Core Collections

March 21−May 19, 2024

Mark Dion (American, born 1961), Drawing on film (for red ink) for "The Phantom Museum”, 2015, Graphite pencil on film. Courtesy of the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York / Los Angeles. 2015.4.7.

Opening reception: Thursday, March 21 at 5:00 pm, Picker Art Gallery, second floor, Dana Arts Center

This exhibition wants visitors to have conversations with works of art. It encourages asking questions, getting to know an artwork deeply, bringing others into the conversation, and perhaps learning a little more about oneself. Featuring a selection of recent acquisitions that highlight Picker Art Gallery’s current collecting strategy, the exhibition models itself on Colgate’s revised Core curriculum by creating a space for open-ended inquiry, multiple ways of knowing, and generative dialogue. The artworks on display present diverse creative perspectives on historical and contemporary issues, ranging from resistance to state authority to the challenges of modernity to addressing environmental crisis. What will you add to the conversation?

Curated by Emma Barrison ’24, Cindy Chen ’24 and Wendy Wu ’25.

War, Revolution, and the Heart of China, 1937–1948: The Herman Collection of Modern Chinese Woodcuts

September 19–December 15, 2024


This exhibition, an in-depth examination of the modern woodcut movement in the decades leading up to the founding of the People’s Republic of China, will be the first time that one of Picker Art Gallery’s most singular and important collections will be shown in its entirety.

The Herman Collection of Modern Chinese Woodcuts contains over 200 works made in China between 1937 and 1948. They were given to The Picker Art Gallery by Professor Emeritus Theodore Herman, who lived in the country during this period, and his wife, Evelyn Mary Chen Shiying Herman. Professor Herman taught at Colgate from 1954 to 1981 in the Geography Department and was the founding director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the exhibition of the Herman collection is an extraordinary resource for the study of Chinese art and of pre-Liberation history. The prints in the exhibition can be seen as direct links to the historical events taking place in China in the years leading up to Liberation. Images made between 1937 and 1945 in areas controlled by the Chinese Nationalist forces during the War Against Japan chronicle the progress of the war and promoted good relations between the army and the people; others, produced in the areas controlled by the Communist Red Army, encourage resistance against the Japanese but also illustrate how Chinese society could be transformed through socialism; those prints produced during the Civil War expose many injustices amid the post-war social and political upheavals. Finally, many of the images in the exhibition present wide-ranging subjects and a variety of techniques that offer glimpses into quotidian Chinese life during this period.

This exhibition is curated by Leslie Eliet and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue