Community and activism in Tang summer shows
Tang summer exhibitions shed light on local institutions and activism
Skidmore's Tang Museum is collaborating with two legendary Saratoga institutions, Caffè Lena and Yaddo, to present exhibitions this summer, and is also offering a unique participatory project called TRANSFORMer, created to spotlight the work of local nonprofit organizations.
These three exhibitions are Caffè Lena: Inside America's Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse (through Oct. 20); The First 15: Photography from the Meredith S. Moody Residency at Yaddo (through Sept. 29); and TRANSFORMer: Platform for Community Education, Activism, and Fundraising (through Aug. 11).
Also at the Tang is Elevator Music 24 Laurie Spiegel: Harmonices Mundi (through Sept. 1), an experimental electronics work that was chosen as the opening track of the golden record that accompanied the NASA Voyager spacecrafts launched in 1977.
Caffè Lena, 1962: Bob Dylan, Suze Rotolo,
and Lena Spencer
Caffè Lena: Inside America's Legendary Folk Music Coffeehouse has been organized in collaboration with the Caffè Lena History Project, which is headed by Jocelyn Arem '04. Photographs and ephemera offer a rare glimpse of the early years of what is widely recognized as the nation's oldest continuously operating folk coffeehouse. Candid black-and-white photographs by Joe Alper (1925–68) capture the Caffè's intimate, creative environment, highlighting founder Lena Spencer and performers such as Bob Dylan, Dave Van Ronk, and Pete Seeger. Ever respectful of the musicians, Alper was known for clicking his 35mm Minolta in time to the music.
Moody Residency: "Blind Girl with Dolls" (1990)
by Rosalind Solomon
The First 15: Photography from the Meredith S. Moody Residency at Yaddo celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Meredith S. Moody Residency at the renowned artists' community founded in 1900. The residency, established in 1997 by the Moody family in honor of late photographer Meredith S. Moody, supports one female photographer yearly. This exhibition presents several of Moody's photographs and one work by each of the residency's artists to date:
TRANSFORMer: Platform for Community Education, Activism, and Fundraising is a collaborative, community-specific sculptural installation by artists Andrea Bowers and Olga Koumoundouros that raises awareness of and offers opportunities to support community organizations. The installation at the Tang, capturing the spirit of activism in its slogan "Joy and Resolve," is the fourth installation of the TRANSFORMer project.
The central sculptural element is a large modular work constructed from salvaged furniture and everyday materials, covered with a skin of graphics and laden with educational information from the participating organizations— Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center of Saratoga County, Franklin Community Center, the Latino Community Advocacy Program of the Saratoga County Economic Opportunity Council, Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson, and the Skidmore College Center for Sex and Gender Relations. The artists consulted broadly in the Saratoga Springs community before selecting the organizations.
At its core, TRANSFORMer aims to provide a public service. "For the artists, it's really about making a difference in the world," says the Tang Museum's Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs Rachel Seligman, who organized the exhibition. "Their intention is to create a spirit of activism and to increase social engagement from within the art world."
The Tang has offered a wide range of summer events related to the current shows. Highlights for the remainder of the summer include:
Tuesday, August 6, 5-8 p.m.—Joy, Resolve, & Pride: Open Mic Night
An evening of open mic music, poetry and more. Presented in collaboration with the LGBT Outreach and Education Project at Planned Parenthood Mohawk Hudson and the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council.
Saturday, August 24, 6-7 p.m.—Wine and cheese reception and Caffè Lena gallery tour at the Tang Museum, followed by a concert at Caffè Lena, See the Future: Saturday Night Sampler with Roosevelt Dime and Darlingside, 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 27, 6-7 p.m.—Wine and Cheese Reception and Caffè Lena gallery tour at the Tang Museum, followed by a concert at Caffè Lena by Antje Duvekot and Seth Glier, 8 p.m.