Displaying items by tag: tang museum

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College invites the public to contribute to the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, a community-created coral reef composed of hundreds of crocheted specimens that will go on view as part of the exhibition Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science, which opens Jan. 29, 2022.

For the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, anyone can participate by crocheting structures with coral-like ruffles, which represent hyperbolic geometry, an area of mathematics, either on their own or through upcoming events. The Satellite Reef is part of the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef project by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. 

To inspire crafters, the Tang will conduct an online workshop at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 7. Hosted by Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara, this program introduces the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef and includes instructors who will lead beginners in the single crochet stitch. People are invited to register via Zoom. 

In addition to the workshops, the Tang offers weekly drop-in Zoom craft circles on Wednesdays through Dec. 15 from 12 to 12:30 p.m. Registration is required.

The deadline for the Museum to receive crochet corals is Friday, Jan. 15. Participants can mail them with their name and email address and phone number to: Elizabeth Karp, Senior Museum Registrar, Tang Teaching Museum, Skidmore College, 815 N. Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. 

The Zoom events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit tang.skidmore.edu or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the Tang Visitors Services Desk at 518-580-8080. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College invites the public to special in-person talks, tours, and sales to close out the fall semester.

All events are free and open to the public. 

• Tuesday, Dec. 7, 11:30 a.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m.: On Their Own Terms Gallery Talk. Students in the Scribner Seminar “Outsiders? Folk and Self-Taught Artists in the United States,” taught by Assistant Professor of Art History Nancy Thebaut, will present a public program about the process of making the exhibition and share their research and insights into works on view in the exhibition On Their Own Terms.

• Thursday, Dec. 9, and Friday, Dec. 10, All day: Tang Book Sale. The Tang will be selling a lim-ited supply of exhibition catalogues at reduced rates: $5 for Opener series catalogues; $10 for all other books. Discount applies to purchases made in-person at the museum, with no shipping avail-able. Dec. 9 hours are 9 am to 9 pm; Dec. 10 hours are 9 am to 6 pm. Peruse the Tang’s publica-tions online at tang.skidmore.edu/publications. 

Thursday, Dec. 9, 6 p.m.: More Than You Notice Gallery Talk. Student curators of the exhibi-tion More Than You Notice: Photographic Reflections of Humanity and Socialization will present their research on the work in the exhibition in a public program as part of the social work course “Power, Privilege, and Oppression,” taught by Skidmore Assistant Professor of Social Work June Paul. 

• Friday, Dec. 10, 3:30 to 6 p.m.: Tang Holiday Bazaar. The Tang Student Advisory Council is or-ganizing a one-day marketplace for Skidmore students to sell a variety of wares, including art, jew-elry, clothing, pottery, and more. 

• Thursday, Dec. 16, 12 p.m.: Curator’s Tour with Ian Berry. Dayton Director Ian Berry gives a public tour of Opener 33: Sarah Cain—Enter the Center, offering in-depth information about the acclaimed artist and exhibition. 

In addition to the new events listed above, the Tang also welcomes the public to the following previously announced events—one in-person and most online—related to the community art-making project, the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, which is part of the worldwide Crochet Coral Reef project by Christine and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring. Participants’ corals will be assembled together to form the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef, which will be exhibited at the Museum as part of Radical Fiber: Threads Connecting Art and Science, opening Jan. 29, 2022.

Wednesday, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, 12 to 12:30 p.m.: Lunchtime Crochet Online: Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara hosts a half-hour Zoom drop-in session of crocheting, chatting, and cre-ating corals online for our community art project. Registration required. 

• Tuesday, December 7, 7 p.m.: Crocheting Corals: Workshop for the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef: Join us via Zoom for a workshop and craft circle to learn to crochet corals for the Saratoga Springs Satellite Reef. Instructors will lead beginners in the single crochet stitch, which is all you need to make your very own coral! Register via Zoom. 

Vaccinated members of the public are welcome to the museum and must show proof of vaccina-tion for admission. Masks are required to be worn by all visitors. The Museum is open Thursdays from noon to 9 pm, and Fridays through Sundays from noon to 5 pm through Sunday, Dec. 19, as well as for events listed above. For more information, call the Visitors Services Desk at 518-580-8080 or visit tang.skidmore.edu. 

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The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College invites the public to experience a double feature of exclusive videos starting this week on the Tang website at tang.skidmore.edu.

In an online version of the Tang screening series, Whole Grain: Experiments in Film and Video, the Museum presents a limited-access presentation of Eve Fowler’s With It Which It As It If It Is To Be, Part II (2019) in conjunction with the exhibition Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond.

Fowler’s video is the second installment in her planned ten-part video series that explores the working practices of women artists in their later years of their career, in their studios, and interacting with their art. In this collaborative work, Fowler visits the studios of women artists in New York City and Los Angeles. The soundtrack consists of different artists and writers reading Gertrude Stein’s 1910 story Many Many Women. The repetitive stream of consciousness oration is hypnotic and provocative in its consideration of the lives and works of these prolific artists. The video will be available for streaming on the Tang website through Feb. 7 at tang.skidmore.edu.

Also this week, the Tang will release a special recording of a commissioned performance by Silver the Void in the installation Nicole Cherubini: Shaking the Trees - an improvisational music/art project of artist Susan Jennings, who makes sculptures and plays those sculptures with her husband and daughter. Watch the video on the Shaking the Trees exhibition page. 

This double feature is part of the Tang’s ongoing commitment to supporting artists and to bringing engaging experiences to its audiences, even as the Museum building remains closed to the public at least through the end of the spring semester. 

Access to the online videos is free and open to the public.

The museum has also announced the release of a new publication - Culture as Catalyst – focused on the most urgent issues of the day. The book is a collection of compelling dialogues and new writings by artists, scholars, activists, and influential thinkers who present new perspectives that disrupt the status quo by encouraging a “getting comfortable with discomfort” attitude to work through big ideas to drive change.

Edited by Isolde Brielmaier, the first Curator at Large at the Tang Teaching Museum, Culture as Catalyst accompanies the 2017–2019 Accelerator Series of public conversations she organized at the Museum to shed new light on the topics of whiteness, migration, mass incarceration, feminism, monuments, citizenship, cultural appropriation, forgiveness, and food justice. These dialogues were part of a three-year project called Accelerate: Access & Inclusion at The Tang Teaching Museum, which was supported in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Culture as Catalyst (276 pages; $30) is edited by Isolde Brielmaier, designed by Beverly Joel / pulp, ink., and includes an introduction by Brielmaier and a welcome by Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum. It is now available from the Tang website at tang.skidmore.edu/shop. 

Every other Thursday through May 27, the Tang Teaching Museum will launch a video trailer on social media for each chapter of the book and make that chapter available as a downloadable PDF on the Museum’s website at tang.skidmore.edu.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, out of concern for the health and safety of the staff and community, and in accordance with guidelines from Skidmore College, is extending its temporary closure through the summer months. 

This difficult but necessary decision comes after considering current projections about the outbreak, and means the cancelation of beloved Tang summer traditions such as the annual community open house, Frances Day, and the popular Upbeat on the Roof concert series. These traditions will be back in 2021. The summer closure also means changes — but no cancelations — to the Tang’s previously announced exhibition schedule.

 “Summer at the Tang is a time of coming together for music, art, art-making, and community, but these extraordinary times require us to do our part to slow the spread by practicing social distancing,” said Dayton Director Ian Berry, in a statement. 

The Museum launched Tang at Home, an online hub for art-making activities and projects for all ages that bring the Tang experience into people’s homes at tang.skidmore.edu/education/tang-at-home. The Tang is adding new projects each week. The newest community project is Tang Extra Credit, in which everyone is invited to re-create works of art from the Tang collection with what they have around them. Email your re-creation to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include your name, email address, and the name of the artwork that inspired you. Discover people’s re-creations at the Tang Extra Credit page.

New Dates for Exhibitions

Energy in All Directions, originally set for a July opening is now scheduled to open Oct. 10 and will stay on view through May 17, 2021.

Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, originally scheduled for Aug. 26 is now scheduled to open Sept. 17 and stay on view through June 6, 2021. 

• Lover Earth: Art and Ecosexuality will open as scheduled on May 30 as an online exhibition. 

For more information go to: tang.skidmore.edu/exhibitions. 

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College has been honored with three awards in the 2019 American Alliance of Museums Publications Design Competition.

The Museum won:

- First Prize in the Posters category for a poster created for the exhibition Rose Ocean: Living with Duchamp, designed by Jean Tschanz-Egger, Head of Design at the Tang Museum. The 2- by 3-foot poster features screen-printed text on clear mylar with the letters of the exhibition title made of orange circles with white dots in homage to the typography on a 1934 artist book by the legendary Dada artist Marcel Duchamp.

- Second Prize in the Exhibition Collateral Materials category for an interactive project produced in conjunction with the Tang exhibition Give a damn. Also designed by Tschanz-Egger, the project includes four 6- by 10-foot banners that announced the project and invited visitors to write to their federal, state and local elected representatives about a variety of topics on specially-designed postcards that were mailed by the museum during the run of the show.

- Innovations in Print for the exhibition catalogue Sixfold Symmetry: Pattern in Art & Science, designed by Barbara Glauber, principal of the New York City design firm Heavy Meta. The 128-page catalogue features new scholarship by Skidmore faculty members, contributions from Skidmore students, and a translucent dust jacket and open binding.

Also announced: Important works at the Tang by acclaimed contemporary artists Nayland Blake and Lari Pittman have hit the road and are now on view as central works in career-spanning surveys at two prestigious Los Angeles museums.

 No Wrong Holes: Thirty Years of Nayland Blake is at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and will be on view through Jan. 26, 2020. Lari Pittman: Declaration of Independence will be on view through Jan. 5, 2020, at the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

 “We are honored to have Tang works included in these important exhibitions,” said Dayton Director Ian Berry, in a statement. “Blake’s monumental Feeder and Pittman’s epic history painting represent key periods in each artist’s body of work.  As stewards of these important late-twentieth-century artworks, and as the Tang collection grows and deepens, we are gratified to share them with new audiences and to see that they resonate with today’s art historians, who are inspired to write new art histories. These new contexts for the collection teach us all a great deal.”

 The Tang collection includes more than 16,500 objects, and the works by Blake and Pittman exemplify part of the Museum’s mission of acquiring important work by artists from underrepresented identities and that reflect the museum’s exhibition history: Pittman was born in Los Angeles from an American father and a Columbian mother, and his work often addresses issues of inequality and sexual identity. Blake’s work addresses his own queer and biracial identity, as both African American and white. Both of their works are fueled by history and biography and deftly combine narrative and form.

 Located on the campus of Skidmore college, admission to the museum is free (donation suggested). Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. Thursday. http://tang.skidmore.edu.

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Friday, 31 May 2019 14:50

Streb Pops into Action at the Tang

SARATOGA SPRINGS - The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College presents the exhibition Streb Action, June 1 through July 21, in which the acclaimed dance company Streb Extreme Action turns a gallery into a rehearsal and performance space, and an exhibition of its archive of cutting-edge work since its 1985 founding by choreographer Elizabeth Streb.

Streb and company will be in residence from June 4 through June 21, and will rehearse in the gallery on most afternoons. Those rehearsals are open to the public. The exhibition will feature notebooks that reveal Streb’s colorful, hand-drawn choreographic notes and ideas, and videos that show some of the company’s earliest recorded performances.

 In addition to open rehearsals, Streb and her dance company will offer a free public performance on June 14 at the museum, conduct public workshops during Frances Day, the museum’s annual community day on Saturday, June 15, and develop new work in collaboration with Anne Bogart, the Co-Artistic Director of SITI Company and Skidmore’s Summer Theater Workshop, called FALLING & LOVING.

Public events:

Thursday, June 6, 7 pm: Film and Discussion. Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb Vs. Gravity, a film by Catherine Gund
Join us for a screening of Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, followed by a talk with Streb. The film by Catherine Gund traces the evolution of Streb’s movement philosophy as she pushes herself and her performers from the ground to the sky.

Thursday, June 13, 7 pm: Dialogue with Elizabeth Streb, Anne Bogart, and Ian Berry. Anne Bogart, Obie-winning director and co-artistic director of SITI Company, and Elizabeth Streb will discuss a new piece they are collaborating on while in residence at Skidmore College called FALLING & LOVING. The dialogue will be moderated by Dayton Director Ian Berry.

Friday, June 14, 7 pm: Streb Extreme Action in Performance
The Streb Extreme Action Company is known for physically demanding performances that combine virtuosity, technical skill, and popular appeal. Witness this company defy gravity in a program that features new and recent works including Molinette, Air, Tilt, Revolution, and Remain.

For more information, GO HERE

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Touching upon themes of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, her love of dogs, her disdain for pop culture and a human planetary existence altered in dramatic ways due to a changing climate, artist/composer/musician and film director addressed a large crowd gathered inside the Tang Museum’s Payne Room where she told them, apocalyptic visions aside, her focus is: How Best To Tell The Story.

“The world is made of stories. Our own stories. Other people’s stories, (so) how do you tell a story like that, where, you know, this is going end?” Anderson said. “We’re the first people in the history of the human race who can see our own extinction coming. The first ones. Stories are things that are told to others but in this case, this is a story that’s told to no one. The first story that is:  Told. To. No one.”

Anderson’s appearance April 17 was the night two feature of the Tang Museum’s three-day Bardo Now series. George Saunders, author of the 2017 novel “Lincoln in the Bardo,” appeared via video chat on night one, in conversation with Donald S. Lopez, Jr., professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies at the University of Michigan and author of “The Tibetan Book of the Dead: A Biography.”

The series’ closing night featured a concert by guitarist Tashi Dorji and percussionist Susie Ibarra, performing an experimental duet conceived for the event as a musical bardo exploration.

The 90-minute presentation showcasing Anderson, a practicing Buddhist, was staged as an “in conversation” event with Benjamin Bogin, the director of the Asian Studies Program at Skidmore College.

“It’s the living bardo that’s thrilling to me,” said Anderson, when asked to connect Tibetan Buddhist themes with her creativity. “As a musician, I think the way I can most experience what you would call a bardo is in just this moment - because you don’t know what you’re going to play next,” said Anderson, noting that she doesn’t subscribe to the standard narrative form of beginning, middle and end. “That seems artificial to me. The fractured story is what I do. I respond to work where we don’t really quite know what we’re doing and what will happen next. That’s also why I’m also drawn to virtual reality. You’re making it up as you go along.

“When I first began to (improvise), I felt this incredible sense of freedom in not knowing what was going to come next, in responding to another person in a way that was absolutely in that moment - not in some other moment that you thought might be interesting - but right now. That was a big, big thrill to me as a musician.”  

Anderson screened an 11-minute segment from “Heart of a Dog,” her 2015 documentary which centers on Anderson's remembrances of her late beloved dog Lolabelle, and concludes with an image of husband Lou Reed, who died in 2013.  

“It was a film where my dog died – that was the core of it – but it was really dedicated to my teacher, Mingyur Rinpoche. One of the things I treasure about his teachings is his clarity, things like: it’s really important to practice how to feel sad, without being sad - and that distinction is a very important one because there are many, many sad things in the world and if you try to push them away, or pretend they’re not there, you’re an idiot! They will find you and they will get you,” she explained. “So, (Rinpoche’s) idea is: do not become that yourself.”   

Professor Bogin said he was struck by the film’s exploration “visually, sonically and poetically,” of bardo ideas, as Anderson narrated a series of paintings used in the film depicting Lolabelle’s journey through the 49 days of the bardo, “how memory starts flooding through the mind and you’re suddenly every single being that you’ve ever been in your life; the many beings that you are, simultaneously. 

“I think for most people who experience death, what an incredible privilege it is that that door opens…you get this chance to really look at it and feel it,” Anderson said. “I think sometimes experiencing time and death and love is sometimes easier when you look at what happens with animals and what the effects have on those creatures. You get that in a more immediate way.”

Anderson became a reluctant musical hit-maker in the early 1980s when her song “O Superman” climbed to no. 2 in the UK Pop charts alongside the likes of Rod Stewart, Elvis Costello, and The Police. It was a record she made on a $500 NEA grant in 1980.

“Anytime somebody said, ‘I want a copy of your record,’ I would walk it over to the post office. One day someone called, they spoke with a British accent, and they said: we need some copies of your record. I said, ‘OK, how many?’ They said: 40,000. by Monday.  And another 40,000 by Wednesday. I’ll. Get. Right. Back to you,” Anderson recalled. 

“So, I called up Warner Bros. Records – they’d been coming to my shows and saying: don’t you want to make a record?  I said, no, not really. But, I called them up and said: you know that record you wanted?  Can you make a bunch of them really soon? And they said: well, that’s not the way we do things at Warner Bros Records and Tapes. We’ll sign an eight-record deal. What?

“I got a lot of criticism from artists, for ‘selling out.’ A couple of months later, it was called ‘Crossing Over.’ And everyone wanted to do it.”

The song, based on a prayer by French composer Jules Massenet is about the power of technology, and of loss, Anderson said. “Technology doesn’t save you. If you think technology is going to solve your problems, you don’t understand technology - and you don’t understand your problems,” she said.

“It was really about the moment when we were going to go in and rescue the hostages. And America was going to go in and pull them out and American technology was going to shine. Then the helicopters crashed and burned in the desert,” she said, regarding the ill-fated military rescue attempt in April, 1980.

While that international success of the record made it easier for Anderson to create other things, she warns there is also a danger

“Pop Culture,” she says with disdain. “What happened? Corporate America has entered culture. It’s disturbing to me, because it’s Culture Light. It’s America’s Got Talent culture. Nothing wrong with that except when they come into your neighborhood and go: we love the community you built and now we’re going to buy it, we’re going to brand it, and sell it back to you. And we’re going to curate it while we’re at it and say what’s important and what is not.

 “We have to think about what we’re making. Now, often you see it’s just about the box office -how many people get through the doors – and it doesn’t really matter what the experience is. I do think that there’s art for everybody – but it’s a tricky thing, to make sure that it’s not just so watered down that it’s just feel-good stuff.” 


The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery is located on the campus of Skidmore College On exhibit through May 19: The Second Buddha: Master of Time presents the story of the legendary Indian Buddhist master Padmasambhava - widely credited with bringing Buddhism to the Tibetan lands. The exhibit features Tibetan scroll paintings (thangkas), textiles, and manuscripts from the 13th through 19th centuries.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS – Renowned performance artist and practicing Buddhist Laurie Anderson will take part in the Tang Museum’s Dunkerley Dialogues on April 17 – night two of the museum’s three-night “Bardo Now” events.

Anderson first gained widespread attention with her song "O Superman," in the early 1980s. Other major recordings include “Big Science,” “Mister Heartbreak,” “Strange Angels,” and “Home of the Brave,” among others.  Major performance pieces include United States I-V, Empty Places, The Nerve Bible, and Songs and Stories for Moby Dick.

Anderson spent time in the early 1970s as an artist-in-residence at the ZBS Foundation’s 33-acre complex on the Hudson River between the villages of Schuylerville and Fort Edward. Anderson met songwriter Lou Reed in the 1990’s and the two were later wed. She released her emotionally moving and highly acclaimed documentary film “Heart of A Dog” in 2015.

The Tang Museum, “Bardo Now,” April 16-18.


- 6 p.m., Tuesday, April 16 - A discussion of George Saunders’ acclaimed novel, "Lincoln in the Bardo."

- 6 p.m., Wednesday, April 17 - A talk with performance artist and practicing Buddhist, Laurie Anderson and Benjamin Bogin, director of the Asian studies program at Skidmore College.

- 6 p.m., Thursday, April 18 - Concert by guitarist, Tashi Dorji and percussionist, Susie Ibarra, performing an experimental duet conceived for this event as a musical Bardo exploration.

Events are free and open to the public and are held in conjunction with the exhibition “The Second Buddha: Master of Time,” which explores the life, legend, and legacy of Padmasambhava, a tantric master who is an iconic figure in Tibetan culture, celebrated as “The Second Buddha” and credited for bringing Buddhism to Tibet. The concept of the bardo is described in “The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” which is attributed to Padmasambhava.

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, 815 North Broadway. For more information, call 518-580-8080.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS - Tim Davis roams the corridors of the Tang Museum, surveying the gallery landscape where the work is ongoing in preparation of this weekend’s opening of his new show.

“This is the first time I’ve ever really done a show on this scale of things - things that aren’t just pictures that I took on a wall,” he says, the sonic echo of swinging hammers and buzzing drills flowing all around him. “This has a lot more going on.”

There are photographs – which he calls cartoons, selfies captured in the South Sea, videos of radios that he filmed in Tunisia; There is a self-portrait sculpture composed of multiple copies of Bob Dylan’s “Self Portrait” album, and a multitude of grave rubbings of people with funny names. “I can’t believe that I spent all this time in the summer doing these grave-rubbings,” Davis says, with a laugh. “It just seems insane.”  

“While I’m out there making photographs about the immediate moment, I’m also collecting stuff all the time,” he explains, posing for a photograph in front of his Library of Ideas. Here, the book shelves are lined with titles that boast the word “Idea.” 


2-Neighbors Davis.jpg


 "It all started with the sheet music of the song ‘(When We Are Dancing) I get ideas,’ Davis says. “I started collecting printed matter that has the word IDEAS in it, thinking that if I ever needed more ideas…”

Davis had staged solo exhibitions in Italy and France, Belgium and Canada. He has been involved in group exhibitions in spaces like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “When We Are Dancing (I Get Ideas),” - which opens on Saturday at the Tang Museum - marks the first large-scale exhibit in Saratoga Springs for the artist who spent his childhood here.  

Davis grew up in Saratoga where at a young age he went around town with his friends making home movies with a Super 8 camera. He played in local bands. He created handwritten stories that were published in a homemade newspaper created by his friends. The TV news was their inspiration.   “We were all obsessed with this weekend news anchor in Albany named Joe Moskowitz,” he recalls. “We got his 8x10 glossy, signed. We were in his fan club…”  

The artist’s father, longtime Saratogian Peter Davis, was the program director of the Flurry Festival and plays a variety of instruments with numerous bands in the region, from Annie and the Hedonists to Saratoga Race Course house band Reggie’s Red Hot Feetwarmers. Music also plays a prominent rule in the exhibition. A monitor inside the museum displays music videos the younger Davis created for each of the 11 songs that he wrote for an album titled “It’s OK to Hate Yourself.”   

“It’s got many of Saratoga’s finest musicians on it,” says the artist who spent many years writing lyrics for his brother’s band, Cuddle Magic.  On Dec. 6, Tim Davis will perform all new material with his all new band.  “We’re called Severely Brothers. not THE. Just called Severely Brothers, OK?”

He is an artist, writer and a musician who makes photographs, video, drawings, sound, and installations. Humor plays a vital role.     

One of his earlier videos - “The Upstate New York Olympics” - depicts Davis leap-frogging over lawn jockeys. Sixteen different lawn jockeys in fact and some of which would be readily recognizable to residents of the Spa City. 

“On my 40th birthday, I said: I’m going to go out and just make something that’s super fun, something I enjoy. My birthday is Nov. 5 and it’s always cold and miserable and I came up with idea of making new sports. And I love playing sports, so I was like: Can I make art as fun as playing sports? For a year I made this thing – The Upstate New York Olympics - and I went all around upstate scanning the landscape,” says Davis, who is 48. “The lawn jockey leapfrog seemed logical. I get a rush out of doing something I’m not supposed to do. I never really got in trouble,” he says. “And I only went to the hospital once.” 

Another early video features 12 minutes of various Dollar General stores that accompany the lonesome traveler on a journey across the upstate landscape. 

“I was visiting a friend in Chenango County, out near Binghamton. You’re driving around an realize there are these Dollar General stores in like every town, these amazing glowing things where they leave the lights on really late at night. You’re like: Oh, there goes another one. He fixed his camera to the side window of his car and continued on his journey. ”I enjoy being out in the world and being dedicated to capturing something about the immediacy of the moment.” 

In the Tang Museum exhibition, two fixed walls play moving images that showcase, respectively, the formative beginnings of the hope-filled power of creativity - called “Counting In” - and its successful conclusion, called “Curtain Calls.”  

“This is all footage I shot. Counting In took a year of going to band practices and waiting for them to say: one, two, three, four. Filmed in their rehearsal spaces, I just take the part where they go: one, two, three, four and string all of those together, before the song even starts. Curtain Calls are of amateur theatrical plays. It’s the ecstasy of the thing being over. Different plays from all over the country, shot from the same vantage point,” Davis says.  

“A curtain call is what everyone is aiming for in a play - especially an amateur play that’s three hours long. Everyone’s like: can we get it there without messing it up? And Counting In is something that’s necessary to make music happen. I feel these two pieces are the real American Dream – which is playing in a band in your basement and doing an elaborate theater production. It’s not making a million dollars on Wall Street. “  

Another music-meets-culture depiction - Un-Easy Listening - takes up a glass housed section of the museum’s second-floor space.

“There are about seven or eight hundred easy listening record in here - records you pick up when you go digging through the Salvation Army,” Davis says. “Elevator music. Music meant to be in the background in a suburban house in the ‘50s, when people moved from urban ethnic-type apartment tenements to the suburbs, where they created all this music to fill up that space. That happened at the same time of the invention of the long-playing record and hi-fi stereo. So, it was the perfect storm of blandness.” A trio of record players simultaneously spin three different easy listening selections. “It’s interactive. People can come in and take records, put them on, change them out, take them home if they want. I would be grateful to get rid of them.”  

Davis lives in Tivoli, N.Y., near Kingston and teaches photography at Bard College. He previously taught a different generation of students at Yale, from 2001 to 2004. It was an era before Google, before Facebook and prior to Instagram. The technological changes of the past 15 years have been massive.

 “One thing that’s harder and harder is going out into the world (for a new generation of students). Computers and the Internet are things that make us… we know where we can go to get answers. Every question can be answered in one place. The idea of moving through the world randomly may lead you to your answers, and unexpected answers, but it’s harder for them to do that. So, I give an assignment that’s called ‘Let’s Get Lost’ and the idea is you have to be completely lost before you can take any pictures, and you can’t have a phone with you. For me, the idea is that there’s a heightened attention when we’re lost, a feeling of being hyper-aware,” Davis explains.

“On the other hand, the idea of their lives being something they want to share with other people is something that’s totally familiar to them. It’s easier for them to make work that’s more personal, that’s more connected, because they’re used to it. It’s something they’ve done their whole lives. Not only making art about their whole lives - but publishing it, for all to see.”

The exhibition reflects the wide variety of the artist’s works. “I’m paying attention all the time,” Davis says. “The thing is, we may run out of a lot of things, but we’re never going to run out of significance. We’re never going to run out of something to say. As long as there are human beings, there is going to be significance in a sense that: this is really important, let me tell you this. And that’s what I’m here for.”

 tang light Copy(photo: the artist in the spotlight, at the Tang Museum, Oct. 17, 2018. Photo: Thomas Dimopoulos)


Tim Davis - When We Are Dancing (I Get Ideas), a solo exhibition opens Saturday. Oct. 20 at
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College. Opening reception is at 5 p.m.

On Tuesday, Oct. 30, Davis hosts an evening at the museum of storytelling about how and why people collect things.  he will also stage a musical performance on Dec. 6. For more information, go to: tang.skidmore.edu.

Published in Entertainment
Thursday, 27 September 2018 11:40

For Freedoms Sign Project

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College held a nonpartisan voter-registration drive and the launch of a For Freedoms public art project from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 25, which was also National Voter Registration Day, in conjunction with the exhibition Give a damn. Skidmore College students from the Student Government Association registered people to vote ahead of the November 6 midterm elections. For the public art project, participants were invited to share their own definition of freedom on yard signs, which was inspired by campaign signage, by completing one of following phrases:

• Freedom Of  ________.
• Freedom From ______.
• Freedom For  _______.
• Freedom To ________.

After participants articulated a vision of freedom in their own way, they were then invited to have their signs installed outside the Tang. They will stay on view as part of a public art project called For Freedoms through the November election. Those who wished to display their signs at their own homes were encouraged to share images of their signs on social media with the hashtags #ForFreedoms, #50StateInitiative as well as #TangMuseum. The public art project is a collaboration between the Tang Teaching Museum and For Freedoms, an organization founded by the artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman that seeks to use art to deepen public discussions of civic issues and core values, and to clarify that citizenship in American society is defined by participation, not by ideology. The For Freedoms public art exhibition is organized by Assistant Director for Engagement Tom Yoshikami and the Tang Student Advisory Council, in conjunction with For Freedoms.

Published in Education
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