Me Us Them weaves together fifteen years of work by New York-based artist Oliver Herring (b. 1964). His ever-expanding body of work explores many media, from sculpture and performance to photography and video. The exhibition includes several of Herring’s early knit-Mylar objects, experimental videos, complex photo-collages, and documentation of recent TASK events, which invite participants to entirely shape the work. Herring’s larger pieces orbit around a central gallery space meant to simulate an artist’s studio.
Herring created his early works alone in his studio, laboriously knitting objects such as empty clothing and transparent blankets inspired by the drag performance artist Ethyl Eichelberger, who died in 1990.
The knitting process played a crucial role, allowing the resulting objects to act as indicators of the passage of time.
Since 1998, Herring has regularly involved other people in his work. From stop-motion videos to scrupulously rendered photo-sculptures, these intimate interactions have expanded Herring’s practice into new realms, culminating in the more open series of TASK events. His many and varied projects share a common focus on social interactions, human relationships, and creative experimentation.
Professor Michael Arnush talks about the design of a Tang based assignment that he used in collaboration with Professor Leslie Mechem.
“This assignment focuses on a number of key skills: collaboration, research, analysis, integration into course content, articulation and engagement in a museum setting.”
In this Classics gateway course, Professors Michael Arnush and Leslie Mechem designed a Tang-based assignment to prepare their students for a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For this assignment, Professors Arnush and Mechem directed three students, separate from the rest of the class, to make two different presentations based on objects in Oliver Herring: Me Us Them. The first presentation consisted of intentionally excellent, mediocre and poor individual presentations of two objects (Wade I and Wade II, 2006) without apparent connections, while the second presentation of a third object (Soft Landing, 1999) reflected excellent teamwork and employed well-honed oral deliveries.
The rest of the class was not aware of this assignment when they gathered in the Tang to watch and critique the first presentations. Only after their critiques were they told that the first presentations were staged, heightening their awareness of what constituted the successful second presentations.
In the planning for the subsequent trip to the Metropolitan, students were assigned to groups, asked to prepare their presentations of objects in advance, and were expected to apply the skills they learned at the Tang to their presentations of objects in the Metropolitan’s Greek and Roman collections.