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ing to have access to such a progressive and innovative institution right on campus.”


When the Tang talks... For a small museum far outside an urban


center, the Tang has an outsized impact. Weber says, “Our shows cast a long shadow in the contemporary art world.” Berry adds, “Our peers keep track of what we’re doing. And when artists, writers, and professors do something here, they’re recognized by their peers—‘Oh, you had a show at the Tang.’” “There is a lot of buzz regarding the qual - ity of the shows,” says artist Paula Hayes ’87, whose exhibition Understory anchors the Tang’s yearlong 10th-anniversary programs. She says that Berry’s “outstanding cura torial practice has gained high respect in the na- tional museum world.” Contemporary artists like Hayes want to show at the Tang, where possibilities are wide open, the crew will work with them on just about any presentation platform they can conceive, and Berry brings in top writers and designers to produce stun- ning exhibition catalogs that extend the artists’—and the museum’s—reach.


EACH YEAR, THE TANG WELCOMES SOME 40,000 VISITORS, INCLUDING 5,000 SCHOOLCHILDREN AND MORE THAN 1,000 SKIDMORE STUDENTS IN CLASSES ACROSS THE CURRICULUM.


Strong support for the museum likewise bespeaks its success. The Friends of the Tang and the Tang Advisory Council are ro- bust, says board chair Janet Lucas Whitman ’59, who chaired the advisory group for its first nine years. “We’ve had many join in,” she says—fellow trustees, alumni and friends, artists and gallery owners. Amid stiff competition, Weber notes, major grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Getty Foundation, and Lau- rie M. Tisch Illumination Fund are “signs of the esteem in which we are held.” For Oscar Tang, it has been a joy to see the realization of the museum’s mission and the way it has burnished Skidmore’s rep-


Celebrate!


How then to mark the decennial of this singular accomplish- ment? “We’re celebrating by doing what we do well,” says Weber, “expressing our founding mission and working experi- mentally in the galleries.” The idea is to “live the mission for the whole year.” And yet one day seemed to demand special treat- ment: on the 10th day of the 10th month of 2010, the museum hosted 10 hours of festivities, including curator’s tours, music by


5. OBJECTS SUCH AS ILLUSTRATED CHINAWARE INTERACT WITH ARTWORKS OLD AND NEW IN THE HUDSON RIVER SHOW. 6. HAIR BRINGS TOGETHER PORTRAITURE, MIXED-MEDIA ART, AND EVEN BURMA-SHAVE SIGNS. 7. STUDENTS HELP PREPARE JIM HODGES’S OH GREAT TERRAIN, PART OF THE ABSTRACT ART EXHIBITION THE JEWEL THIEF.


utation for interdisciplinary teaching and learning. He says, “There’s nothing like see- ing the exhibits to realize what this concept means. In all it has done, the museum has far exceeded my expectations.” The Tang’s conference “The College Mu- seum: A Collision of Disciplines, A Labora- tory of Perception” in 2006 has remained a point of reference for colleges and universi- ties eager to have faculty use their galleries in more creative ways. Several years ago, in her book New Museum Theory and Practice: An Introduction, Janet Marstine hailed Skid- more for its “ambitious and radical plan to make new museum theory a linchpin of arts, humanities, and science education.” Now program director for the University of Leicester’s School of Museum Studies, she observes, “In these challenging economic times, when so many university and college museums have become vulnerable, the Tang has proved that interdisciplinary col- laboration and risk-taking innovation are the wave of the future.” She calls the Tang a model for “driving civic discourse across the campus and community through objects,”


adding that the student- and faculty-curated exhibitions have “significant museological impact.”


6. 5.


16 SCOPE WINTER 2011


7.


ARTHUR EVANS


TIMOTHY HURSLEY


ARTHUR EVANS


ARTHUR EVANS


GARY GOLD


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