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Tang Collective Catalog

The #TangCollectiveCatalog gathers a multiplicity of voices speaking about and responding to objects in Tang exhibitions and the Tang collection. Below are responses to If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day: Collections of Claude Simard. Participants find a work (or a detail), write 50 to 100 words, and post the image of their writing on social media. The responses are collected here. Think of it as the traditional museum exhibition catalogue reimagined. Share your responses by using #TangCollectiveCatalog on your social media.
Julia Poorvu '19, Tang Teaching Museum K-12 Education Assistant
Traditionally, Phulkari Textiles were labeled “women’s work.” That doesn't mean they're merely delicate and pretty. Even though Bagh Textiles like this one were used as clothing or wedding presents, the geometric patterns and bright gold color argue for a kind of femininity that is strong, bold, and durable. Its large scale allows the eye to be drawn to the pattern's sharp angles, and the tight stitches and sheen add a tough steely element. That's the femininity I see in this textile.
Jonah Jablons '17, Tang Teaching Museum Collections Assistant
When I saw the Asafo flags in person, I was struck by their beauty. In a contemporary art museum it is rare to see something so worn and used. The flags were not made for a museum; they were made for people. In their holes there is history and a sense of purpose. In Western art seldom are works so complex in visual language and technique waved in the air and used as an object. In my eyes their beauty lies in their freedom.
Rachel Seligman '91, Tang Teaching Museum Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs
In Kerry James Marshall’s drawing, a naked man spins hula hoops and juggles while singing If I had possession over judgement day, the first line of a song by the blues great Robert Johnson. While the song is about the loss of his woman to another man, and how she and her new man would get no mercy from him on judgement day, Marshall’s drawing suggests much more. What might it mean for the man in this drawing to control judgement day? Is he keeping all those balls and hoops up for fun or out of necessity? What would it mean for anybody to assume, in essence, the role of god?
May Cohan '17, Tang Teaching Museum Exhibitions Assistant
While standing in front of Jackie Nickerson's Sr. Irene, I felt a wave of discomfort and curiosity wash over my body. The life-size, high-resolution portrait renders Sr. Irene’s presence tangible. Her judgmental stare feels as though she's observing me as much as I'm studying her. My eyes wandered around the frame, avoiding her direct gaze. I thought it would be disrespectful, and Sr. Irene would punish me. The contrast between her black habit and the stark white background caused the figure to glow, increasing her all-powerful demeanor. Sr. Irene commanded attention and respect, and caused me to question my own authority.
Julia Poorvu '19, Tang Teaching Museum K-12 Education Assistant
Tim Rollins and K.O.S's Study for Amerika - A Refuge, 1992, exemplifies his work as a role model for today’s teachers. He took what was present in his students and let it grow. Through Kafka’s Amerika, his students applied his teachings to their own lives to make the work. Rollins's process recalls something I learned in Skidmore College Professor Hope Casto's class Multicultural Education. To bridge cultural divides and to bring teachers and students closer together, teachers can bring in their own lives as a prompt for students to share something about themselves as well. That's what I see in Study for Amerika.
Annelise Kelly, Tang Teaching Museum Online Content Assistant
I work everyday with digital reproductions of art, and what I first noticed about the image of this Bagh Textile was the graphic pattern and how it looked so contemporary. Today, I finally saw it in the gallery. I was immediately struck by its size and radiance: each tiny silk stitch works together to form a magical—more than 7-foot tall—whole. It reminds me that viewing art in person is invaluable.
Michael Janairo, Tang Teaching Museum Assistant Director for Engagement
This Nick Cave Soundsuit, unlike others, isn't meant to be embodied. So if it isn't for the body, then is it for the mind? Each globe floats around the figure like thought bubbles that are worlds unto themselves; however, the rich complexities of ideas are mixed with a cacophony of childhood bric-a-brac: a nostalgia of toys precariously balanced on a before-the-fall Humpty Dumpty. Cave here plays with the Romantic period notion of the child and allows us to think of our ideas — no matter how serious or on the edge — as being full of liveliness, joy, and humor.
Sanjana Gothi '17, Tang Teaching Museum Winter Intern 2016-17
Toyin Ojih Odutalola’s dark pen, ink and marker portraits feature vivid, neon spots of pigment. They remind me of disco lights, and instantly drew me in. I did a little digging, and discovered that Odutalola always tints her figures with black, even when she’s not depicting black people. She is challenging the connotations of the color black as undesirable and evil; instead, she posits black as valuable and positive. She said in a recent Forbes interview, “Black can be a warm, enveloping place to be.”
Laila Morgan '18, Tang Teaching Museum Marchand Intern 2016-17
I once held Bailey’s Western Currents in the palm of my hand, blurry, pixelated, a loop of linty scotch tape on the back. The miniature model of the painting – sized for the miniature model of the Malloy Wing – did not even begin to do Bailey’s piece justice. I was frozen when I saw it in person, in awe of the enormous scale, the massive presence. One looks eye to eye with the figures on the boat, confronted by the rough water, the fallen figures, and the reference to slavery’s middle passage.
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