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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Transcending Time

Recent Works by Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson

Press Release

Dramatic Video Works by Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson Form New Exhibition

Hanover, NH--Recent works by two of the most important video artists working today, Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson, are showcased in a bold new exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. On view from January 22 through March 13, Transcending Time: Recent Work by Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson features four digital video works that create powerful statements on humanity, race, gender, and time. Both artists directly engage the Western fine art tradition in their works while embracing the inherent beauty of the filmed image. Two the four works, Viola's Quintet of the Silent (2000) and Simpson's Corridor (2003), were recently acquired by the Hood, representing an ambitious new direction for the museum's collections.

Lorna Simpson will present the opening lecture for the exhibition on Friday, January 21, at 4:30 P.M. in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium. A reception hosted by the Friends of Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art will follow in Kim Gallery. This lecture is presented in conjunction with Inside Out: Making the Invisible Visible, Dartmouth College's 2005 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration.

The artists' references to other art forms--for Simpson, architecture, painting, and film; for Viola, painting--lead each artist to a different end. Simpson's work reflects her revelation of how racial prejudices and preconceptions influence our understanding of the historical past, while Viola revisits the European figural painting tradition and its representations of the human figure. In his work Ascension (2000), a man plunges feet first into deep blue water, floats slowly toward the surface, then falls once again beyond our field of vision, recalling the iconography of the Crucifixion and Leonardo's Vitruvian man as well as the androgynous angels that populate devotional paintings of Christian art.

A shared concern for both Viola and Simpson is time. Viola's work plays with our fundamental perception of time, slowing down the moving image to a snail's pace and thereby offering an intimate experience of the figures framed within his filmed tableaux. Known for his meditative explorations of time, memory, and the human condition, Viola has stated that he intends for his work to be "useful for developing a deeper understanding, in a very personal, subjective, private way, of your experience."

In Corridor, Simpson in turn looks at the passage of time on a generational scale through the ways we construct the historical past. In a double projection of two side-by-side scenes, Simpson shows the interior of the seventeenth-century Coffin house (in Newbury, Massachusetts) and the 1938 Walter Gropius house (in Lincoln, Massachusetts). Her characters are both black women played by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu. The very fact of their race changes the perception of the scenes presented, raising poignant questions about who these women are and what social classes they represent.

Transcending Time was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, and is generously funded by the William Chase Grant 1919 Memorial Fund and the Hansen Family Fund. In addition, we would like to thank Bill Viola and Lorna Simpson, Kira Perov and Bettina Jablonski of Bill Viola Studio, the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Ovitz Family Collection, Elyse Goldberg, Eric Stern, and James and Jane Cohan for their many contributions to its successful realization. This exhibition is offered as part of the Hood's yearlong celebration of its twentieth anniversary in 2005. The exhibitions and programs featured throughout the year will reexamine the collections in new and exciting ways.

Hood Museum of Art

The Hood Museum of Art is a nonprofit organization recognized by the American Association of Museums as a "national model" for college and university museums. It is one of the oldest and largest college museums in the country, housing a diverse collection of more than 65,000 works of art and art objects with particular strengths in American painting and silver, European master paintings and prints, and African, Oceanic, and contemporary art. Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 - 5, with evening hours on Wednesday until 9; Sunday, 12 - 5. Admission is free. The museum galleries and the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium are wheelchair accessible. For more information, directions, or to search the collections, please visit the museum's website or call (603) 646-2808.

Last Updated: 12/20/12