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Summer Arts Preview

Posted: 05/29/2012

Having just bid farewell to the Class of 2012, Skidmore now says “welcome” to summer and all the programs and special guests this sweet, short season brings to campus.

A feast for the eyes and ears, summer at Skidmore offers a wide variety of programs, many of which have become seasonal traditions that strengthen town-gown connections by presenting public performances and readings for wide audiences. A true bounty is in store.

An online version of the College's Summer Series '12 brochure can be found here. Detailed day-by-day event listings can be found here.

Theater, Dance, Readings, and More

SITI Company, under the direction of theater innovator Anne Bogart, is first up and returns for its 20th year. A total of 60 stage artists from throughout the world will be in residence for four weeks, with a calendar that includes public workshops and demonstrations. Back-to-back student theater showings are scheduled in Bernhard Theater’s Black Box on Thursday and Friday nights, June 21 and 22, at 7 p.m.

Next to begin is the Summer Dance Workshop, an intensive workshop for pre-professional and professional dancers that will run from June 3 to 23.  Led by Bill T. Jones, Janet Wong, and members of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, the program intersects neatly with the sixth annual city-wide SaratogaArtsFest as the company takes the stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center Thursday, June 7.  

Toward the end of June two longstanding summer programs—the Skidmore Jazz Institute and the New York State Summer Writers Institute—will settle in for their residencies. Each program has a tradition of intensive classroom work coupled with public events that always draw big crowds to campus.

Since 1987, the Jazz Institute has developed a reputation as a premier program for jazz study with renowned mentors. The institute is also known for its wildly popular free concerts by guest artists, which this year include the Terence Blanchard Quartet (Tuesday, June 27, 8 p.m.), the Skidmore Faculty Sextet (Thursday, June 28, 8 p.m. and Thursday, July 5, 8 p.m.), and the Joe Lovano and Dave Douglas Quintet (Tuesday, July 3, 8 p.m.).

Equally popular is the Writers Institute, which has called Skidmore home for a quarter century. The readings and discussions by the institute’s world-class authors (including Joyce Carol Oates, Phillip Lopate, Elizabeth Benedict, Louise Gluck, Jorie Graham, Russell Banks, among others) give audiences a chance to preview new work and to hear about the writing process in an intimate, congenial setting.

Music, and Skidmore’s stunning Arthur Zankel Music Center, are key ingredients throughout the season thanks to July’s Skidmore Summer Flute Institute (led by faculty member Jan Vinci, senior artist-in-residence) and the Saratoga Harp Colony, which gets under way Aug. 5. 


Skidmore and SaratogaArtsFest

As a member of the Alliance of Arts Partners, Skidmore plays a major role in SaratogaArtsFest, an annual four-day festival that celebrates the arts in its many forms – dance, film, literary, music, theatre and visual.  Festival programming encompasses emerging and established local, national and international artists at performance venues and exhibit spaces throughout downtown Saratoga Springs, neighboring cities,  and the Skidmore campus. Together, the collaborative nature of the festival and its arts partners enhance the arts landscape and encourage increased cultural tourism in the region.

The following ArtsFest events will take place on the Skidmore campus:

Friday, June 9

Saturday, June 10

  • A talk at the Tang Museum and Art Gallery Saturday afternoon by sound artist Doug Van Nort, whose “Constellate” – opening June 9 – turns the Tang elevator into a resonant sound-producing body;

  • A performance Saturday afternoon at the Zankel Music Center by the Albany Symphony Orchestra Brass Quintet;

  • An encore presentation at the Zankel Music Center Saturday night of the critically acclaimed April 15 concert, “Keeping Company with Cage,” a program of sound, dance, and music to celebrate the centennial of the birth of composer John Cage.

Sunday, June 11

  • A concert Sunday afternoon at the Zankel Music Center by the Saratoga Chamber Players featuring the works of VonDittersdorf, Onslow, and Dvorak.

  • A multimedia dance journey in the Dance Theater on Sunday afternoon titled “HaMapah-The Map” -- that traces the intersections of dancer Adam McKinney's African American, Native American, and Jewish heritages.


At the Tang

Three exhibitions opening Thursday, May 31 at the Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery feature works from the Tang’s collection as well as that of contemporary art collectors Ann and Mel Schaffer.

Hearing Pictures, which runs through December 30, invites visitors to both look at and “listen to” artwork. “The idea is to imagine auditory worlds in silent images,” says Tang Curatorial Assistant Megan Hyde, who organized the show. Arranged to evoke a musical score, the works – drawn from the Tang Collection and featuring work by artists deeply invested in the relationship between sound and vision -- embody sounds from thunderous blasts to barely audible whispers. Some evoke sound through abstract compositions of line, form, and color that produce the feeling or mood of a sound, while others depict scenes and actions that we know generate sounds—images of rushing water, an explosion, or people playing musical instruments.

Visitors will be able to create sounds they “hear” in a particular artwork using a small recording set-up in the gallery, which will play back on the Tang’s website. Events over the course of the exhibition will bring a range of regional musicians to perform at the museum, using the artworks as their score. These various recorded responses will become material for a piece in the Tang’s Elevator Music series.

From May 31 through June 10, the Tang will feature important works of contemporary art in RIOT: Selection from the Ann and Mel Schaffer Collection. Skidmore alumna Ann Schapps Schaffer and her husband, Mel, have been collecting contemporary art for over 40 years. This selection from their extensive collection includes drawings, photographs, and sculpture from such leading artists as John Baldessari, John Chamberlain, Robert Gober, Vik Muniz, and Cindy Sherman. At the thematic center of the exhibit is Arnold Odermatt’s crashed Volkswagen photograph Stansstad (1958). A Swiss traffic policeman, Odermatt photographed hundreds of car wrecks, taking both the official photographs and a second set for himself—eerie, carefully composed images that, in their combination of formal precision and violent imagery, reveal scenes of discomfiting beauty.

Also opening on May 31 and running through the end of July is Twisted Domestic, a student-curated exhibition that investigates our complex relationships with home. Exploring how the home can be a site of charged relationships, some of the works on view address aspects of loss, longing, and disappointment. Others transform common household objects to recapture the quirks and distortions of childhood imagination. Installed on the Tang’s mezzanine, Twisted Domestic includes works from the museum’s collection by Marek Cecula, Julia Jacquette, Robert Lazzarini, Michael Mode, George Segal, Dean Snyder, George Stoll, and Jil Weinstock. The exhibition is curated by Alexander Unkovic, Class of 2012, the Tang’s Eleanor Linder Winter Intern.