During a year when social distancing became the new buzzword, the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery has been focusing on bringing the arts community together.
In a project called “All Together Now,” the museum has collaborated with eight institutions to share collections and present new exhibitions. The Hyde Collection, the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Saratoga Arts, Saratoga County History Center, Saratoga Performing Arts Center and Yaddo will each host exhibitions of works from the Tang collection.
The exhibitions at partner institutions will kick off in May and run through at least the fall, though not all exhibitions will run concurrently.
The project, which is supported by a $275,000 Henry Luce Foundation grant, started as a way to celebrate the Tang’s 20th anniversary in 2020.
“It really came about with a brainstorm [session] about how to share resources and sharing resources suddenly became a hugely different and important thing to talk about as the COVID pandemic occurred,” said Ian Berry, the Dayton Director of the museum.
“We shifted the entire project one year forward to this summer and the notion of collaboration and helping each other and working together just took on greater meaning and the project now is really the reopening show for many of the institutions involved,” Berry said.
Each partner institution will have works on view that have rarely, if ever, been seen together. The exhibits also coincide with the mission or identities of each institution.
Appropriately, SPAC will host “Chromatic Scales,” featuring more than 30 psychedelic rock posters from the 1960s. The posters, designed by artists like Jim Blashfield, Lee Conklin and Bonnie MacLean feature The Doors, Van Morrison and other legends.
The National Museum of Racing will host an exhibit packed with early animal locomotion photographic studies and equestrian paintings. Called “Muybridge and Motion,” it brings together rarely seen works by Eadweard Muybridge (1830 – 1904) and Henry Stull (1851 – 1913).
The Hyde will present recent acquisitions by the Tang, which have not yet been exhibited.
The exhibit, titled “Summer Bomb Pop: Collections in Dialogue,” is slated to include 16 contemporary abstract paintings from artists like Sarah Braman, Jeffrey Gibson, Rashid Johnson, Mindy Shapero and Chuck Webster. These will be paired with 20th century works from the Hyde’s Feibes & Schmitt Collection, including works by Ellsworth Kelly, Bridget Riley, Andy Warhol and others.
In the process of curating and researching each exhibition, organizers brought on local experts like Chuck Vosganian, founder of the Rochmon Record Club to assist with the exhibit at SPAC, and Lisa Kolosek, former curator of the National Museum of Dance to curate an exhibit focused on dance at Yaddo.
“The Tang has a really amazing collection of Carl Van Vechten photographs and it skews heavily toward dancers and choreographers and actors too,” Kolosek said.
There are hundreds of photographs in the collection, and Kolosek selected more than 80 of them that focus on dance, from Broadway to ballet. Taken between the 1930s and 1960s, they include figures like Alvin Ailey, Carol Channing, Carmen de Lavallade, Paul Taylor and others.
Beyond curating the exhibit titled “Carl Van Vechten On Dance,” Kolosek has become the project manager for “All Together Now,” overseeing many of the collaborations and exhibits.
“There’s [eight] partner organizations, and the genesis of each one is really different,” Kolosek said.
The latest is a partnership with the Saratoga County History Center, formerly known as Brookside Museum. The Center has historic hats in its collection, and, fittingly, it will present wood hat forms by Alfred Z. Solomon. The abstract sculptures not only draw attention to the Center’s collection but also highlight works from the Tang’s collection that many may not be familiar with.
“Who would have known again that the Tang would have a collection such as this?” Kolosek said.
While the pandemic was a major challenge in getting “All Together Now” off the ground, delaying it by a year afforded organizers new opportunities.
“We envisioned this to be last summer and we had imagined more of a tour that somebody would come to town and get a map and go from venue to venue to venue. But that’s really not going to be possible during this pandemic . . . But I would say that the challenge of that timing switch actually did turn into an opportunity and a really good opportunity which was that we made more and we made deeper connections with our partners,” Berry said.
In the coming weeks and months, the project will continue to evolve.
“We’re all not quite sure what we can do this summer in terms of programming. So there’s a lot of possible events and openings and things that [we] are waiting to see how we can do it,” Berry said.
However, Berry hopes that the project will have reverberations beyond this year.
“As we become closer to each other as arts presenters in Saratoga, will we call on each other in different ways in the future? … This introduction hopefully will be the start of a much tighter, much more connected arts ecosystem in Saratoga,” Berry said.
For more information, visit tang.skidmore.edu, which includes links to the websites of each organization involved in “All Together Now.”
Here’s a look at the exhibition schedule:
The Hyde Collection, Glens Falls: “Summer Bomb Pop: Collections in Dialogue,” May 1 – Oct. Slated to include 16 works of contemporary abstract painting from the Tang collection by artists such as Sarah Braman, Jeffrey Gibson, Rashid Johnson, Mindy Shapero, and Chuck Webster with several Twentieth-century works from The Hyde’s Feibes & Schmitt Collection.
Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs: “Chromatic Scales: Psychedelic Design from the Tang Teaching Museum Collection,” June 26 – Oct. Featuring more than 30 recently acquired 1960s San Francisco psychedelic rock concert posters designed by artists such as Jim Blashfield, Lee Conklin, and Bonnie MacLean, and the Big Five’s Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso.
Saratoga County History Center, Ballston Spa: “The Social Lives of Hats,” June 26 – Oct. Pairs more than 25 hats in wide-ranging styles from the SCHC collection with several of Alfred Z. Solomon’s wood hat forms, which are part of the Tang collection.
Saratoga Arts, Saratoga Springs: “Brighten the Corners: Art of the 1990s from the Tang Teaching Museum Collection,” July 1 – Aug. 14. Includes more than 15 works of contemporary art including painting, sculpture, and photography from the Tang collection with a focus on identity and storytelling.
National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, Saratoga Springs: “Muybridge and Motion: Selections from the Tang Teaching Museum Collection,” July 1 – Jan. 2, 2022. Features a series of animal locomotion photographic studies from the late 19th century by Eadweard Muybridge, along with equestrian paintings by American artist Henry Stull.
Yaddo, Saratoga Springs: “Carl Van Vechten On Dance: Photographs from the Tang Teaching Museum Collection,” Aug. – Oct. 2021. Features more than 80 photographs of dancers and choreographers such as Alvin Ailey, Carol Channing, Carmen de Lavallade, Melissa Hayden, Geoffrey Holder, Alicia Markova, Arthur Mitchell and Paul Taylor by Vechten.
Tang Teaching Museum, Saratoga Springs: “Energy in All Directions,” on view through June 13. Created in collaboration with the Shaker Museum of Mount Lebanon, the exhibit celebrates the life of artist and gallerist Hudson. Then, from July 10 – Nov. 28, the museum will present “Ellsworth Kelly: Postcards,” in collaboration with Ellsworth Kelly Studio.
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