20190311-mass-moca-trenton-doyle-hancock-0573-3000Acclaimed artist blends comic books and art history to create a world of his own

Thursday, March 30, 2023, 6 pm

Saratoga Springs, NY (December 19, 2022) — The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College announces the sixth-annual Winter/Miller Lecture will be delivered by acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Trenton Doyle Hancock on Thursday, March 30, at 6 pm. The in-person event is free and open to the public.

Hancock has been revered as an innovative world-builder, developing his own fantastical narrative for almost two decades. Hancock’s prolific artistic output is part autobiographical and part fictional, often centering on current events to drive his ongoing narrative. In Hancock’s world, the character Torpedo Boy functions as the artists’ alter ego who protects the benevolent Mounds from the wrath of the Vegans of the underworld. New York Times art critic Roberta Smith describes this conflict of good vs. evil as Hancock’s “epic, racially charged battles between comical color-loving meat-eating blobs and knobby white vegan villains.”

While comic artists such as R. Crumb are identifiable references in Hancock’s work, his influences range from throughout art history. This includes work by the sixteenth-century’s Hieronymus Bosch, as well as twentieth-century figures like the Surrealist Max Ernst, the outsider artist Henry Darger, and Philip Guston, who is known for using cartoonish figures in his drawings and paintings.

Hancock’s appearance at the Tang Museum is by invitation of Naima L Nigh ’23, who is majoring in business, with a minor in art history. She holds the prestigious 2022-23 Eleanor Linder Winter ’43 Endowed Internship, a one-year pre-professional program in museum work at the Tang for Skidmore College students. In this role, Nigh is charged with researching, planning, and coordinating the annual Winter/Miller Lecture.

“I was first introduced to Hancock’s work through his 2019 exhibition at MASS MoCA titled Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass,” Nigh said. “This exhibition opened my mind to the process of modern myth-making. I was fascinated with Hancock’s technical ability and creativity, as well as the ways in which his work wrestles with existential questions about the nature of humanity and the balance between good and evil. I am thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to invite such an important artist to speak at the Tang.” 

The Winter/Miller Lecture is made possible through a generous gift by the family of Eleanor “Ellie” Linder Winter ’43. Ellie Winter (1921-2010) was a generous benefactor, friend, and patron of the arts. Her philanthropy provided special opportunities for Skidmore students to learn through exposure to the arts, particularly through her support of the Tang Teaching Museum, which named its Winter Gallery in her honor. Eleanor and her family, including grandson Jonathan Winter ’07, established the Winter Family Exhibition Fund to support students as they collaborate with faculty and Tang curators to create shows for the Winter Gallery. The family also supports the Winter Internship program and an annual scholarship through the Eleanor Linder Winter ’43 Scholarship Fund. Skidmore further recognized Eleanor’s commitment by naming the Department of Art History offices in her honor.

Previous Winter/Miller Lectures were delivered by Nicole Eisenman, 2018; Chris Ware, 2019; Wangechi Mutu, 2020; Nick Cave, 2021; and Juliana Huxtable, 2022.


About Trenton Doyle Hancock

Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974; Oklahoma City) first achieved national prominence when, in 2000, he was one of the youngest artists included in the Whitney Biennial Exhibition. Since then, he has had numerous solo exhibitions, including at Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Menil Collection, Houston; Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; the Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida; The Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro; Institute for Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania; Olympic Sculpture Park at the Seattle Art Museum; and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In 2020, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston unveiled a monumental, permanent tapestry commissioned from Hancock titled Color Flash for Chat and Chew, Paris Texas in Seventy-Two. Hancock’s work is in the permanent collections of museums worldwide, including the Museum of Modern Art; the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, The Netherlands; and il Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Italy. The artist grew up in Paris, Texas, earned a BFA at the Texas A&M University, Commerce in 1997, and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia, in 2000. He lives and works in Houston.


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 institution’s approach has become a model for university art museums across the country—with exhibition programs and series that bring together the visual and performing arts with fields of study as disparate as history, astronomy, and physics. The Tang has one of the most rigorous faculty-engagement initiatives in the nation, the Mellon Seminar, and robust publication and touring exhibition initiatives that extend the institution’s reach far beyond its walls. The Tang Teaching Museum’s building, designed by architect Antoine Predock, serves as a visual metaphor for the convergence of ideas and exchange the institution catalyzes. The museum is closed for Skidmore’s winter break and building maintenance. It reopens Saturday, January 14, with regular hours, which are Thursdays noon to 9 pm, and Friday through Sunday, noon to 5 pm. More information at http://tang.skidmore.edu.

Media Contact

Michael Janairo

Tang Teaching Museum | Skidmore College


Image caption: Installation view, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass, MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts, 2019. Photo by Tony Luong. Image courtesy the artist and James Cohan, New York.