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Summer 2003

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Integrating museum and classroom

Skidmore has appointed artist Fred Wilson to the newly created position of distinguished visiting fellow in object, exhibition, and knowledge. Supported by a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, the fellowship is designed to foster closer integration of the college’s academic program and its Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery.
     Spending alternate semesters on campus for three years, Wilson will help Skidmore faculty to create museum-oriented courses, incorporate exhibitions into their courses, and curate their own exhibitions. He hopes to spearhead a new model of interdisciplinary education that will use museum objects to stimulate the exploration and discovery of new ideas.
“Object and knowledge” fellow Fred Wilson
     “Fred Wilson’s ability to question, probe, and inspire new ways of thinking and seeing not only complements the Tang’s mission, but confirms our commitment to be at the forefront of museum programming nationally and even internationally,” says Charles Stainback, Dayton Director of the Tang Museum.
     Wilson is known for mixed-media installations that create startling perspectives on such complex issues as race, history, and aesthetics. For example, in a 1992 installation titled Cabinet-Making 1820–1960, Wilson displayed a crude whipping post in a grouping of elegant antique chairs. For his 1990 Colonial Collection, he gagged and blindfolded African masks with French and British flags. “Objects speak to me,” Wilson has said. “I put them in dialogue…revealing the deep insights and contradictions that have always been there, waiting to be revealed.”
     Works by Wilson have been exhibited throughout North America and abroad. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and other agencies. In 1999, he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” This summer and fall Wilson is representing the United States in the 50th Venice Biennale. —BAM

 


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