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Skidmore College
Art History

The Alfred Z. Solomon Residency

The Alfred Z. Solomon Residency Fund was established by a bequest to Skidmore College in 2005. It supports short- and long-term residencies in the Art History and Art departments, bringing notable scholars, artists, and critics to classrooms, studios, and the Tang Museum. Residencies address a wide range of issues in the visual arts and feature varied opportunities for both formal and informal interaction.

This program brings an innovative and vital dimension to the visual arts at Skidmore and fosters exciting collaboration among faculty, students and museum staff.


The 2023-2024 academic year Solomon Residency hosted Dr. Siddhartha V. Shah, the John Wieland 1958 Director of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, and Pakistani American fiber sculpture and installation artist Ruby Chishti.

Shah critically analyzed the Vicereine of India Mary Curzon's ornate ball gown from 1902, and navigated how the dress transforms her body into a site of juxtaposed opulence and instability for both the dress and the British Raj. While exploring how Curzon's dress connects with the human desire to prevent decay, he connected Curzon's failing health with the British rule's decline. Following his lecture, Shah led a conversation with Chishti. 

Chishti also led a textile workshop, which explored relationships to clothing as an intervention in the fast fashion era, and also raised questions regarding the value, preservation, and elevation of earth's resources.  Additionally, the workshop investigated the possibilities of building connections with people we've never met, as well as people we've loved and lost, through sartorial meanings.

Mary Curzon's dressRuby Chishti

Mary Curzon's "Peacock Dress," 1903 (left) and The Present is a Ruin Without the People, Chishti, 2016, Sound installation, recycled textile, doll’s clothing, wire mesh, thread, wood, embellishment, metal scrapes, archival glue, 208 x 325 x 30cm (right)