Like Sugar explores seduction, destructive power of substance

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (December 18, 2018) — Our taste for sweetness is a powerful force. It is one of the foundations of empires; of slavery; of ecological devastation; and of modern health epidemics and food injustice. Even knowing this, we love it. Sugar changes shape and form with ease. Flowers and fruits seduce birds, insects, and other creatures with their nectars; for human beings, sugar starts as cane, beets, or corn, and people have harvested and manipulated and packaged it to suit consumers’ fancies.

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents a new exhibition, Like Sugar, which runs from February 9 through June 9, 2019, and explores the problematic and the joyful aspects of sugar, complicating our view of how this multi-layered substance affects us.

Visitors will encounter mid-century advertisements for candy, sugar and soda; tools used in the cutting and processing of sugar cane; historical stereoscopic images of workers in sugar-cane fields; and artwork by contemporary artists such as Maria Magdalene Campos-Pons, Will Cotton, Tim Davis, Julia Jacquette, Beatriz Milhazes, Vik Muniz, Zineb Sedira, Laurie Simmons, Kara Walker and others. The exhibition will raise questions and provide a space for dialogue about sugar in our lives.

Events include a March 4 panel discussion on Food Futures: Food Justice, Sustainability, and Well-Being, moderated by Tang Curator-at-Large Isolde Brielmaier and featuring Anthony Hatch, author of Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America, and Leah Penniman, an educator, farmer, writer, and food justice activist from Soul Fire Farm in Grafton, New York; and a March 26 brown bag lunch with food-blogger, culinary historian, and author Michael Twitty, whose book The Cooking Gene, won the 2018 James Beard Foundation Book Award for Book of the Year as well as the category for writing.

Other events include:

  • Saturday, February 9 at 5pm: Spring Opening Reception

  • Tuesday, February 26 at Noon: Sugar and the Natural World: Seduction and Destruction — The curators of Like Sugar in conversation with invited guests

  • Tuesday, March 19, Noon: Curators’ Tour of Like Sugar — With Tang Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs and Malloy Curator Rachel Seligman and Skidmore faculty co-curators

  • Tuesday, April 2, Noon: Curators’ Tour of Like Sugar — With Tang Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs and Malloy Curator Rachel Seligman and Skidmore faculty co-curators

  • Wednesday, April 10 at Noon: Sugar Stories: Sweet and Bittersweet — The curators of Like Sugar in conversation with invited guests

Like Sugar is co-organized by Rachel Seligman, Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs and Malloy Curator, Tang Teaching Museum and Sarah Goodwin, Professor of English, Skidmore College; with Skidmore faculty Nurcan Atalan-Helicke, Associate Professor Environmental Studies; Trish Lyell, Teaching Professor of Art; and Monica Raveret Richter, Associate Professor of Biology. The exhibition is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Friends of the Tang.

About the Tang Teaching Museum

The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College is a pioneer of interdisciplinary exploration and learning. A cultural anchor of New York’s Capital Region, the institution’s approach has become a model for university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs and series that bring together the visual and performing arts with fields of study as disparate as history, astronomy, and physics. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, the Mellon Seminar, and robust publication and touring exhibition initiatives that extend the institution’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of ideas and exchange the institution catalyzes. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 pm, with extended hours until 9 pm Thursday. More information at http://tang.skidmore.edu.

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