The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College has a new exhibit opening this week. It's called "Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond," creating dialogue and critiquing women's rights and women in politics over the last 100 years.
" 'A man may work from sun to sun, but a woman's work is never done': It just felt like it encapsulated the central idea of the show in a sort of poetic way," said Rachel Seligman, the Tang Teaching Museum's assistant director for curatorial affairs.
What You Need To Know
- The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College is opening a new exhibit on Wednesday called "Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics & Beyond" celebrating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage
- The exhibit was originally set out as a celebration of Hillary Clinton becoming the first female president in 2016, but after her loss, the co-curators re-worked the exhibition to become both a celebration of the strides women have made and a critique of the struggles they've faced
- The exhibit features 100 women and non-binary artists of different races, ethnicities, identities, ages, and backgrounds as a nod to the 100th anniversary and to keep the experiences and points of view as diverse as possible
- "Never Done" is not open to the public due to COVID-19 restrictions on Skidmore's campus, but a virtual tour and broadcasts with speakers and artists in the exhibit are available on Tang's website starting Wednesday
The idea for the exhibit was born in 2015. Minita Sanghvi, a marketing and business professor at Skidmore and co-curator of the exhibit, says it was inspired by Hillary Clinton's historic run for president.
"We thought it would be such a great sort of 'bookmark' — 100 years of women in politics — with a female president, sort of this beautiful narrative 'arc of victory," Sanghvi said.
When Clinton lost, they had to change direction. Instead of just victory, they wanted the exhibit to create dialogue and critique the strides and struggles women have faced.
"So there are lots of pieces of the conversation we wanted to have in terms of what suffrage means," Sanghvi said. "What equality means for women, how does impact women of color differently? How does it impact LGBTQ women differently?"
And the 2020 election is historic, as Kamala Harris has become the first woman of color on the ballot as a running mate.
"A Black woman, who's a South Asian woman, and people are having conversations about her ethnic identity, they're having conversations about her shoes. All of these pieces are really sort of encapsulated in this idea of 'Never Done.' We're still doing this. We're objectifying women, we're still focusing on their appearance, their family; and these are some of the things that we know research shows us hold women back," Sanghvi said.
Seligman and Sangvhi curated the works of 100 different women and non-binary artists of different races, ethnic backgrounds, and identities to represent the 100 years.
"To be as inclusive as possible, to have a really diverse myriad of voices all speaking, all sharing their individual stories, points of view and experiences," So that the space becomes this kind of incredible dialogue and a space that the visitor can then come into and engage in that dialogue," Seligman said.
Engaging in that dialogue is also a little different this year because the Tang Museum is only open to students at staff at Skidmore due to COVID-19. But that's not all, because right now the gallery space is being used as an extra classroom to help accommodate social distancing measures. Up to 30 students in five classes are meeting there weekly.
"We installed a portion of the show in this space so that we could actually work with some of those classes to talk about these issues, now we're having this moment that is really quite wonderful ... where they're giving us feedback about what they as possible ways to rehang the show and that kind of exploration and experimentation using the space as a kind of laboratory for teaching and learning is really exciting for us," Seligman said.
Only about half of the show is currently hung in the space, with the remainder of the show hopefully going up soon. Seligman says they hope to have it open to the public.
The Never Done exhibit, as well as a co-exhibit about women in politics of Skidmore College, both open on Wednesday, Sept. 17, beginning with a special celebration of Constitution Day.
Both exhibits are available for virtual tours beginning Wednesday on the Tang Museum's website. All speakers and dialogue with artists will also be broadcast there. You can find more information about it, a calendar of events, and more about the artists involved here.