5 Can't-Miss Regional Arts Exhibitions Happening this Fall
Located just three hours from Boston and New York, Bennington College is not only surrounded by the beautiful Green Mountains, but also by a vibrant arts scene. Whether you’re living on campus or visiting for a tour, if you feel like taking a short, scenic drive to one of the region’s vibrant art galleries, here’s a roundup to get you started.
1. Allana Clarke: A Particular Fantasy at Usdan Gallery
Presented by Usdan Gallery at Bennington College and Art Omi, in Ghent, NY
A Trinidadian-American artist, Allana Clarke is celebrated for using materials such as sugar, cocoa butter, and hair-bonding glue to construct works that confront histories of colonialism and Western standards of beauty. As she stretches, pushes, pulls and molds these materials, she frees them from their traumatic origins and offers a metaphor to free herself from the violent compartmentalizations of Black identity.
Allana Clarke: A Particular Fantasy—her first institutional solo show—is a collaboration between Usdan Gallery and Art Omi, in Ghent, NY, with concurrent displays in both locations. Her Usdan installation focuses on ideas of process central to Clarke’s work, including five performance videos and a 25-foot-long hair-bonding glue sculpture produced inside the gallery; her making of this sculpture, her largest to date, is part of the exhibit.
About Usdan Gallery
Free and open to the public, the 4,000-square-foot Suzanne Lemberg Usdan Gallery is part of the Helen Frankenthaler Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) complex at Bennington College. Exhibits, events, publications and commissioned projects feature contemporary artists and new perspectives, advancing a lineage of groundbreaking exhibition-making at the college since its founding in 1932. Programming supports and is enriched by teaching at the College across the liberal arts.
2. Cabinet of Queeriosities at The Tang
Saratoga Springs, NY
Through October 16, Cabinet of Queeriosities presents art from Skidmore College Tang Teaching Museum collection using a queer theory lens to initiate a dialogue about what it means to “queer the collection.” The artworks were selected around six pillars of queer experience: joy, resistance, pain, sexuality, privacy, and community, but in the spirit of queerness, many of the artworks in the show speak to multiple of these experiences simultaneously. The exhibition takes the form of miniature re-creations of each artwork, installed in a bureau in the Tang Atrium. Visitors can rearrange these tiny artworks and interact with an exhibition journal, a library, and take away free safer sex supplies and other resources. As a whole, the project challenges conventional museum practices and the historical exclusion of queer people and queer art from the art historical canon.
About The Tang
At the heart of the Tang Museum is an ambitious exhibition program of approximately twelve exhibitions each year. The Tang originates nearly all of its exhibitions and regularly involves faculty and students as curators and advisors for its signature interdisciplinary exhibitions. These large-scale projects combine diverse objects such as antique maps, scientific equipment, Rube Goldberg cartoons, Hudson River School landscapes, and Shaker furniture with new works of international contemporary art.
Tang exhibitions probe the boundaries of conventional curatorial practice, frequently crossing time-periods and disciplines, and encompassing all types of media and objects to explore intersections between the visual and performing arts, natural sciences, and humanities in new and inventive ways.
3. Mary Ann Unger: To Shape a Moon from Bone at WCMA
Through December 22, catch Mary Ann Unger’s To Shape a Moon from Bone at the Williams College Museum of Art. Mary Ann Unger: To Shape a Moon from Bone is a full reconsideration of the multidisciplinary practice of one of the twentieth century’s great artists. Rising to prominence in the downtown New York art scene in the 1980s and 1990s, Mary Ann Unger (1945–1998) was skilled in graphic composition, watercolor, large-scale conceptual sculpture, and
environmentally-responsive, site-specific interventions. At the time of her death, Unger was a member of the Guerrilla Girls and was acknowledged as a feminist pioneer of neo-expressionist sculptural form. To Shape a Moon from Bone reexamines the formal and cultural intricacies of Unger’s oeuvre, as well as the critical environmental themes suffusing the monumental installations. The exhibition repositions Unger within and against the male-dominated New York sculpture scene in the last decades of the twentieth century.
The Williams College Museum of Art makes dynamic art experiences to incite new thinking about art, museums, and the world. WCMA is a vibrant hub for learning and participation.
From the WCMA: “We believe in taking risks and testing creative, future forms of scholarship and teaching. We leverage our intimate size, college setting, and interdisciplinary context to generate experimental, hands-on learning experiences.”
4. Tauba Auerbach and Yuji Agematsu: meander at the Clark
Through October 16, this exhibition pairs new work by Tauba Auerbach and Yuji Agematsu, across parallel galleries in the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, under the rubric of the meander, as both noun and verb, motif and method. For Auerbach, this twisting, self-avoiding line traces global traditions of ornament as much as physical waveforms and space-filling curves in geometry. The artist’s restless experimentation in a range of media produces work that is as rigorous as it is visually arresting: calligraphic drawing, infrared imaging, and large-format painting are all part of Auerbach’s complex and expanding universe.
For Agematsu and his practice of walking, collecting, and archiving, meander implies drift—both his own paths through New York City and those of other people and things. Agematsu’s handheld sculptures are like small worlds. The flotsam he finds—a foil wrapper, spent fireworks, a fishbone—interests him both aesthetically and anthropologically. Each object marks the time of the artist’s daily ritual, the space of the city, and its movement of people and things.
About the Clark
Opened to the public in 1955, the Clark has built upon this extraordinary group of works to become one of the most beloved and respected art museums in the world, known for its intimate galleries and stunning natural environment. One of the few institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with research and academic programs, including a major art history library, the Clark is now a leading international center for research and discussion on the nature of art and art history. Continued additions to the collection and the institute’s long history of collaborating with living artists and contemporary art historians ensures vibrancy and relevance in an ever-changing world.
Other recent and upcoming exhibitions include José Guadalupe Posada: Symbols, Skeletons, and Satire, On the Horizon: Art and Atmosphere in the Nineteenth Century.
5. All Exhibitions: Mass MoCA
North Adams, MA
Just a short drive from Bennington, The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) is one of the world’s liveliest centers for making and enjoying today’s most evocative art. With vast galleries and a stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues, MASS MoCA is able to embrace all forms of art: music, sculpture, dance, film,
painting, photography, theater, and new, boundary-crossing works of art that defy easy classification. Much of the work shown in MASSMoCA’s light-filled spaces, technically sophisticated stages, and within its lovely network of late 19th-century courtyards is made on site during extended fabrication and rehearsal residencies that bring hundreds of the world’s most brilliant and innovative artists to North Adams all year round.
6. Honorable Mention: Bennington Museum
Want to explore a museum closer to campus? Just four miles north of campus, the Bennington Museum presents and explores the rich culture of southern Vermont, eastern New York State, northwestern Massachusetts, and southern New
Hampshire in all its forms, from the 18th century to the present. They are the proud caretakers of the largest public collection of paintings by the great American folk artist Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses who lived in nearby Eagle Bridge, NY, as well as the defining collection of 19th century Bennington stoneware.