View the Art Exhibition with Opalka Gallery at Pine Hills

September 10, 2023 | Art & Music

Albany Public Library is hosting a new exhibition – “Tag, You’re It!” – in partnership with Opalka Gallery as part of the Art at APL program.

The exhibition features collaborative “exquisite corpse” drawings, a unique parlor game started about 100 years ago by the Surrealists, as a unique way to commemorate the library’s 100th anniversary. In France in 1925, just two years after APL’s founding, Surrealist artists like Yves Tanguy, Man Ray, and André Breton were looking for new ways of artmaking by freeing the subconscious, employing chance, and referencing dreams.

They were especially influenced by the work of Sigmund Freud and the onset of psychoanalysis. At one of the Surrealist get-togethers, the cadavre exquis or “exquisite corpse” was invented as an act of play. Using words or images, papers were folded into segments. Someone would start with a word or a “head,” then pass the paper to the next person for their contribution. In the end were curious, strange, and unsettling “figure-like” images, or phrases.

For this new Art at APL exhibition, each artist was asked to complete one of three sections of the body (head/torso/legs), in an orchestrated and “blind” mail exchange. Seventy-six artists accepted the challenge, yielding 25 collaborative drawings. Groups of three artists were each assigned a section and had to follow the mailing schedule.

Artists were asked to complete their section, cover it up, then continue a few lines to the next section for the next artist to complete their section. The only rules were to create something suitable for the wide audience of library patrons, and to not peek at the other parts of the drawing.

The “Tag, You’re It!” artists are generously donating their work, which will be auctioned in the fall to benefit the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library.

Art at APL is a curated fine arts exhibition program at the Pine Hills Branch showcasing the work of contemporary artists connected to the Capital Region and beyond. The program, which began in 2013, integrates professional artwork into public spaces within the library, enriches the library experience, and gives visitors something interesting and educational to look at while they browse the collections.

Opalka Gallery has curated six Art at APL exhibitions so far. The program is funded in part by Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.