Anna Von Mertens studio squareEvent features artist Anna Von Mertens in conversation with Skidmore College Associate Professor of Physics Kendrah Murphy

Thursday, April 20, 6 pm

Saratoga Springs, NY (April 11, 2023) — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announces the next event in its Dunkerley Dialogue series will be Thursday, April 20, at 6 pm, featuring artist Anna Von Mertens and Skidmore College Associate Professor of Physics Kendrah Murphy.

Anna Von Mertens, whose work is on view in the exhibition Parallax: Framing the Cosmos, is known for creating textiles that explore science and history. The hand-stitched work now on view, The Day Without Yesterday, June 18, 1925, Mount Wilson Observatory, California, traces the trajectory of the stars at that specific time and place: when a Jesuit priest and PhD student at MIT Georges Lemaître visited the observatory where Edwin Hubble was studying the movement of galaxies. Lemaître would later be credited with formulating the Big Bang theory, that the universe began at a single moment in time.

Kendrah Murphy, a Skidmore College associated professor in the Physics Department, will be in conversation with the artist. Murphy’s current research focuses on X-ray spectral analysis of active galactic nuclei, which are regions at the center of galaxies that are brighter than the areas around them.

Dunkerley Dialogues pair Skidmore professors with artists in a conversation format, which is often a catalyst for new connections and understandings across disciplines, and can spark new ideas for all participants. Dunkerley Dialogues are made possible by a generous gift from Michele Dunkerley ’80.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Visitors Services Desk at 518-580-8080 or, or visit

About the Participants

Anna Von Mertens is an artist whose work uses the material intelligence of making as a lens to see science and history. She is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Fellowship in Visual Arts and a 2021-2022 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she studied dark matter as a structuring force in our universe. Her artwork has been exhibited widely at institutions including the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum; Berkeley Art Museum; RISD Museum; Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery; Aspen Art Museum; Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College; and National Museum of Art, Architecture, and Design in Oslo, Norway. Her 2018-2019 exhibition Measure presented at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University is traveling in 2023 to University Galleries of Illinois State University as well as Oberlin College’s Allen Memorial Art Museum. She received a Sloan Foundation grant in support of her current book project to be published by MIT Press in the fall of 2024 titled Attention Is Discovery: The Life and Work of Henrietta Leavitt.


Kendrah Murphy is an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of the Physics Department at Skidmore College. Her current research focuses on the X-ray spectral analysis of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). After graduating from Skidmore with a BA in physics and mathematics, she earned her PhD from the Physics and Astronomy Department at Johns Hopkins University. While completing her doctoral studies, she gained experience in X-ray instrumentation and data analysis at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and, as part of her dissertation work, developed a computational model of X-ray reprocessing in AGN that is now used extensively by the AGN community. Murphy continued her research at the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research as a post-doctoral research associate before joining the Skidmore faculty in 2010. She teaches a range of courses within the physics curriculum that explore topics such as Newtonian mechanics, electromagnetism, relativity, quantum physics, and mathematical and computational methods of problem solving, and regularly works with Skidmore physics students at all levels on AGN research.


About the Tang Teaching Museum

The Tang Teaching Museum at Skidmore College is a pioneer of interdisciplinary exploration and learning. A cultural anchor of New York’s Capital Region, the Tang’s approach has become a model for college and university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs that bring together visual and performing arts with interdisciplinary ideas from history, economics, biology, dance, and physics, to name just a few. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, and a robust publication and touring exhibition program that extends the museum’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s award-winning building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of art and ideas. The Museum is open to the public on Thursday from noon to 9 pm and Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 pm.


On View at the Tang