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

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Crossing Cultures

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The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art

September 15, 2012–March 10, 2013

This exhibition highlights the extraordinary Owen and Wagner Collection at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, through its display of more than one hundred works of contemporary Indigenous art from Australia. These objects are by artists from outback communities as well as major metropolitan centers and span five decades of creative activity. They also represent the many art-making practices of Aboriginal peoples across the Australian continent, including acrylic paintings on linen and canvas, earthen ochre paintings on bark, board, and canvas, and sculpture in a variety of media. While the exhibition features many influential artists who have contributed to the development of an Indigenous art canon since the 1970s, the focus is squarely on subsequent generations of artists, who are breathing new life into ancient stories and broadening the possibilities of Indigenous art. The exhibition therefore also includes contemporary paintings that recall the ancestral narratives of the Dreaming as well as photographs from urban-based artists who depict the contemporary realities of Indigenous people from Australia. Resonant with cultural memory, these objects reference and reinvigorate customary iconographies, speak to the history and legacy of colonization, and affirm Robert Hughes's statement that Aboriginal art is "the last great art movement of the twentieth century."

This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art and generously supported by Kate and Yaz Krehbiel, Class of 1991, Thayer 1992, Hugh J. Freund, Class of 1967, the Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund, and the Philip Fowler 1927 Memorial Fund.

Press Release

Press Coverage: Click here to read the Dartmouth Now announcement and view the slideshow. Click here to read a preview article in the Dartmouth that includes an interview with Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art. Click here to read an enthusiastic follow-up review in the Dartmouth. Jeremy Eccles posted a feature on Crossing Cultures in Aboriginal Art News. Art Daily reposted the museum's Crossing Cultures press release, including an image of Michael Riley's work. Click here to read a review by Bobbie Leigh on the popular travel website Potter Report that calls the exhibition a "knockout." Click here to read a review in Art in America by Carol Strickland. Kyle Chayka wrote a piece for the influential New York art blog Hyperallergic that explores the contrasts between contemporary Aboriginal art and abstract expressionism; click here to read it. The local Valley News reviewed the exhibition in September; "Exhibition of Australian Aboriginal Art Dazzles the Mind and Eyes" is not available online. On October 27, Stephen Gilchrist gave a Dartmouth Faculty Chalk Talk titled "Indigenous Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Crossing Cultures."  Click here to read the Dartmouth's review of the talk. Crossing Cultures was the cover story for the November/December issue of Art New England (not available online). Click here to read Kevin J. Kelley's review in the Burlington, Vermont, newspaper Seven Days, where he writes, "The show is overwhelming in size, variety, and, often, in sheer beauty."

Podcast

Dartmouth Now published an article and podcast featuring Michael Taylor's conversation with Dartmouth Montgomery Fellow and renowned Australian scholar Howard Morphy. Like curator Stephen Gilchrist, Morphy has taught extensively from the exhibition, which, he observes, "shows the extraordinary diversity of contemporary Aboriginal art." Click here to listen to their conversation.

Radio Interview

In an interview with Australia's Radio National, Stephen Gilchrist talks about his experience curating Crossing Cultures. Click here to listen.

Video

Visitors enjoy the opening reception of Crossing Cultures.


Exhibition Catalogue

2012 Crossing Cultures catalogue cover

Edited by Stephen Gilchrist, with contributions by Sally Butler, John Carty, Jennifer Deger, Françoise Dussart, N. Bruce Duthu, Stephen Gilchrist, Brian P. Kennedy, Howard Morphy, Will Owen, and Henry F. Skerritt. Distributed by University Press of New England. Published 2012, 184 pages, softcover. Now available at the Museum Shop or through our distributor, University Press of New England.

Related Events

21 September, 3:00-5:30 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
PANEL DISCUSSION Click here for more information
Together Alone: Politics of Indigeneity and Culture in Australia
Panelists: Brenda L. Croft, Hetti Perkins, Sonia Smallacombe, Christian Thompson

21 September, Friday, 6:00–8:00 PM
Kim Gallery
OPENING RECEPTION
Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art
Join us for the opening celebration of the exhibition, featuring a performance by Oxford-based Indigenous artist Christian Thompson and exploration in the galleries.

22 September, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
GALLERY TALK
"American Eyes on Aboriginal Art"
Will Owen, private collector
Join collector and donor Will Owen for a fascinating tour of the Crossing Cultures exhibition and learn about his own twenty-year journey into the art and culture of Indigenous Australia.

25 September, Tuesday, 4:30 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
ARTIST LECTURE
Christian Thompson
Thompson is a contemporary Indigenous artist from Australia who works as a photographer, sculptor, and performance artist. Whilst exploring his Indigenous heritage, Thompson's work engages with topics that affect and move both Indigenous and non-Indigenous audiences. Currently pursuing a doctorate in fine arts at Oxford University, Thompson will present a lecture on the intersection of his current art and academic practice. Presented in coordination with the Studio Art Department lecture series.

Of Related Interest
27 September, Thursday, 4:15 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
THE JAMES AND DAVID ORR MEMORIAL LECTURE ON CULTURE AND RELIGION AT DARTMOUTH
"Dreaming the Land, Living the Dream in Australia's Western Desert"
Professor Robert Tonkinson, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, Senior Honorary Research Fellow, Anthropology and Sociology, The University of Western Australia, Perth
Now in its fortieth year, the Orr Lecture is the most distinguished lectureship in the Department of Religion and one of the most prestigious in the College. Organized by the Dartmouth Department of Religion. Reception to follow in Kim Gallery.

12 October, Friday, 7:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
AN EVENING WITH STUDENTS
Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art
Join four Dartmouth students for tours of the Crossing Cultures exhibition: Jason Curley '13, Nicole Gilbert MALS'14, Elizabeth Neill '13, and Jeremiah Watchman '11.

19 October, Friday, 5:30 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
THE KENNETH AND HARLE MONTGOMERY ENDOWMENT LECTURE
"The Djan'kawu Sisters at Yalangbara: Material Expressions of Ancestral Agency"
Howard Morphy, Montgomery Endowment Fellow and Director of the Research School of the Humanities at the Australian National University
This lecture will introduce people to Yalangbara, a sacred landscape on the coast of Eastern Arnhem Land in Northern Australia, and to the ways in which digital technology has enabled its people to bring images from the past (films, photographs, archival documents, and photographs of material culture collections) back to life in their own communities. A reception will follow in Kim Gallery.

20 October, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
GALLERY TALK
"American Eyes on Aboriginal Art"
Will Owen, private collector
Join collector and donor Will Owen on a fascinating tour of the Crossing Cultures exhibition and learn about his own twenty-year journey into the art and culture of Indigenous Australia.

Of Related Interest
27 October, Saturday, 10:00 AM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
FACULTY CHALK TALK
"Indigenous Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Crossing Cultures"
Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art
Gilchrist will discuss the exhibition Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art. His talk will examine indigenous systems of knowledge that are sustained across generations and mediated through ceremonial performances and forms of visual storytelling. Art has provided the crucial public platform through which Aboriginal people communicate aspects of their cultural inheritance and demonstrate a fundamental truth: that we are an inextricable part of the natural world.

27 October, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
SPECIAL TOUR
Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art
Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art

4 November, Sunday, 12:00–5:00 PM
FAMILY DAY
Land and Stories in Aboriginal Art
Travel across the Australian continent to explore contemporary Indigenous art. In the gallery, learn about rich and varied paintings, sculptures, and photographs that draw upon ancient stories and symbols, as well as each artist's deep connection to the land. In the studio, use a range of materials to create your own work of art inspired by these themes and artistic processes. For children ages 6 to 12 and their adult companions. No pre-registration required. For more information, call (603) 646-1469.

13 November, Tuesday, 12:30 PM
Second-floor galleries
LUNCHTIME GALLERY TALK
"Indigenous Ways of Knowing: An Introduction to Crossing Cultures"
Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art

14 and 28 November, Wednesdays, 6:30–8:30 PM
ADULT WORKSHOP
Multiple Perspectives: Aboriginal Australian Art
Over two consecutive Wednesday evenings, join this lively discussion-based program to explore the exhibition Crossing Cultures. Participants will engage in looking and writing exercises to appreciate rich and varied works by Indigenous artists from across the Australian continent. In the studio, we'll experiment with different art materials and artistic methods to further explore ideas discussed in the gallery. No previous art or writing experience necessary. Participation is limited. Call (603) 646-1469 by November 12 to register.

1 December, Saturday, 2:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
TOUR
Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art

12 January, Saturday, 11:00 AM–12:30 PM
CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP
Painted Stories by Aboriginal Australian Artists
Discover how some Aboriginal Australian artists make paintings filled with symbols, lines, and vivid colors in order to tell stories that explain the creation of the universe. In the gallery, we will use discussion and writing exercises to think about ways Aboriginal Australians express their deep connections to land through their art. Back in the studio, we will use fabric-painting techniques to explore our own connections to the land where we live. For children ages 8–12. Enrollment is limited. Call (603) 646-1469 by January 12 to register.

12 January, Saturday, 2:00 PM
TOUR
Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art

16 January, Wednesday, 7:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
SPECIAL PROGRAM
Indigenous Australian Art through Music: A Conversation with Composer Padma Newsome and Curator Stephen Gilchrist
Composer/musician Padma Newsome (The Clogs, Shady Gully, formerly of indie rock band The National) discusses and performs his compositions inspired by Albert Namatjira, one of Australia's most important artists, during a conversation with Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art and curator of Crossing Cultures. Space is limited. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. The string quartet Brooklyn Rider presents Newsome's new work on Friday, January 18, at 8:00 p.m. in the Hopkins Center.

23 and 30 January, Wednesdays, 6:30–8:00 PM
ADULT WORKSHOPS
Multiple Perspectives: Aboriginal Australian Art
Over two consecutive Wednesday evenings, join this lively discussion-based program to explore the exhibition Crossing Cultures. Participants will engage in looking and writing exercises to appreciate rich and varied works by Indigenous artists from across the Australian continent. In the studio, we'll experiment with different art materials and artistic methods to further explore ideas discussed in the gallery. No previous art or writing experience necessary. Participation is limited. Call (603) 646-1469 by January 21 to register. (This program is a repeat of the fall adult workshops.)

26 January, Saturday, 1:00 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
FILM SCREENINGS
In conjunction with Crossing Cultures, a mini film festival of award-winning movies will be screened on Australia Day.

30 January, Wednesday, 5:30 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
LECTURE
"Everywhen: Manifesting the Past, Present, and Future in Aboriginal Art"
Stephen Gilchrist, Curator of Indigenous Australian Art and curator of the exhibition Crossing Cultures

6 February, Wednesday, 6:00 PM
Second-floor galleries
BOOK DISCUSSION AND SPOTLIGHT TOUR
Howe Library and the Hood Museum of Art partner to discuss Doris Pilkington's Rabbit-Proof Fence, a personal account of an Indigenous Australian family's experiences as members of the "Stolen Generation," when mixed-race children were forcibly removed from their families during the early twentieth century. Participants will engage in a spotlight tour of the exhibition Crossing Cultures with curator Stephen Gilchrist. Space is limited to 16 participants, and those interested should pre-register with Howe Library starting January 14 by calling (603) 643-4120. Copies of the book will be available at Howe Library by January.

10 February, Sunday, 12:00–5:00 PM
FAMILY DAY
Land and Stories in Aboriginal Art
Did you miss the Family Day celebrating Aboriginal Australian art in November? Join us on this second journey across the Australian continent. In the gallery, learn about rich and varied works of contemporary Indigenous art that draw upon ancient stories and symbols. Write and draw in a Family Guide that you take home. Experiment with in-gallery art activities, and then create your own art in the studio. We will use the Family Guide from November, but a few of the studio projects will be new. For children ages 6 to 12 and their adult companions. No preregistration required. For more information, call (603) 646-1469.

13 February, Wednesday, 6:30 PM
Hood Museum of Art Auditorium
FILM SCREENING AND SPOTLIGHT TOUR
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002) 94 min.
Join Curator of Indigenous Australian Art Stephen Gilchrist for a 15-minute spotlight tour of Crossing Cultures followed by a 7:00 p.m. screening of Rabbit-Proof Fence. Western Australia, 1931: government policy directs taking half-caste children from their Aboriginal mothers and sending them a thousand miles away to what amounts to indentured servitude, "to save them from themselves." Molly, Daisy, and Grace arrive at their Gulag and promptly escape. For days they walk north, following a fence that keeps rabbits from settlements, eluding pursuers who are blinded by Anglo-Christian certainty, evolutionary worldview, and conventional wisdom.

23 February, Saturday, 2:00 PM
TOUR
Crossing Cultures: The Owen and Wagner Collection of Contemporary Aboriginal Australian Art at the Hood Museum of Art

26 February, Tuesday, 12:30 PM
Second-floor galleries
LUNCHTIME GALLERY TALK
"Recent Developments in Aboriginal Art: Continuity and Change"
Kirk Endicott, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anthropology, Dartmouth College

Last Updated: 1/4/13