Press Release

Museum Announces Opening of 'Machine Project - The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request)'

Event Date: 
19 September 2015
Saratoga Springs, NY
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Beginning September 19, The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College will present the exhibition Machine Project — The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request), on view through Jan. 3, 2016.

Founded in 2003 by Mark Allen, the Los Angeles-based collaborative Machine Project has worked with hundreds of artists and institutions over the last twelve years to create new ways of seeing and thinking about the world. The organization describes its mission as “collaborating with artists, thinkers, and local communities to produce non-commercial projects that investigate art, performance, technology, science, music, literature, and new ideas for creative engagement.”

Machine Project — The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request) will feature works generated by Allen and a group of artist collaborators on-site at the Tang Museum, responding to the campus and local community. The exhibition is both a reflection and a continuation of Machine Project’s ongoing exploration of collaborative ways of working. While in residence, Allen will inhabit the Tang in multiple ways: the gallery will be augmented with a theater and Machine Project offices, the elevator will become a listening station for the Field Guide to Poets of the Machine Project Region, and Allen himself will camp in a tent on the roof.

"We are delighted to welcome Mark Allen back to Skidmore College and to the Tang, and that he and his collaborators will engage with our visitors in new and exciting ways," said Dayton Director Ian Berry. "Machine Project’s approach of creating new work with people on campus and from the surrounding community fits perfectly with the Tang's long-standing tradition of experimentation and participation. That all of this will happen with a Skidmore alumnus makes our fifteenth anniversary year all the more special."

"Mark Allen has been a wonderful collaborator because he brings to the museum a kind of radical openness that allows for all kinds of risk-taking," said Rachel Seligman, Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs. "To take one example, he will be converting a section of a gallery into his office space—and he will be working there during regular museum hours. In doing so, he not only makes himself accessible to whatever public encounter will come his way, but he also collapses the traditional museum boundaries of private office space and public gallery space, thus foregrounding the participatory nature of his art-making practice."

Mark Allen is an artist, educator, and curator based in Los Angeles. He is the founder and executive director of Machine Project, a nonprofit performance and installation space investigating art, technology, natural history, science, music, literature, and food in a modest storefront gallery in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Machine Project also operates as an informal team of artists who collaborate to present work at locations ranging from beaches to museums to parking lots. Under his direction, Machine has produced shows with institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, and the Walker Museum in Minneapolis. He has produced over 500 events in Los Angeles at the Machine Project storefront space, and recently concluded a yearlong artist residency addressing topics of public engagement at the Hammer Museum at UCLA.

Prior to opening Machine, Allen was involved with several alternative arts groups as a curator, board member, and director, and co-founded the Los Angeles new media collective c-level. He has taught at the California Institute of the Arts and the University of California San Diego, and is currently an Associate Professor of Art at Pomona College, where he teaches, “Foundations of 2D design,” “Junior/Senior Art seminar,” “Performance in Contemporary Art,” and “Artist as Curator, Artist as Organizer.” He serves on the Board of Directors of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in New York, and served for three years as a member of the Artist Advisory Board of the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Allen received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 1999.

Machine Project — The Platinum Collection (Live by Special Request) is organized by Rachel Seligman, Assistant Director for Curatorial Affairs, in collaboration with Machine Project, and is supported by the Friends of the Tang.

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Cliff Hengst performs in Asher Hartman's play, Mr. Akita. Photo by Ian Byers-Gamber.

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