MHC joins six-college art consortium

Still from William Kentridge, Tango For Page Turning, 2012–2013. Single channel HD video, 2 minutes 48 seconds.

By Keely Savoie

The Mount Holyoke College Art Museum is combining forces with five other museums to form the New Media Arts Consortium, which will acquire and share ownership of digital, interactive, and new media works. It is partnering with the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the Colby College Museum of Art, the Middlebury College Museum of Art, the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University, and the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College.

The consortium's first acquisition, Tango for Page Turning (2012-13), is a video exploring themes of time, relativity, black holes, and string theory. The work, by South African artist William Kentridge, will be shared among the institutions. Each will retain a copy of the video, which will serve as a resource for students in a wide range of departments.

"Film and video art constitutes some of the most important artistic work today, and of the last several decades," said Hannah Blunt, the associate curator of the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. "By sharing in the purchase costs and technological challenges associated with new media artworks, the consortium enables us to augment MHCAM's holdings and our programs with material that we have not previously been in a position to collect or exhibit with regularity. It's a very exciting and innovative model for institutional collecting.”

Future acquisitions have not been finalized, but the process of selecting and acquiring them will serve to strengthen the collaboration between consortium institutions and lend to the development of the associated museums.

"I look forward to collaborating with the New Media Arts Consortium in the years ahead as we consider other acquisitions that will benefit our academic missions, develop installations, and navigate the terrain of ever-changing technology," said Blunt.

Tango for Page Turning will be showing at MHCAM in the fall of 2017, and is expected to support courses in cinema studies, studio art, dance, gender studies, philosophy, and others.

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