What’s On at the Williams College Museum of Art: Schedule of Exhibitions for Winter/Spring 2019

Press Contact: Greg Shook, Director of Media Relations, (413) 597-3401; [email protected]

Williamstown, Mass.—The Williams College Museum of Art (WCMA) announces its schedule of exhibitions for the winter/spring 2019 season, with a Season Celebration reception to be held on Thursday, February 21, at 5 p.m. This free event provides an opportunity for community members to experience the exhibitions on view, including possible selves: queer foto vernaculars, James Van Der Zee: Collecting History, Uncovering Williams, Object Lab, and New Painting.

Schedule of Exhibitions:

possible selves: queer foto vernaculars

On view through April 14

This first major exhibition about the global impact of queer identities on the evolution of portrait photography brings together works from WCMA’s collection alongside over two-hundred images from social media. Spanning two galleries and sixty-years of photography—from a 1953 candid of Jack Kerouac taken by Allen Ginsberg to Instagram selfies taken two months ago—possible selves considers the links between art photography and the vernacular forms of the snapshot and digital reproduction, and the ways global queer communities are being created through visual technologies.

Support for this project generously provided by the WCMA Exhibition & Publication Fund.

Uncovering Williams

January 31 to June 2

This semester, students in the Uncovering Williams course consider the history of Williams College and its relationship to land, people, architecture, and artifacts. The class, a joint effort of the Williams College Museum of Art and the American Studies Program, digs into the visual and material culture of Williams, including our portrait of Amos Lawrence—an early benefactor of the college—and 19th century landscapes of the region.

This focused installation is on view in conjunction with Highlights and Acquisitions from the American and European Collection.

James Van Der Zee: Collecting History

January 31 to June 2

This exhibition highlights WCMA’s recently-acquired portfolio of eighteen photographs by James Van Der Zee (1886-1983). Born and raised in Lenox, Mass., Van Der Zee served as the foremost chronicler of black life in New York City during the early 20th century. The exhibition showcases WCMA’s holdings alongside works from the special collections of Chapin Library. Together, they reflect on institutional practices of collecting while exploring Van Der Zee’s expansive practice in the genres of fine art, commercial, editorial, and documentary photography.

James Van Der Zee: Collecting History is presented in collaboration with Special Collections, Sawyer Library.

Object Lab Spring 2019

On view through May 19

Object Lab is a hybrid gallery-classroom and a space for teaching and study. Professors teaching courses from Androids, Cyborgs, Selves to Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Islam select objects from the collection to be displayed for the semester. During this eighth iteration students working in Object Lab will sketch plants in field journals, create object-costumes from a variety of materials, and make models using Geographic Information Systems.

New Painting

February 22 to May 28

WCMA’s most recent acquisition, Titus Kaphar’s monumental, Jerome, 2014, is featured alongside paintings by Monika Baer, Richard Hawkins, Barkley Hendricks and Kehinde Wiley. All made within 10 years of one another and acquired in the last five years, these figurative paintings together form an intimate meditation on the connections between personal narrative, social identity, and representation.

Season Celebration

Thursday, February 21, 5 p.m.

Raise a glass to our spring exhibitions: possible selves: queer foto vernaculars, James Van Der Zee: Collecting History, Uncovering Williams, Object Lab, and New Painting.


Animating Museums: Creativity and Authenticity in the Art Museum

Saturday, April 13, 3 p.m.
Adam Lerner, Mark G. Falcone “MaFa” Director and Chief Animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, presents WCMA’s annual Envisioning Curatorial Practice Lecture. His talk explores the role of authenticity in his unique approach to museum programming that combines curatorial, education, and artistic production. During his time at WCMA, Lerner will work with Williams College students on a public program to debut Sunday, April 15.

General Sisters: (We Will) Open With You)

Saturday, April 20, 1 p.m.

Pittsburgh-based artist collaborative General Sisters returns to WCMA to initiate another exchange of perspectives about how museums are and are not welcoming. In the second iteration of their ongoing project at WCMA, General Sisters and graduate students in the Contemporary Curatorial Workshop invite participants to add their voices to banners installed by the artists around WCMA’s building. This collective art-making activity encourages gathering and reflecting on how the museum may open itself again and again and again.

Senior Studio Exhibition

May 11 to June 1

As contemporary as it gets: senior studio art students design and produce an exhibition of their work in the final semester of their college careers.

For more information, visit

Williams College Museum of Art

The Williams College Museum of Art makes dynamic art experiences to incite new thinking about art, museums, and the world. At the heart of the Williams College campus the museum draws on the collaborative and multidisciplinary ethos of the surrounding college to enliven the more than 15,000 works in its growing collection. The museum and its collection are a catalyst for student learning and community engagement. WCMA is located on Main Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. The museum is open 10 am to 5 pm, Thursdays 10 am to 8 pm, and closed Wednesdays September through May. In June, July, and August WCMA is open every day 10 am – 5 pm and 10 am – 8 pm on Thursdays. WCMA is free and open to all. For more information, contact the museum at 413-597-2429 or visit