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ZANELE MUHOLI | The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum

August 12 - December 30 2017

Other Side: Art, Object, Self

What is the “other side”? Is it the same for everyone? This exhibition, featuring contemporary artworks from the Tang’s collection, offers many “other sides.” The artists in Other Side: Art, Object, Self explore the interconnections and elusive boundaries between concepts like life and death, seen and unseen, loss and hope, artifice and truth. They use objects, materials, and bodies in provocative ways to encourage viewers to assess preconceived notions and to prompt critical examinations of the self—of national, cultural, and personal identities.

Willie Cole displays a game of chess in which players—stand-ins for Yoruba deities—attempt to reach a spiritual realm and a side of greater understanding and acceptance. Yinka Shonibare MBE presents an other side of Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray character—he, a Nigerian-Englishman, plays the leading role, struggling between the sides of physical youth and beauty and inner moral corruption. In Tim Rollins and K.O.S.’s Wintereisse, the other side of loss and sadness becomes hope. In explorations of nationality and cultural exchange, sides are sometimes indistinct. The term suggests duality—I’m here, you’re there; this is right, that is wrong—but sides are never as clear-cut as we might imagine or wish them to be.


Humans, by nature, are faced with questions of self, and many of us spend our lives constructing our identities, changing them as we grow, as we experience life. Other Side offers space for contemplation as well as conversation—space to engage in dialogue with artworks and with other visitors—regarding what we see, feel, or think when looking at art. Importantly, this exhibition aims to stimulate thoughtful consideration of ideas and beliefs, seeking vital exchanges and mutual understandings.

The exhibition—featuring sculpture, photography, prints, painting, and fiber art—includes recent acquisitions of artwork that have never before been shown at the museum, including work by Willie Cole, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Jamal Cyrus, Flor Garduño, Tim Hawkinson, Michael Joo, and Miguel Aragón.

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