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

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Wenda Gu

new wenda gu
Wenda Gu stands with his latest united nations project, the green house, which fills Baker Library's main hall, the intellectual heart of Dartmouth's campus. Photo by Kawakahi Amina '09.

unitedcoloursdetail
A detail of the installation united nations: united colors in Berry Library. Photo by Kawakahi Amina '09.

united nations: the green house

Site-Specific Installation in Baker Library's Main Hall
June 6 through October 28, 2007

united nations: united colors

Site-Specific Installation in Berry Library's "Main Street"
June 6 through October 28, 2007

forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry

Hood Museum of Art
June 6 through September 9, 2007


The Hood Museum of Art and Dartmouth College Library present a two-part installation and exhibition by avant-garde Chinese artist Wenda Gu. Part of his ongoing global united nations hair monuments project, the green house and united colors comprise a massive sculpture created from hair collected in 2006 from thousands of Dartmouth College students, faculty, and staff and Upper Connecticut River Valley community members. Wenda Gu's hair sculptures grow from his dream that through his art he might unite humanity and encourage international understanding. An exhibition of the artist's recent works on paper is presented concurrently in the Hood's galleries.

Organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, in partnership with the Dartmouth College Library, and generously funded by a grant from the LEF Foundation, the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Hall Fund, the Eleanor Smith Fund, and the George O. Southwick 1957 Memorial Fund.

Dartmouth College podcast: Brian Kennedy, Director of the Hood Museum of Art, introduces Wenda Gu, who speaks about his life in China, moving to New York in 1987, and his artistic career working in many countries to create awareness of globalization, recycling, language, and culture in what he calls our "biological millennium."

Wenda Gu: forest of stone steles
Listen to the lunchtime gallery talk presented by Allen Hockley, Associate Professor of Art History, Dartmouth College

National Public Radio's Day to Day program (December 21, 2006) looks at the making of the Hood Museum of Art's commission.
USA Today (June 7, 2007) writes about Wenda Gu's "tunnel of hair" and the artist's message to Dartmouth.
The Concord Monitor (Concord, N.H., June 14, 2007) reviews the installations.
The New York Times 's Grace Glueck writes about the installation in her article "Wenda Gu: A United Nations of Hair: Straight, Curly, Flaxen, Waxen, and 80 Feet Long" (August 17, 2007)
Vermont Public Radio Explores Wenda Gu's the green house (October 17, 2007 - Click here, then search "Wenda Gu")

Press release
Additional resources

Share Your Thoughts

If you would like to submit a question or a comment about the Wenda Gu project, send an e-mail to wendagu@dartmouth.edu. We will answer questions on a weekly basis. Your question or comment may be posted to the Q & A section of this Web page.

Wenda Gu at Dartmouth Image Gallery

See images of this major project in progress, from the hair collection to the finished installation, as well as other works that have been created by Gu around the world. All Dartmouth photographs courtesy of Kawakahi Amina '09.

Hair collection
Shanghai studio
forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry

Related Events

6 June, Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.
Opening Celebration for united nations: the green house in Baker Library’s Main Hall
Join artist Wenda Gu for the unveiling of Dartmouth's hair monument. A reception will follow at the Hood, where the companion exhibition forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry will be on view.

16 June, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Introductory Tour of forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry, united nations: the green house, and united nations: united colors with Brian Kennedy, Director. We will begin in the museum, then walk across campus to the Baker Library installation.

29 June, Friday, 4:30 p.m.
Arthur M. Loew Auditorium
Lecture
WENDA GU: TRANSFORMATIONS AND TRANSLATIONS
Brian Kennedy, Director

14 July, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Introductory Tour of forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry, united nations: the green house, and united nations: united colors with Brian Kennedy, Director. We will begin in the museum, then walk across campus to the Baker Library installation.

24 July, Tuesday, 12:30 p.m.
Second-Floor galleries
Lunchtime Gallery Talk Click here to listen
WENDA GU: FOREST OF STONE STELES
Allen Hockley, Associate Professor of Art History

11 August, Saturday, 2:00 p.m.
Introductory Tour of forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry, united nations: the green house, and united nations: united colors with Juliette Bianco, Assistant Director. We will begin in the museum, then walk across campus to the Baker Library installation.

Collecting the Hair

In the spring and summer of 2006, twenty-eight salons collected hair clippings each week from their many clients in preparation for united nations: the green house project at Dartmouth.The Hood was able to collect more than 430 pounds of hair as the result of approximately 42,500 haircuts, making this an unusually strong collaborative community project. The Hood extends a tremendous thanks to all of the salons and their clients! To view a list of salons that participated in this project, click here.

Wenda Gu: the green house

(From the summer 2007 Hood Quarterly)

A great “utopia” of the unification of mankind probably can never exist in our reality, but it is going to be fully realized in the art world.--Wenda Gu

Art is a conversation between its maker and the beholder, whether across millennia or in the here and now. Artists working today, of course, must negotiate along with the rest of us, in “real time,” life in the twenty-first century. Their work is not a window into the past but a mirror of the world we inhabit. Avant-garde artist Wenda Gu was born in China in 1955 and was a Red Guard member who painted revolutionary posters during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. His first solo exhibition was shut down by the Chinese authorities before it ever opened. He moved to the United States in 1987 yet maintains his Chinese citizenship, living and working between the two continents. He chooses to tell his story in hair--our hair.

This summer, Hood Museum of Art and the Dartmouth College Library unveil a major site-specific work of art by Wenda Gu that has been over a year in the making. It is the latest in the artist’s thirteen-year global conceptual human hair sculpture series, united nations. An eighty-by-thirteen-foot hair screen titled the green house will fill the main hall of Baker Library, the physical and intellectual heart of the campus. Created for Dartmouth, the sculpture is made of the hair of thousands of Dartmouth and regional community members. Last spring and summer, Hood staff collected hair from local salons and two "hair drives." An estimated 42,350 haircuts resulted in the accumulation of 430 pounds of hair, which was shipped to the artist’s Shanghai studio. The artist has combined it with brightly dyed hair from other parts of the world, fashioning a monument that is local in origin and global in conception.

Wenda Gu’s united nations sculptures arise from his dream that through his art he might unite humanity and encourage international understanding: “The united nations art project is committed to a single human body material--pure human hair. Hair is a signifier and metaphor extremely rich in history, civilization, science, ethnicity, timing, and even economics. [It] becomes the great human ‘hair-itage.’” Wenda Gu’s sculpture at Dartmouth will be a powerful statement about the living, human dimension of globalization and the diversity represented by our own community. The hair screen is accompanied in Berry Library by a five-mile-long hair braid in twelve neon colors representing all of the countries of the world currently recognized by the United Nations.

The green house involved an extraordinary number of people from every racial, social, and economic background at Dartmouth and in the surrounding community, all united in a symbolic kinship by the simple fact that the hair they left on the floor of a salon or barbershop is now remade as a work of art. This sculpture realizes a very special and particular integration of students, faculty, staff, and community members, young and old, and signals that art can be a truly powerful catalyst for community dialogue. It will grow beyond personal, state, or national boundaries in its final form to show us--through innovative artistic provocation--how we all might fit together in the world’s great cultural, racial, and spiritual tapestry.

--Juliette Bianco, Assistant Director

Venue Hours

united nations: the green house and united colors
June 6-October 28, 2007
Baker Library main corridor

June 21-August 27: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. (but closed July 3 at 8 p.m. and closed all day July 4)

August 28-September 25: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.-8 p.m. (but closed September 1-3)

September 26-October 28: Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-2 a.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-2 a.m.

forest of stone steles: retranslation and rewriting tang dynasty poetry
June 6-September 18, 2007
Hood Museum of Art, second-floor galleries

Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday until 9 p.m.; Sunday, 12 noon-5 p.m.

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Last Updated: 10/30/12