Artwork from Tang Collection by Willie Cole, Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler, Tim Hawkinson, Zanele Muholi, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., Yinka Shonibare MBE, among others
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (July 26, 2017) — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announces Other Side: Art, Object, Self, an exhibition featuring contemporary art from the Tang Collection that examines ways in which artists use materials, found objects, or even their own bodies to explore questions of national, cultural, and self-identity. The exhibition runs from Saturday, August 12, through Saturday, December 30.
Through the artist’s craft, and in the contemplative space offered by the museum, painted sheet music represents both hope and loss; a literary and cinematic classic is reimagined with a Nigerian-born British artist in the leading role of a 19th-century British dandy; and model train cars carry the weight of a broken Constitution. Each artwork, through material, object, or symbolic reference, encourages viewers to pause and consider questions or issues prevalent in the world today while labels prompt dialogue and debate.
A centerpiece of the exhibition, and the inspiration for its title, is To get to the other side, 2001, by Willie Cole, which includes a 16-foot chessboard of salvaged metal and 32 chess pieces made from cast-concrete lawn jockeys the artist embellished with various materials—nails, bottles, bags, beads—to reference their roles on the game board. Each, as Cole sees it, stands in for the Yoruba god of chance, the gatekeeper Elegba, and in the process the object generally viewed as racist turns into a powerful, positive force. To get to the other side is part of a transformational gift given in 2014–2015 to the Museum by the software entrepreneur and collector Peter Norton, and this exhibition will be the first time the complete sculpture is shown in the Museum.
Among the artworks in the exhibition are a number of other recent acquisitions being exhibited for the first time at the Museum, including Yinka Shonibare’s photographic suite Dorian Gray, 2001, and works by Jamal Cyrus, Flor Garduño, Tim Hawkinson, Michael Joo, and Miguel Aragón.
Other Side: Art, Object, Self is curated by Mellon Collections Curator Rebecca McNamara and is the first exhibition supported by a three-year initiative called Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at the Tang Teaching Museum, a project of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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 Tang is open Tuesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 pm, with extended hours until 9 pm on Thursday.