Off the Shelf


Off the Shelf is a site specific theater piece that examines the life and character of a museum’s permanent collection. In collaboration with co-creators Gary Wilson and Carolyn Anderson, theater students and members of the Tang museum staff have come together to explore theatrical paths that reveal the unique qualities and surprises within the Tang’s permanent collection.

The Shelf presents work from the Tang Teaching Museum collection that spans place, time, material, style, and subject. Displayed together on a single shelf, the objects selected confuse distinctions between “high” and “low” art, between “decorative” and “fine,“ or between work made for function or beauty. The exhibition represents a snapshot of the museum’s permanent collection—a grouping that creates new meaning about the works both individually and collectively. It asks, what defines a permanent collection of things, and what defines their connections?

There will be two shows per night at 7pm and 8:30pm. Space is very limited, so we strongly suggest reserving tickets in advance. Tickets are FREE!

TICKETS WILL BECOME AVAILABLE JANUARY 26 AT 10AM

Installation view, Affinity Atlas, Tang Teaching Museum, 2015

Off the Shelf is supported by Accelerate: Access and Inclusion at The Tang Teaching Museum, a project of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


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