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Past Exhibitions

Points of View

January 04, 2016, through March 13, 2016
Albrecht Durer, Saint Jerome in His Study

The works of art in this exhibition, arranged in pairs, offer contrasting positions by artists on a variety of themes: men and women, the family, war and human suffering, landscapes and seascapes, images of others and of the self. Each pair is accompanied by a single question intended to provoke further questions about the artists’ individual approaches to their subjects: From what points of view (literal, emotional, intellectual) does the artist look at his/her subject? Is the artist’s stance celebratory? honorific? critical? a form of protest? In what ways does the artist communicate this to the beholder? Art history professors Joy Kenseth and Mary Coffey curated this exhibition in conjunction with their course Introduction to the History of Art II, a survey of art and architecture from 1500 to the present.

The City as Memory Machine

August 29, 2015, through December 06, 2015

Life in the city is lived in daily patterns of mobility. Each day, most of us stroll past the same shops and cafés, or distractedly gaze across receding rooftops from the vantage of an elevated train. We often think of time spent in transit as lost time, life on the periphery of real living. But as the French anthropologist Marc Augé has shown us, traveling through the city is a practice of history and memory. Instead of life lost, cities unfold at the stop-and-go pace of a crowded bus line. Along the way, monuments to the city’s collective history spark personal, individualized memories. In those fleeting moments, as the bus rolls along, we may be struck by the memory of a childhood trip to Central Park or suddenly recall a moment of heartbreaking loss. On the commute, the past and the present intermingle in barely recognized flashes of illumination, all in the time it takes to glance up from the morning newspaper. 

In his ethnography of the Paris Metro, Marc Augé refers to the Metro map as a “memory machine,” arguing that each stop highlighted on the map indexes and generates individual and shared experiences of place. The works of art in this exhibition offer... read more

Tradition and Transformation

Twentieth-Century Inuit Art from the Collection of the Hood Museum of Art

October 22, 2014, through December 06, 2015
carved whalebone inlaid with walrus ivory, baleen, and stone

The majority of artists in this installation represent a generation of Inuit from the arctic and subarctic regions of Canada who lived fully “on the land.” Several changes occurred during the mid-twentieth century that pressured the Inuit to change their traditional life ways by moving into settlements. Although the Inuit had been trading works they made out of a variety of materials since the time of contact, new visitors encouraged them to use their knowledge and skills to create work—in stone, fabric, drawings, and on paper—that would be oriented for a non-Inuit art market.

The majority of works in this installation were made by the first generation of Inuit artists to exhibit and sell their work to new markets in the south through art dealers and cooperatives. The objects they produced are remarkable works of art, widely sought after by collectors, and now in the collections of major museums all over the world. Most importantly, the production of this work created a vehicle for preserving cultural knowledge and sustaining tradition while innovating and creating new forms of expression.

Water Ways

Tension and Flow

April 04, 2015, through August 23, 2015
Edward Burtynsky, Oil Spill #1

Water is essential to human life, shaping the geography of human settlement, modes of travel, and ease of trade. Too much water (flooding) or too little (drought) has wrought havoc in communities for millennia. This exhibition considers humans’ relationship to water, from the architecture of socialization pictured in Edward Burtynsky’s photograph of a stepwell in India to the dramatic effects of flooding shown in images of people in front of their homes from Gideon Mendel’s series Drowning World. From quiet still lifes (David Goldes) to panoramic landscapes (Ian Teh), these photographs showcase the beauty and power of this miraculous, yet quotidian, substance.

About Face

Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art

January 31, 2015, through July 19, 2015
Chuck Close, Self-Portrait Screenprint 2012

Organized in collaboration with Studio Art majors from Dartmouth's Class of 2015, this exhibition explores the continued relevance and global diversity of self-portraiture in contemporary art. While self-portraiture has traditionally engaged with direct observation and autobiography, contemporary artists have begun to question the value and integrity of authorship and a coherent artistic identity through the use of disguise, impersonation, and assumed personae.

About Face explores the various approaches that contemporary artists have used to investigate identity as a culturally constructed phenomenon and will include works by such notable practitioners as Chuck Close, Susanna Coffey, Rineke Dijkstra, Marit Følstad, Nikki S. Lee, Sarah McEneaney, Nomusa Makhubu, Bruce Nauman, Wendy Red Star, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Christian Thompson, and Jeff Wall.

Gesture, Emotion, Shape

Sources of Abstraction

March 10, 2015, through July 12, 2015

Abstraction comes from many different sources. It may begin with a concrete object, or something less tangible, such as an emotion or thought. Artists use abstraction to express that which cannot be conveyed through representation and to explore other sources of art-making. The works in the exhibition date from immediately after World War II until the present. Some were strongly influenced by abstract expressionism, and others stem from later movements, such as minimalism and conceptualism. This exhibition highlights three important sources of abstraction: gesture, emotion, and shape.

This exhibition was curated by Philip Dytko, Class of 2017, Pauline Lewis, Class of 2016, and Molly Siegel, Class of 2016, each of whom was enrolled in Professor Mary Coffey’s ARTH 71: The American Century. This course provides a thematic overview of American art in the twentieth century. Students in the class were placed into curatorial teams of three, and each team identified a theme, selected six objects from the permanent collection, drafted labels, and proposed an installation design for the exhibition. The teams presented their proposals to the entire class at the end of the term, and... read more

The Golden Age

Seventeenth-Century Art in the Netherlands

March 31, 2015, through May 31, 2015

This exhibition showcases seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish paintings and prints from the Hood Museum of Art’s collection. It includes a dramatic seascape, a still life, Biblical subjects, scenes of everyday life, and several portraits by artists including Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Hendrik Goltizus, and Anthony van Dyck. The exhibition was organized in conjunction with Art History Professor Joy Kenseth’s course on Northern Baroque art, which examines painting in Flanders and Holland from 1600 to 1700. These works touch on many of the course’s themes and the students will examine and write papers on selected works throughout the term.

Made in the Middle

Constructing Black Identities across the African Diaspora

November 15, 2014, through March 15, 2015

Cultural anthropology began as the study of people—primarily in Africa—whom Europeans had defined as exotic, primitive, and uncivilized, but many later ethnographic studies debunked this colonial mindset. Today’s anthropologists aim to reveal the social, historical, and political construction of racial identities. The works of art in this small exhibition further this effort. They represent a host of colonial binaries—culture and civilization, traditional and modern, savage and civilized, rest and west, black and white—that often serve to perpetuate systems of inequality rather than understanding of our shared humanity. Taken together, the artists here reveal the difficult positions in which people of color find themselves when trying to simultaneously conform to standards upheld by white western society and recuperate a relationship to Africa or blackness. Yet the images expose not only the potential hurt but also the excitement of crafting hybrid identities from various cultures.

Chelsey Kivland, Robert A. and Catherine L. McKennan Postdoctoral Fellow of Anthropology, and Amelia Kahl, Hood Museum of Art Coordinator of Academic Programming, selected these works for... read more

The Object World

February 06, 2015, through March 15, 2015

The world is comprised of objects. These discrete items acquire meaning through relationships and context, yet are defined by their own autonomy. To give order to the things that surround us, we create categories, which, in turn, rely upon cultural connotations that impart meaning, value, and significance. The common language of things can convey a multiplicity of ideas such as concerns, class, or interests. The audience interprets the subjects by and through the objects that surround them.

Works of art present a special category as they occupy several object worlds simultaneously. Artworks epitomize Graham Harman’s definition of a “real object” as one that has not an outer effect, but an inner one. The tactility of the object is, of course, present, but the value lies not purely in its physical qualities, but in what it evokes.

This exhibition was curated by Katie Hornstein, assistant professor of Art History, and Jane Carroll, senior lecturer of Art History, in conjunction with their class Introduction to Art History II. Students used these works of art for a writing assignment. This exhibition has been made possible by the Harrington Gallery Fund.

Dartmouth Looks at The Tale of Genji (Genji monogatari)

June 16, 2014, through September 28, 2014

Often called “the world’s first novel,” The Tale of Genji was written in the early eleventh century by Murasaki Shikibu, the nom de plume of a woman born into the middle ranks of the aristocracy. Its complex development of character and sophisticated representation of moral and aesthetic values have made The Tale of Genji the central canonical text of one of the world’s most important literary traditions.


This exhibition of works from the Japanese collection of the Hood Museum of Art showcases representations of the eleventh-century Tale of Genji and three sequels written in the mid-nineteenth century. A handscroll and folding screen painted during the early to mid-1700s offer a sense of high-culture approaches to the novel. A selection of woodblock prints demonstrates how the novel and its sequels were reworked for popular audiences.


This exhibition is curated by Dartmouth faculty members Dennis Washburn, Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Literatures and Comparative Literature, and Allen Hockley, Associate... read more


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