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Letter from the Director: Spring 2007

Hood Quarterly, spring 2007
Brian Kennedy, Director

In a series of recent exhibitions, the Hood Museum of Art has explored the arts of indigenous peoples from around the globe. Coaxing the Spirits to Dance, currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, presented the Hood’s collections of the arts of the Gulf of Papua New Guinea. Dreaming Their Way, organized by the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C., offered a remarkable range of paintings on canvas and bark by Australian Aboriginal women painters from that vast continent. Thin Ice: Inuit Traditions within a Changing Environment, on view until 13 May, focuses on the Hood’s remarkable collections of nineteenth- and earlytwentieth-century objects by Inuit peoples from the Arctic region. It is now joined by Our Land: Contemporary Art from the Arctic, on loan until 20 May from the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. This exhibition presents works from the contemporary Inuit art collection of the Government of Nunavut, the region of Canada established in 1999 as part of a land claim settlement and now governed by its native peoples.

An exciting suite of lectures, programs, and film screenings has been organized to coincide with these Arctic exhibitions. It is our hope that they will encourage conversation, debate, and action among our visitors, to work toward greater collaboration between the peoples of the north, scientists, and policy makers as we come to terms with the implications of rapid climate change. Indigenous people have been living with climate change for a very long time, and we should listen to them before making decisions that affect the long-term ecology of the Arctic region. A traditional Inuksuk, a figure in stone created by Peter Irniq, has been commissioned by the Hood to stand outside the College Admissions Office, and it will act as a beacon in this regard for students and visitors to campus throughout the spring.

Among the exciting new acquisitions announced in this issue of the Quarterly is Bald Woman with Skeleton (c. 1938–41) by Jackson Pollock. The artist made this powerful painting in response to his visit to Dartmouth College in 1936 to see the extraordinary murals in Baker Library by José Clemente Orozco. We pay tribute to the memory of Miriam and Sidney Stoneman, whose benefaction to the Hood allowed for the acquisition of the Pollock painting. We thank most warmly all of our recent donors, who make possible so much of what takes place at the Hood.

There is much else to interest you at the Hood this season, from images of the American Arctic by Subhankar Banerjee to photographs of the amazing dance company Pilobolus, founded in 1971 by a group of Dartmouth students. As always, we thank you for your support and encourage you to join us in our efforts to inspire, educate, and collaborate by making ever better use of Dartmouth’s wonderfully expansive and eclectic art collections.

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