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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
603.646.2808
hood.museum@dartmouth.edu

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Recent Acquisitions 12

María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Cuban, born 1959
When I Am Not Here / Estoy Allá, 1994
Polaroid photograph
20 x 24 in.
Purchased through the Contemporary Art Fund; 2009.12

Investigating women’s histories in slavery and migrations through self-portrait photography, María Magdalena Campos-Pons infuses her own memories of Africa, Cuba, Europe, and America into images that address the complexity of African diasporic identities. In much of her work, Campos-Pons centrally locates her nude, fragmented, and at times reconstructed body in framed images that, like her own hybrid identity, evoke multiple historical and cultural references. Combining body painting, performance, and photography, she negotiates new definitions of blackness, femininity, and sexuality that take into account the complexities of diasporic experiences and identities. Through the constant reconstruction of her own body images, Campos-Pons accepts or rejects, maintains or transforms, culture-specific notions of womanhood based on her own rather than others’ imposed terms. Her body, like the mother figure in African cultures, becomes the vessel for new life and identity, a repository for ancestral legacies of the past and new hopes for future generations.

In When I Am Not Here / Estoy Allá, Campos-Pons covers her body in ocean blue and white wavy lines. Two milk bottles hang from her neck, obscuring her breasts and pointing toward a wooden vessel shaped like a slave ship. The image is reminiscent of both Kongo sculptures of nursing mothers and images of nursing Mammies whose bodies have been enslaved to the master’s children—or to the master himself. Campos-Pons’s body, however, remains her own; only milk—not her breasts or her body—is offered as a sacrament that sustains the memory of ancestral legacies.

 

Unknown artist, Sioux
Pictorial buffalo robe, about 1870s
Buffalo hide, pigment
90 x 100 in.
Purchased through the Florence and Lansing Porter Moore 1937 Fund; 2009.13

During spring 2009, the Hood Museum of Art acquired two stunning examples of Plains textile art to add to its Native American collection. The first of these is a Sioux painted pictorial buffalo robe, dated about 1870-80, depicting the war exploits of intertribal conflict (Sioux warriors fighting Crow warriors, who are recognizable by their hairstyles and attire). This painted hide, with figures outlined in pen or pencil and then colored in with paint or commercial dyes, would likely have been worn by an accomplished warrior, the scenes depicting his many brave deeds. It is a classic example of the height of Plains representational painting, which occurred between 1860 and 1900. A means of preserving a public record of heroic deeds (known as “counting coup”), Plains representational painting includes episodic, non-chronological narrative content (meaning that a number of separate events are depicted rather than one large battle or expedition) and is characterized by two-dimensional treatment of figures. Here, the horses’ legs are splayed out to the right and left to suggest galloping. This piece is an especially important acquisition as it represents a direct stylistic and thematic link to the Hood’s collection of ledger drawings, an essential aspect of the evolution of Plains pictographic representation.

 

Unknown artist, Blackfoot
Beaded and fringed hide man’s wearing shirt, about 1880s
Native tanned leather, beads, ermine, human hair
Length: 43 in.; width: 63 in.
Purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W’18 Fund; 2009.14

This Blackfoot beaded and fringed hide man’s wearing shirt dates from about 1875-85. Made of mountain sheep hide, this formal shirt has rare triangular elements formed from glass trade beads as well as decorative pendants on its bottom corners that are the hind legs of the animals used to make the shirt. It is trimmed with whole ermine (including the skulls) and human hair, which was almost certainly obtained from the head of an enemy. Made by a woman, this garment would have been worn by a man highly regarded in his community; only Plains men who had achieved honor earned the right to wear such a highly decorated shirt. With its colorful beadwork, classic construction, and interesting appendages, this is a visually stunning example of the Plains man’s formal shirt.

 

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Garden Paradise No. 19, 1998
Oil on paper
9 1/4 x 7 1/4 in
Gift of the artist in honor of Jean Russel Moss; 2009.15

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Landscape Reflection No. 28, 2005
Acrylic and ink on paper
7 x 5 3/8 in.
Gift of the artist in memory of Gus Russel, 2009.16

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Landscape Reflection No. 107, 2007
Oil on paper
6 x 4 3/4 in.
Gift of the artist in memory of Dr. B. Frank Moss Jr.; 2009.17

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Landscape Reflection No. 116, 2007
Oil on paper
6 x 4 3/4 in.
Gift of the artist in memory of Helen Figge Moss; 2009.18

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Return No. 41, 2003
Charcoal on paper
22 x 17 in.
Gift of the artist in memory of Karl Fortess; 2009.19

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Orange Fish Bowl, 1979
Oil on paper
5 7/8 x 6 in.
Gift of Lillian Russel; 2009.20

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Boundary No. 15, 2007
Graphite on paper
9 3/4 x 8 7/8 in.
Gift of Benjamin F. Moss IV; 2009.21

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Boundary No. 29, 2007
Graphite on paper
9 3/4 x 8 7/8 in.
Gift of Jennifer Kathleen Moss; 2009.22

Ben Frank Moss, American, born 1936
Cardinal North No. 5, 2007
Ink, acrylic, and collage on paper
12 x 11 1/8 in
Gift of Lois Moss Miller; 2009.23

At the close of the Hood Museum of Art’s recent exhibition Immanence and Revelation: The Art of Ben Frank Moss, the artist and several members of his family generously donated nine paintings and drawings that had been featured in the exhibition and complement the five works by Moss already in the collection. Ben Frank Moss served as chairman of the Studio Art Department at Dartmouth College from 1988 to 1994, and from 1993 as the George Frederick Jewett Professor of Studio Art. He has acted as visiting artist or lecturer at over seventy institutions and has had more than sixty solo exhibitions. Whereas Moss’s early works centered on the figure and still life, in more recent decades he has focused almost entirely on landscape. His compositions are often inspired by the deep space of the Pacific Northwest, where he spends summers. Rather than painting on site or from photographs, he draws from memory and imagination to creating his lush, painterly works. As Moss has said of his landscapes, in which no figures are present and rarely even a building appears, he is “reaching for an absolute, a paradise of perfection, an ideal—these paintings are about that kind of possibility of the Kingdom on Earth.”

Last Updated: 11/23/09