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Check Out The Tang's Borrowed Light

Edward Weston, Point Lobos, Calif., 1939 
Photo Credit: Tang Museum

Join the Tang's Curatorial Assistant for a tour of the exhibition Borrowed Light: Selections from the Jack Shear Collection. Thursday, March 10, at 5pm. Free and open to the public.

Borrowed Light celebrates a transformative gift of over 500 photographs to the Tang Teaching Museum from photographer, curator, and collector Jack Shear. The exhibition features a selection of works chosen by Dayton Director Ian Berry in collaboration with Shear. A fully illustrated catalogue will be forthcoming.

Shear’s extensive donation serves as a visual history of photography from its inception in the 1840s to the present day. The collection chronicles different photographic processes, techniques, and artistic approaches from an early half-plate ambrotype of Niagara Falls to a Polaroid auto-portrait by a young Robert Mapplethorpe. Historic works include important examples by photographic pioneers such as Diane Arbus, Eugène Atget, Aaron Siskind, Alfred Stieglitz, and Minor White.

Human sexuality has long been a subject of interest for Shear, and his gift is rich in photographs dealing with social constructions of masculinity, the male body, and gender expression. Many of the photographs comment on the body as a physical landscape, and sexual expression in public and private spheres. Important photographers include Nan Goldin, Peter Hujar, George Platt Lynes, Catherine Opie, Edmund Teske, Bruce Weber, and Joel Peter Witkin. Many works in Shear’s collection hold significant personal meaning, making the exhibition both a look at the history of photography, and also a reflection of Shear’s collecting eye and aesthetic as a photographer himself.

The exhibition and entire collection will support research and analysis by students and faculty working in a range of disciplines, from Art History and Studio Art, to History and Gender Studies, or from Environmental Studies and Biology to Media, Film and Documentary Studies. A sizable collection of photographs by Lewis Hine, for example, is useful for investigating how images can impact government and policy. Eadweard Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion in the 1880s, represented in twelve examples, is a forbearer to the moving image. The impressive collection of astronomy photographs, includes images of plaster moons, the earliest star atlases, and photographs from Apollo 11’s trip to the moon demonstrates the integration of art and science.

Shear has a long history with the Tang; Shear and Berry co-curated the two-part exhibition, Twice Drawn (2006). This gift emphasizes Shear’s belief in the teaching mission of the Tang, and his donation will provide boundless opportunities for future interdisciplinary learning and discovery.

Borrowed Light is curated by the Tang Teaching Museum's Dayton Director, Ian Berry, in collaboration with Jack Shear.

About the Tang Teaching Museum
The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. is a cultural anchor of New York's Capital Region and a model for university art museums across the country. The Tang hosts some 40,000 visitors annually, ranging from school students to museum-goers from around the globe. The Museum is open noon – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Sunday, with extended hours through 9 p.m. on Thursdays during the academic year, and is closed on Mondays and major holidays.

For more information call 518-580-8080 or visit



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