallery, and to provide valuable resources for future study. Catalogues include new writings by artists and scholars, and source interviews with many artists. The Tang’s programming includes artist dialogues, symposia, workshops, and lectures as a direct articulation of Skidmore’s founding vision in which each area of study is connected to a range of other disciplines. The Tang’s website also supports the teaching mission of the museum and is regularly updated to provide background information on current exhibitions, new programs, and events open to the general public and the Skidmore campus.
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College opened in October 2000. Designed by architect Antoine Predock, the 39,000-square-foot building is sited dramatically on Skidmore’s scenic Saratoga Springs, New York campus.