Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery
The Tang’s mission is to give people the opportunity to think and talk about issues that are important to them personally, and to the world at large. The museum manages this feat through rotating exhibitions—about 12-15 per year—and events that range from thoughtful to freewheeling.
Only about one in four Americans have gone to a museum in the past year; but if there were more places like the Tang, we’re pretty sure those numbers would explode. Set in a green, hilly nook on one of the most avant-garde liberal arts colleges in the country—Zazie Beetz, Evan Dando and Lake Bell attended—it feels part wooded country retreat, part abstract-expressionist think tank.
Look for art stars like Nan Goldin, Diane Arbus and Alfred Stieglitz in the permanent collection.
The elitism many associate with the “gallery experience” is checked at the Tang’s door. Here, visitors will encounter paintings, photographs, video, drawing, sculptures, even everyday objects like lunchboxes, that make them think, that they can—in some cases—interact with.
But don’t get us wrong: the Tang is dead serious about showing and discussing art, and the artists whose work is selected for exhibition visit for the opening, lectures and tours.
The permanent and rotating exhibits arrive in a variety of mediums, but they all share common threads: a deep, always witty, sometimes hilarious dialogue with the modern world.
Here, visitors will engage with issues like the changing perceptions of beauty, the evolving standards of how a “good life” is defined.
In 2020, visitors will encounter a survey of Mary Weathorford’s rich and diverse painting archive, including studies of operatic heroines and expansive, abstract, gestural canvases overlaid with neon glass-tubing.
Past exhibits have included Lives of the Hudson, an examination of the Hudson River’s impact on art in centuries past and present, and the relationship between contemporary African art and the environment. Yes, they’re all as unexpected, compelling and thoughtful and as they sound.
Events + Programming
The music series “Upbeat on the Roof,” held during the summers has become such a rollicking success, the fun often spills onto the lawn. The biggest annual event is an open house called Frances Day, named after the Tang Museum’s namesake, Frances Young Tang, held in the early summer.
To keep up to do date, you can check out the Tang’s calendar of events.
Other favorites for local families, are the year-round Family Saturdays, Tang Teen Studio and a rotating series of experimental film screenings, called Whole Grant: Experiments in Film and Video.
What makes the Tang so distinctive is its relationship to its visitors. Yes, they can come for lectures and exhibits, but they are also invited to engage with art at events. At the Tang, there’s so much more to do than look.
Kathleen Willcox lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband and twins. She writes about the culture and politics of food and wine as well as travel and lifestyle; her work regularly appears in Wine Enthusiast, SevenFifty Daily and Edible Capital District.