On the occasion of SCMA’s centennial, this exhibition asks what it means to make and continually remake a museum. Smith College began collecting art at its founding in the 1870s, but it was not until 1920 that the collection was recognized as a museum. Through strategic purchases and generous gifts, the majority of which have come from Smith alumnae, the collection continues to grow. The development of the museum’s collection over the past century reveals the institution’s evolving vision and values.
In 2019, the display of SCMA’s ancient art collection was reimagined to provide a more global view of the ancient world. Previously, this gallery’s scope had been limited to Egyptian, Greek and Roman art. The gallery now includes ancient objects from China, Japan, Korea, Persia and the Americas. Arranged in thematic groupings, these artworks span several millennia and encompass a wide range of media.
This installation, guest-curated by Dr. Christa Clarke, features a selection of African art from SCMA’s collection. They are displayed prominently on the third floor and in proximity to works from Europe and the United States, with a shared thematic emphasis on tradition and transformation. This framework highlights the entangled histories of these regions and centers African visual culture within a broader art history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, enriching the stories we tell about art.
Smith College is home to more than a dozen publicly accessible, mostly outdoor artworks that you can visit anytime you are on campus. Discover them all!
November 2020 through spring 2022
“How do you bring closure to something that lingers? How do you memorialize an injustice that is ongoing?” These are two of the questions that artist Amanda Williams asks with An Imposing Number of Times (2020–22), a multipart, site-specific artwork that explores how campus traditions create and transmit forms of belonging.
Online exhibition starting September 25, 2020