Photo submitted – Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Ike Ya, 2016, acrylic, transfers, colored pencil, and charcoal on paper, 84 x 92 inches, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College invites the public to participate in a special conversation between Nigerian artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby and U.S. artist Julia Jacquette at 3 pm Saturday, October 21. The artist talk at the Tang Museum will be one of Akunyili Crosby’s first public appearances since being named a recipient of a 2017 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, also known as a “genius” grant.

A reception that follows the talk celebrates the opening of Opener 30: Njideka Akunyili Crosby — Predecessors, which unites many works from the artist’s Predecessors series celebrating her family and Nigerian background through portraits of her mother, her sister, and the artist herself, as well as re-imaginings of her grandmother’s kitchen table. The exhibition is the thirtieth iteration of the Tang Teaching Museum’s Opener Series, an influential series of solo exhibitions that survey the work of emerging and mid-career artists in what is for many, their first solo museum exhibition.

Jacquette, the featured artist in Opener 7: Julia Jacquette — I Dreamt, and Akunyili Crosby will speak about their art practices and careers, and what their Opener exhibitions mean to them. Many of the other artists featured in the Opener Series will also be in attendance, among them Suzanne Bocanegra, Lee Boroson, Paula Hayes, Oliver Herring, Pam Lims, Michael Oatman, Kambui Olujimi, Kamau Amu Patton, Paul Henry Ramirez, Jonathan Seliger, Alyson Shots, Dean Snyder, and Whiting Tennis.

Concurrent exhibitions on view at the Tang Museum include:

  • Tel_: Intended for conversation and dialogue, study and contemplation, Tel_ is the second in a series that asks artists to imagine what a museum community space can be. Kamau Amu Patton’s project questions the changing nature of memory in the face of encroachment of cyberspace, telematics, and transmission technologies.
  • Other Side: Art, Object, Self: Featuring contemporary artworks from the Tang’s collection, this exhibition offers many “other sides” between dichotomies like life and death, seen and unseen, loss and hope, artifice and truth.
  • Birthing Bodies: The capstone project for Laila Morgan ’18, the 2016-17 Carole Marchand ’57 Endowed Intern, the exhibition explores childbirth through a feminist lens, examining ideas of autonomy, power, and liminality.
  • Elevator Music 34: Tony Oursler — Talking Light: In the Tang Museum’s elevator, a single incandescent light bulb hangs from the ceiling; its intermittent flickering correlates to the sounds of the artist’s voice emanating from a hidden speaker.

Opener 30: Njideka Akunyili Crosby — Predecessors is organized by the Tang Museum’s Dayton Director Ian Berry and Contemporary Arts Center Curator Steven Matijcio, in collaboration with the artist. The Opener Series is supported by New York State Council on the Arts, Overbrook Foundation, Beverly Beatson Grossman ’58, and Friends of the Tang.

Support for other exhibitions comes from Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at the Tang Teaching Museum, a project of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Carter-Rodriguez Fund for Student-Curated Programs; and Friends of the Tang.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 518-580-8080 or visit http://tang.skidmore.edu.

About Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Akunyili Crosby (b. 1983, Enugu, Nigeria) moved to the United States in 1999, and earned degrees in biology and studio art from Swarthmore College and an MFA in painting from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in solo museum exhibitions at the Hammer Museum and Art + Practice, both in Los Angeles, and the Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida, and has been featured at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum. Her work is in the collections of museums around the world. Awards include the 2017 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Grant; the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Inc. Grant; the Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, Studio Museum in Harlem; The James Dicke Contemporary Artist Prize Smithsonian Museum; and the Carol Schlosberg Memorial Prize for Excellence in Painting, Yale University.

About Julia Jacquette
Julia Jacquette is an American artist based in New York City and Amsterdam. A 1986 graduate of Skidmore College, she earned an MFA from Hunter College. Her work has been shown extensively at galleries and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and The RISD Museum among other institutions. Jacquette’s work was included in the first installment of PS1’s “Greater New York” exhibition, and was the subject of a retrospective at the Tang Teaching Museum in Saratoga Springs. She has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design, Princeton University, and is currently on the faculty at the Fashion Institute of Technology (NYC).

About the Tang Teaching Museum
The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College is a pioneer of interdisciplinary exploration and learning. A cultural anchor of New York’s Capital Region, the institution’s approach has become a model for university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs and series that bring together the visual and performing arts with fields of study as disparate as history, astronomy, and physics. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, the Mellon Seminar, and robust publication and touring exhibition initiatives that extend the institution’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of ideas and exchange the institution catalyzes. More information at http://tang.skidmore.edu.