Tang Teaching Museum receives expansive gift from Michael and Sirje Gold
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Tang Teaching Museum receives expansive gift from Michael and Sirje Gold
Steve Roden, The Silent World (Four Shadows), 2004, oil, acrylic on canvas, 72 x 66 x 1 1/2 inches, Tang Teaching Museum collection, Gift of Michael O. Gold and Sirje Helder Gold in memory of their beloved son Maximilian Arnold Gold, 2020.22.12.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY.- The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College has received a gift of 24 contemporary artworks from the collection of Michael O. and Sirje Helder Gold. The gift includes works created in the 1990s and 2000s by a diverse group of leading and emerging artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Sean Duffy, Naomi Fisher, Iva Gueorguieva, Michelle Grabner, Carol Hepper, Steve Roden, Jonathan Seliger, Glen Seator, George Stoll, Beverly Semmes, and Barbara Takenaga.

The Golds are prominent art collectors who have lived in New York City and Los Angeles, and are known for championing the work of younger artists. Many of the paintings, photographs, and sculptures included in their gift are by artists from the West Coast and represent the Tang’s first acquisition from their oeuvre. Other works were created by artists who have been featured in exhibitions across the Tang’s twenty-year exhibition history. The gift will introduce many of these artists to new audiences, and the additions to the Tang’s growing collection will provide valuable opportunities for research and study by students and scholars from a variety of disciplines.

“This expansive gift adds a wonderful note of hope and optimism to our twentieth anniversary year, and I sincerely thank Michael and Sirje for their generosity and trust in the Tang,” said Ian Berry, Dayton Director of the Tang Teaching Museum. “We are honored to welcome all of the artists into our collection, both those who are new to the Tang as well as some of our closest friends. The wide scope of artistic perspectives and practices represented in this gift will deepen our resources and expand possibilities for the inventive interdisciplinary learning and teaching at the core of our mission.”

“Sirje and I happily join the Tang in celebrating the Museum’s 20th anniversary. Over the years, we have donated work to many museums. Though the experience is always bittersweet, as Shakespeare said, ‘Parting is such sweet sorrow,’ we know that at the Tang there will be a rebirth and a rejuvenation as new audiences of students, faculty, scholars, and visitors will be stimulated and inspired by the artists and the work we have gifted. We would like to thank Ian Berry, Dayton Director; Elizabeth Karp, Senior Museum Registrar; and Kara Jefts, Collections Registrar, for their concern, competence and humanity during this process of ‘sweet sorrow.’”

Highlights from the gift include:

• Michelle Grabner, Orange Weave, 1997, enamel on panel. This work comes from early in Grabner’s career, and is the first work by the artist to be added to the Tang collection. Grabner’s work was previously featured in the 2015 group exhibition Affinity Atlas.

• Steve Roden, The Silent World (Four Shadows), 2004, oil, acrylic on canvas, and spatial score, 2006, wood, enamel, acrylic, polyurethane, nails, and thread. These two works by painter, sculptor and sound artist Roden are from the same time period of his 2004 exhibition at the Tang, Elevator Music 2: Investigations in Experimental Sound — Steve Roden.

• Naomi Fisher, Assy Flora (Pink Hisbiscus), Assy Flora (Royal Pionciana), and Assy Flora (Orchid Tree), all 1999, cibachrome print on paper. These whimsical and eye-catching photographs were featured in the 2020 exhibition Lover Earth: Art and Ecosexuality, the capstone project for Caroline Coxe ’20, the 2019–20 Eleanor Linder Winter ’43 Endowed Intern.

• Jonathan Seliger, Idealized Self-Portrait, 2000, oil, alkyd, acrylic, modeling paste, and varnish on canvas. Seliger has the distinction of being the first to be featured in the Tang’s ongoing Opener series, which presents solo exhibitions of mid-career artists deserving greater recognition. The work joins other works by Seliger in the Tang collection, including Politeness Counts, 2004, an oversized shopping bag painted with the words “Thank You” that welcomes visitors outside the Tang entrance.

• Beverly Semmes, Untitled, 1993, velvet upholstery fabric. This work is part of a series of big dress pieces that Semmes made in the 1990s. Semmes was featured in a 2014 solo exhibition at the Tang, Opener 27: Beverly Semmes — FRP, which included sculpture and works on paper. Her work has also been included in group shows at the Tang, including About Sculpture, 2005; One Work, 2014; Other Side: Art, Object, Self, 2017; and Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, 2020.

• Barbara Takenaga, Blue Silvergreen Wheel, 2007, acrylic on wood panel. This stunning abstract painting is currently on view in the Tang exhibition Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond, and was created three years after Takenaga’s work was included in the 2004 Tang exhibition About Painting.

Michael O. and Sirje Helder Gold collect not as a matter of fashion, safe betting, or recommendation. They collect from a base of more than fifty years of informed enthusiasm, visiting thousands of galleries, hundreds of art fairs and countless artist studios. They are inspired by the sheer love of art and the artists who can make it through that filter. Their careers as advertising agency creative directors from the Mad Men period until the beginning of the social media explosion is the prism that guides them. “The common thread is that the pieces have strong original ideas and individuality in the execution,” Sirje says. Michael says he has to fall deeply in love.

They have lived on both the East and West Coasts, in New York City and Los Angeles and have created a mostly happy and colorful collection that spans work from established, emerging, mid-career and undiscovered artists. A 2011 exhibition, Goldmine: Contemporary Works from the collection of Sirje and Michael Gold at the University Art Museum, California State University,

Long Beach showcased much of that work. The Golds have donated work to them and to museums across the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; The Yale University Art Gallery; Connecticut College; RISD, Providence, Rhode Island; School of Visual Arts, New York; and Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, among others.

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