Energy in All Directions celebrates the life and legacy of artist and gallerist Hudson (1950–2014) by bringing together work in the Tang Museum’s collection by a community of artists Hudson promoted in dialogue with important objects from the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon.
The Shakers are a Christian religious group originally formed under the leadership of Ann Lee (1736–1784), an illiterate working-class woman from Manchester, England. The Shakers based their ideals around community, equality, simplicity, and charity. They believed that God was equal parts man and woman and that every living thing had both a male and female component. Because of these beliefs, the community saw all people as equal regardless of race, gender, or physical ability, a revolutionary stance for the time. They were hard workers, and performed their tasks with grace and energy. Their furniture, buildings, and everyday items such as clothing, baskets, and textiles embody the Shaker’s emphasis on accessibility and on communal rather than individual expression.
Hudson founded the gallery Feature Inc. in 1984, first in Chicago and then in New York. Through his gallery he gave a platform for new works by influential artists such as Tom Friedman, Jim Isermann, Roy McMakin, Charles Ray, Kay Rosen, and Nancy Shaver. Community, spirituality, creativity, and craft are common themes connecting Hudson and the Shakers. Hudson supported artists of all kinds and made his gallery space accessible and intimate, for example positioning his office desk by the gallery entrance and providing comfortable seating for visitors. He brought many artists and collectors together, choosing artists not for their art world success but for the quality and originality of their work.
Energy in All Directions is part of a regional collections-sharing project to celebrate the Tang Museum’s twentieth anniversary that will bring together rarely seen works from the Tang Teaching Museum and the Shaker Museum’s extensive holdings.