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Skinner Museum 75

September 28, 2021 Through June 25, 2023
In the Harriet L. and Paul M. Weissman Gallery

MHCAM celebrates the landmark bequest of the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum to the College in 1946 with back-to-back solo exhibitions: Lenka Clayton—Comedy Plus Tragedy (September 28, 2021 through May 29, 2022) and Vanessa German—The Rarest Black Woman on the Planet Earth (August 30, 2022 through June 25, 2023).


A teal background with dark green curvy and irregular concentric circular on the left side. On the bottom right, white text that reads "Skinner Museum 75: The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College."
Photo Credit: 

Mia Alcover

This exhibition series celebrates the landmark bequest of the Joseph Allen Skinner Museum to the College in 1946. Comprising back-to-back solo exhibitions of the work of Lenka Clayton and Vanessa German, Skinner Museum 75 reanimates and reorients collection objects and their stories through the these artists’ unique creative practices.

Clayton and German were invited to study the Skinner collection during a series of visits and to create a new body of work inspired by what they encountered. The collection—ranging from Lakota Sioux beadwork and a merchant ship’s carved figurehead, to 19th-century portraits by Erastus Salisbury Field and dinosaur tracks—is an impressive and unwieldy 19th century trove of over 7,000 fascinating objects.

Over the course of two years, and in the midst of a global health crisis, Clayton and German honed their conceptual projects, bringing together both well-known and obscure objects and artworks from the Skinner collection, imbuing them with new meaning and offering fresh perspectives.

This exhibition is made possible by the Susan B. Weatherbie Exhibition Fund and the Leon Levy Foundation.

Lenka Clayton—Comedy Plus Tragedy
September 28, 2021–May 29, 2022

Vanessa German—The Rarest Black Woman on the Planet Earth
August 30, 2022–June 25, 2023