The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College invites you to Give a damn. Opening on June 30, Give a damn. will feature work by artists such as Lari Pittman, Zanele Muholi, and Ana Mendieta, whose works have advocated for a number of important causes and social movements. Take some time to reflect at this new exhibition, exploring the world around you through thought-provoking photographs, paintings, collages, and much more!
“Why don’t you give a damn about your fellow man?” This is one of the key questions driving the Tang’s upcoming exhibition, and is embedded in a 1969 print by Corita Kent. Encouraging visitors to question historical narratives, stereotypes, and to fight for issues that are meaningful to them, the Tang will be presenting a postcard-writing project along with the exhibition. Through this exercise, guests can use postcards and pens provided by the museum to address their elected representatives. All postcards will be stamped and mailed by the Museum.
Featured work contributes to the exhibit’s opening of dialogues surrounding race, sexual orientation, gender, age, and nationality. In fact, the Tang is part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative, which encourages “civil discourse in art institutions and the creation of centers for dialogue and action.” You can learn more about the initiative at forefreedoms.org.
Many of the Tang’s most recent acquisitions are being featured at the museum for the first time as part of Give a damn., including:
- Once a Noun, Now a Verb #1 (1997): Lari Pittman comments on American culture in this large-scale, four-panel painting. Brimming with colorful symbols and heavy with meaning, Once a Noun, Now a Verb #1 comes to the Tang as a gift from Peter Norton.
- Harlem, U.S.A. (1970s): Black-and-white photography by MacArthur Genius Grant recipient Dawoud Bey, whose work embodies the diversity of Harlem. The series was gifted by Jack Shear.
- The Four Seasons (2006): A four-part photographic series by Wendy Red Star. Red Star, dressed in Crow clothing, is shown in four artificial settings which represent the seasons. The photographs were purchased with funding from Ann Schapps Schaffer and Melvyn S. Schaffer.
- Faces and Phases (2006 – ongoing): Visual activist Zanele Muholi “fill[s] a gap in South Africa’s visual history” with photographs that feature black South African lesbians and trans men. The ongoing project was purchased by the Tang.
- Photographs of the Black Panther Party, along with posters and other material distributed by the movement in the 1960s and 1970s, gifted to the Tang by Jack Shear.
- Silueta Sangrienta (1975): This silent film by Ana Mendieta reflects on the landscape and the female body, as well as the artist’s sense of loss following the Cuban Revolution. Silueta Sangrienta, or “Bloody Silhouette,” is a joint acquisition by the Tang and museums at Bowdoin College, Colby College, Mount Holyoke College, and Brandeis University through the New Media Arts Consortium.
Give a damn. will be open from June 30 through September 30.
Frances Day at the Tang
This year, Give a damn. is the featured exhibit of Tang’s annual Frances Day celebration! Honoring museum namesake Frances Young Tang, the day’s events will run from 2 to 6 PM on Saturday, July 14 and include:
- A diorama designed and set up by Wendy Red Star and daughter Beatrice Red Star Fletcher, who will take photographs of visitors as they pose,
- A tour by Mellon Collections Curator Rebecca McNamara at 3 PM, and
- A button-making station inspired by the exhibition.
A part of Skidmore College, the Tang exhibits work that encourages curiosity and celebrates diversity. Join them from noon to 5 PM on Tuesday through Sunday, or during extended hours until 9 PM on Thursday. Learn more at tang.skidmore.edu.