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Skidmore College

Tang Museum honored for excellence in publication design

August 16, 2013

Skidmore's Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery has been honored with three publication design awards, building on the museum’s reputation for creating masterful printed pieces in tandem with innovative and influential exhibitions.

grossman cover

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM) has awarded an honorable mention to the catalogue Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary—the seventh such honor for Skidmore’s teaching museum—and a first-ever honorable mention in the posters category for the We The People exhibition graphics in the 2013 Publications Design Competition.  Additionally the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) chose the Tang’s catalogue Environment and Object: Recent African Art as a winner in the 50 Books/50 Covers competition for 2012.Caption goes here

“Our vigorous publication program is an important part of what makes the Tang distinctive,” said the museum’s Dayton Director Ian Berry. “We build a team for each project that works together to make unique and lasting books. The process includes designers, photographers, writers, and editors who are tops in their field and who understand and appreciate our mission.”

Explains Berry, “We ask how design details can reflect important aspects of the exhibition, and how can we utilize design to realize something new that expands the ideas of each project.”

Berry said that his team views the publications as “another platform for exploring art and ideas on view at the Tang—a platform that extends the reach of our projects far and wide and keeps them going for years after the exhibitions have left campus.”

The 2012 50 Books /50 Covers competition, organized by Design Observer in association with the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), continues a tradition of saluting excellence in book design that dates from the 1920s. Much has changed in publishing since then, but as Design Observer noted, “It is clear from the winning entries that designers and publishers are not just resigned to the new world but are actively challenging it. With information so readily accessible in digital form, anyone going through the trouble of designing, manufacturing, and distributing a traditional book had better be prepared to deliver something special.” This year’s honored books, the Observer continued, “demonstrate astonishing attention to craft, as well as startling ambitions to disrupt expectations about what constitutes a ‘traditional’ book in the first place.”

Tang award 2

Environment and Object: Recent African Art, published in conjunction with the 2011 Tang exhibit of the same name, was co-edited by exhibition curators Lisa Aronson, associate professor of art history at Skidmore, and John Weber, former Dayton Director of the Tang, and was designed by Barbara Glauber of Heavy Meta.

In the AAM’s 2013 Publication Design Competition, the Tang’s Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary catalogue was one of only eight books honored, alongside publications from the National Gallery of Art, the Whitney Museum, and the Smithsonian. Berry again saluted the “great work” of long-time Tang book designer Barbara Glauber. Both books were co-published with Delmonico Books Prestel, and Berry also singled out the great collaboration with Mary DelMonico and her team to get the books out in the world.

The museum earned honorable mention for its first-ever entry in the posters category. Tang graphic designer Patrick O’Rourke created a coordinated suite of posters, advertising, and election-style lawn signs that helped attract robust crowds to the yearlong series of events held as part of the We The People exhibition, which highlighted the U.S. Constitution and its significance in contemporary American life and politics.

The American Association of Museums (AAM), established in 1906, represents nearly 3,000 institutions spanning the full spectrum of museum activity—from art, history, and science to zoos, botanical gardens, arboretums, and historic sites. The annual Museum Publications Design Competition is the only national, juried competition of its kind.

Skidmore’s Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, opened in 2000, has a strong track record of publication honors. Previous AAM book awards include a first prize for Fred Tomaselli (2010); a second prize for Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress (2003); and honorable mentions for Twice Drawn: Modern and Contemporary Drawings in Context (2012), Dario Robleto: Alloy of Love (2009), Hair: Untangling a Social History (2004), and Work: Shaker Design and Recent Art (2001).

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