Works by Victor Ekpuk
April 18, 2015, through August 02, 2015
Nigerian-born artist Victor Ekpuk is best known for his improvisational use of nsibidi, a form of ideographic writing associated with Ekpe, the powerful, interethnic men’s association active in the southern border regions of Nigeria and Cameroon. Though familiar to him since his childhood, Ekpuk’s aesthetic engagement with nsibidi emerged during his fine art studies at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria, where students were encouraged to explore the logics of pattern and design in indigenous African art forms. Ekpuk’s fascination with nsibidi during these years—its economy of line and encoded meanings—led to his broader explorations of the visual properties of linguistic signs and to the invention of his own fluid letterforms. As a mature artist, Ekpuk has so internalized the rhythm and contours of his “script” that it flows from his hand like the outpouring of a personal archive.
Ritual Cloth of the Ekpe Secret Society
April 18, 2015, through August 02, 2015
Ukara cloth symbolizes the power, wealth, and prestige of the Ekpe secret society, an interethnic all-male association, and the sacrality of Ekpe meeting lodges. Although commissioned and used by the Ekpe, located in the Cross River region at the border of southeastern Nigeria and western Cameroon, ukara is designed, sewn, and dyed by the Ezillo people in present-day Ebonyi State. The process of creating ukara cloths is laborious and involves many hands, but ultimately each cloth is highly individualized, clearly produced to be worn by a specific Ekpe person or to mark a particular Ekpe lodge. Nsibidi symbols, an ideographic and gestural system of communication, are dyed onto the cloth. The symbols’ meanings are largely guarded by Ekpe members, with more established members becoming deeply knowledgeable about the poly-semantic signs.
Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art
January 31, 2015, through July 19, 2015
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.
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
Women of Color Existence/Resistance in Contemporary Art
May 30, 2015, through July 12, 2015
Still We Rise features contemporary art from six women of color whose work embodies the theme of existence/resistance. Working against the backdrop of sexism and racism in the United States today, in its particular “post-racial” moment, these artists remind us that women of color live in the dangerous intersection of race-and gender-based forms of oppression.
Class of 1965 Photographers
June 06, 2015, through June 26, 2015
The Class of 1965 produced Dick Durrance, Dewitt Jones, Christopher Knight, Heinz Kluetmeier, and Joel Sternfeld, a remarkable group of photographers. With subjects from the Olympics to the Vietnam War, the photographs in this exhibition depict a variety of subjects from around the world, capturing the unique viewpoint of each photographer. This exhibition honors the fiftieth reunion of the Class of 1965.
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.
Exploring the Excesses of Human Emotion
April 11, 2015, through May 24, 2015
When encountering the tortured soul, one is forced to confront aspects of the human experience that are often easier to ignore. The tragedies of human folly frequently appear in literature and have captured the attention of a variety of people, including artists. Often the aberrant behavior of a troubled individual comes as the result of excess, whether it is lust for power, greed, love, or some emotion that is felt so intensely that the pull is irresistible, regardless of consequences. As artists depict these struggles, the relationship between the rational and irrational comes into play. Questions arise about the role of imagination and creativity in the face of fact and logic. Both imagination and reason have much to offer; yet both can be dangerous. The works of art featured in The Tortured Soul represent the darker aspects of humanity described in literature in order to reveal continuities with contemporary life.
A Centennial Exhibition
May 11, 2014, through May 10, 2015
Allan Houser (1914–1994) was a noted American sculptor, painter, and draftsman and one of the major figures in Native American art of the twentieth century. He often drew on his Chiricahua Apache heritage when making sculptures that depict the Native American people of the Southwest. A versatile artist, he also created modernist abstract sculptures and worked in a variety of media including bronze, stone, and steel. Dartmouth College and the Hood Museum of Art celebrate the centennial of his birth with an installation of five major sculptural works in the Maffei Arts Plaza and Hood gateway, as well as a fall 2014 exhibition of drawings in the Strauss Gallery, Hopkins Center.
Figuring the Abstract in Social Commentary
February 14, 2015, through April 05, 2015
Emblem, type, symbol, token, trope, image, sign—all of these words describe specific visual forms that represent abstract ideas through recognized shapes, colors, and figures. Many emblems contain culturally specific messages, often taken from sacred or ancient texts, the meanings of which evolve over time. Since these images are quickly legible to members of a shared culture, artists mobilize emblems to provoke certain reactions in an audience. This exhibition draws together various types of emblematic prints—primarily woodcuts—that address social problems and issues.