Summer Art Programming, Exhibitions Announced at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College
Vassar College’s Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center will present a summer of art with exhibitions ranging from the personal expression and innovation of women’s sewing samplers and a diverse and idiosyncratic display of photographs from the Loeb collection to works by artists whose lives were transformed by the HIV/AIDS crisis during the 1980s and 1990s. The main exhibition, Body Matters, is a reimagining of the recent What Now? (Or Not Yet) exhibition, exploring how bodies move through art, space, and time.
This summer, the Loeb will feature a range of dynamic programs including gallery talks, performances, tours, and weekly late-night events. “We are excited to share our extensive and imaginative programming with visitors this summer,” said Bart Thurber, the Anne Hendricks Bass Director.
The Loeb will host two curator-led gallery talks. On Saturday, June 17 at 3:00 p.m., Judy Linn, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art, will be in conversation with Jessica Brier, Curator of Photography, to discuss Linn’s unique perspective on photography’s history as reflected in the current exhibition, The Hairy Leg Or What To Do Wrong—Artist’s Choice: Judy Linn Selects Photographs from the Loeb. The exhibition, honoring Linn’s retirement, features photographs by Diane Arbus, Sid Grossman, Helen Levitt, Barbara Morgan, and others. Together, they tell a story of photography that breaks its own rules. The conversation will touch on Linn’s experiences as an educator and photographer and the collaborative process of curating the exhibition.
On Sunday, July 16 at 3:30 p.m. Dr. Caroline Culp, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Art History, will lead a tour of her exhibition Between the Lines: Innovation and Expression in Women’s Sewing Samplers, which challenges notions of women’s needlework as formulaic and imitative. The tour at the Loeb is preceded by a pop-up exhibition of samplers and tour at Locust Grove Estate, also organized by Culp, at 1:30 p.m.
The Loeb is excited to participate once again in the fourth edition of Upstate Art Weekend (UPAW) from July 21–24, 2023. In conjunction with UPAW, on Sunday, July 23 at noon, the Loeb will hold AIR: Gallery Conversation and Performance with artist Audra Wolowiec, curator John Murphy, and student curator Betsy Subiros ’25. Exploring the Body Matters exhibition, the gallery conversation will be followed by a live performance of Wolowiec’s AIR. AIR is a notational score created from extracting the commas from the Constitution of the United States of America, which are then translated and interpreted individually as breaths by the performers. This program is presented in collaboration with the Powerhouse Theater Program (www.vassar.edu/powerhouse). Light refreshments will be served. UPAW is a connective annual event, for locals and tourists alike, celebrating the cultural vibrancy of Upstate New York.
Also this summer, as part of Late Night, the Powerhouse Training Company returns to the Loeb to perform Real Human Beings, which will take place every Thursday evening in July at 6:00 p.m. Real Human Beings, conceived by members of the Training Company and composed and directed by Max Reuben, utilizes the gestural composing language of Soundpainting to create a spontaneous, ensemble-based improvised performance.
All programming is free and open to the public.
The Loeb will remain open until 7:00 p.m. on Thursdays all summer and return to extended hours until 9:00 p.m. on August 24.
Summer exhibitions include:
Body Matters - May 20–September 10, 2023
Between January and May of this year, the Loeb featured the exhibition What Now? (Or Not Yet), a critical reflection on the ways in which museum collections evolve and move us to see the past, experience the present, or shape the future. To underscore the theme of evolution, the curators of What Now? (Or Not Yet) invited a group of six Vassar students and a recent graduate to re-curate the exhibition. The new curators were tasked with reimagining the previous layout and design, highlighting different thematic groupings and interpretations while selecting from roughly the same list of artworks. As they reshaped the exhibition’s frameworks, they chose to ask a more visceral, yet equally enigmatic, question: How do bodies move through art, space, and time?
The exhibition features works from artists Andrea Carlson, Inez Nathaniel Walker, Nicholas Galanin, Félix González-Torres, Andrea Geyer, Jeffery Gibson, Jenny Holzer, Sky Hopinka, Alfredo Jaar, Arnold J. Kemp, Marisol, Kerry James Marshall, Wangechi Mutu, Dorothea Tanning, Aaron Draper Shattuck, Nari Ward, Audra Wolowiec, and Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries. Organized by Betsy Subiros ’25, Carissa Kolcun ’25, Danielle Ncube ’24, Ezra Venditti ’24, Gavriel Epstein ’23, Taara Ram Mohan ’23, and Ian Shelley ’22, Body Matters is generously supported by the Friends of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center Fund.
Between the Lines - Spotlight Gallery April 15–September 3, 2023
Offering a fresh new look at a medium traditionally dismissed as “women’s work” and relegated to the category of “female accomplishment,” Between the Lines explores how women makers from across Europe and the Americas expressed creativity and individuality from within the confines of this formulaic medium. Drawn from the Loeb Art Center’s impressive collection of women’s sewing samplers—a collection numbering over 300 objects from North and South America and Europe—the exhibition also integrates important loans from the Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie, New York. Over the course of two consecutive rotations occupying the Spotlight Gallery of the Loeb Art Center, Between the Lines features 14 different samplers from four different countries. Spanning the mid-1700s to the mid-1800s, the installation showcases visually similar samplers to demonstrate how young makers created variation within established patterns.
Apocalypse Sky - Focus Gallery February 4–August 20, 2023
Apocalypse Sky assembles from the Loeb’s collection about twenty works by artists whose lives were transformed by the HIV/AIDS crisis during the 1980s and 1990s. For many of these artists, New York City’s “Downtown scene,” long a bohemian enclave, now staged a war zone. At the exhibition’s center is Apocalypse, a print portfolio of images and texts created by artist Keith Haring and writer William S. Burroughs in 1988, the year Haring was diagnosed with AIDS. Also on view are photographs by Nan Goldin, Robert Mapplethorpe, Mark Morrisroe, and others; text-based media by Jenny Holzer and Zoe Leonard; documentary testimony and ephemera from ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power); and a loan of Félix González-Torres’s “Untitled” (L.A.), composed of individually wrapped candies to evoke the weight of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died in 1991 from AIDS-related complications. Together these works call on us to think about the role of art across both cultural politics and the politics of remembering. Together they remind us, too, that the war is not over.
The Hairy Leg or What To Do Wrong - Hoy Gallery April 8–September 24, 2023
In honor of Judy Linn’s retirement from teaching photography at Vassar College in 2023, she was invited to select from the Loeb Art Center’s permanent collection of photographs, which range from the earliest years of the medium to the present day. Selecting an array of works from those available to view online, Linn trained her keen eye on the collection to exhibit a diverse and idiosyncratic assortment of images. Together, photographs by Diane Arbus, Sid Grossman, Helen Levitt, Barbara Morgan, and many others tell a story of photography as a tool for breaking its own rules. As a photographer and educator, Linn is known to challenge conventions to find the unusual. She brings this approach to looking at images as well. The idea of rule-breaking is echoed in the installation of the exhibition, which is filled to the brim.
About the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is a teaching and learning museum, free and open to all, supporting the College’s educational mission and communities. Formerly the Vassar College Art Gallery, the Loeb is the first art museum at a college or university that was part of the institution’s original plan. Today, the permanent collection includes over 22,000 works, comprised of paintings, sculptures, drawings, photographs, textiles, and glass and ceramic wares. The Loeb strives to be a catalyst for scholarly, creative, and social justice work by Vassar students and others. It aims to reflect a commitment to broaden, and amplify, the voices represented in the museum setting, and to ensure that the Loeb’s programs and practices have a positive impact on campus and beyond.
Commitment to DEAI
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College commits to Diversity, Equity, Access, and Inclusion (DEAI) as core values across its culture, systems, and practices. We pledge to allocate resources (human and financial) to create and sustain a museum culture in which difference is celebrated. The Loeb staff is dedicated to integrating DEAI priorities into gallery installations, programming, interpretation, collections management, acquisitions, and internal processes. Our ongoing work is guided by an intention to care for all people engaged with the Loeb while welcoming the exchange of ideas, enriching experiences, and diverse perspectives through art.
Admission to the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is free and all galleries are wheelchair accessible. The Loeb is now open to the public every day (except Monday) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The Loeb is located at 124 Raymond Avenue near the entrance to the Vassar College campus. parking is available on Raymond Avenue. Directions to the Vassar campus in Poughkeepsie, NY, are available at https://www.vassar.edu/visit/tour#directions.
We acknowledge that Vassar stands upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples who have an enduring connection to this place despite being forcibly displaced by European colonization. Munsee Lenape peoples continue today as the Stockbridge-Munsee Community in Wisconsin, the Delaware Tribe and the Delaware Nation in Oklahoma, and the Munsee-Delaware Nation in Ontario. This acknowledgment, however, is insufficient without our reckoning with the reality that every member of the Vassar community since 1861 has benefited from these Native peoples’ displacement, and it is hollow without our efforts to counter the effects of structures that have long enabled—and that still perpetuate—injustice against Indigenous Americans. To that end, we commit to build and sustain relationships with Native communities; to expand opportunities at Vassar for Native students, as well as Native faculty and other employees; and to collaborate with Native nations to know better the Indigenous peoples, past and present, who care for this land.
Vassar College is a coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.