'Unset Texts' considers how experimentation with printed text and book pose new possibilities for storeytelling

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'Unset Texts' considers how experimentation with printed text and book pose new possibilities for storeytelling
Leslie Hewitt, Riffs on Real Time (1 of 10), 2006-2009, chromogenic print, 30 x 24 inches, Tang Teaching Museum collection, gift of Ann and Mel Schaffer Family Collection, 2017.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY.- The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announces the opening of Unset Texts, an exhibition that explores books as objects. Books are often thought of as containers for language, narrative, and thought. But what happens when we view them as aesthetic objects as well? Books can take on new and expanded meanings in the hands of artists such as Nayland Blake, Julie Chen, Robert Gober, Guerrilla Girls, Martine Gutierrez, Leslie Hewitt, David Hammons, Yoko Ono, Tim Rollins and K.O.S., and Kara Walker.

Unset Texts presents sculpture, photographs, collage, painting, prints, and artist’s books from the Tang collection and Scribner Library’s Special Collections that explore printed material in creative and critical ways. The exhibition considers how experimentation with printed text and the book as an object poses new possibilities for storytelling and artistic exploration and for engaging with questions of history, representation, and justice.

The exhibition is curated by Skidmore College Associate Professor of English Paul Benzon, with Tang Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara. The exhibition is presenting in conjunction with a class Benzon is teaching, “Weird Books,” an interdisciplinary course for first-year students to help them explore ideas and challenge assumptions.

The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College is a pioneer of interdisciplinary exploration and learning. A cultural anchor of New York’s Capital Region, the Tang’s approach has become a model for college and university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs that bring together visual and performing arts with interdisciplinary ideas from history, economics, biology, dance, and physics, to name just a few. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, and a robust publication and touring exhibition program that extends the museum’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s award-winning building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of art and ideas. The Tang is a proud to be a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active military personnel and their families through September 3. The Museum is open to the public on Tuesday–Sunday, noon–5pm, with extended hours until 9 pm Thursday.

Public events in conjunction with the exhibition include:

Thursday, September 21, noon: Curator’s Tour, with Skidmore College Associate Professor of English Paul Benzon and Tang Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara

Tuesday, September 26, 6:30 pm: Whole Grain: Moving Words, a screening of short experimental films that explore the relationship between text and image. Paul Benzon, who co-curated the exhibition, will introduce the screening and lead a discussion afterward.

Monday, October 16, 4 pm: Poetry at Work & Play: Unset Texts, Olivia Berenson ’24 leads a poetry workshop inspired by the exhibition as part of her capstone project for her 2022-23 Meg Reitman Jacobs ’63 Endowed Internship.

Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College
'Unset Texts' rethinks the book
September 2nd, 2023 - December 30th, 2023

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