Hood Quarterly, winter 2017
John Stomberg, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director
A time to dream, a time to plan.
It started with a dream: build a museum with state-of-the-art classrooms, new galleries, and a great façade right on the Dartmouth Green. We dared to imagine spaces activated by students, faculty, and community members engaging with art on a daily basis.
As you know, that vision is fast becoming reality. The new museum will include increased galleries for art from around the world, some of which has seldom been shown before. The Center for Object-Based Inquiry will allow a dozen classes each day to take advantage of the profound learning opportunities offered by teaching with art. Everyone will be welcome to gather in the new atrium, where the museum will also host everything from receptions to poetry readings. And the Hood will have two defining facades: the Tod Williams Billie Tsien–designed building, facing north, and the original Charles Moore structure, facing south. The new Hood will seamlessly blend the old with the new, the known with the unfamil- iar, and the comforting with the challenging. In short, it will be dynamic.
We now find ourselves deep into the careful planning required to achieve that future vision. We readily acknowledged that architecture reveals the values that define an institution—hence the desire for an entire wing exclusively dedicated to teaching with art. But there are many other decisions to be made, all of which will come to define the new Hood, and primary among them is the distribution and layout of the galleries. For the first time in over thirty years, we will start from scratch. We will have sixteen empty galleries and nearly infinite possibilities for how to fill them.
In my past, I had the privilege of working with a seasoned curator who taught her interns to think of each gallery as a book and each wall as a chapter. What, she would ask, is the story you want to tell, and how will your decisions about what is included and where it is placed further that story? These are the very questions that face the team planning the new Hood—only we have extended that metaphor to the entire museum. We ask: What is the story we will tell across all the galleries, how will each gallery contribute to that narrative, and which specific artworks should be displayed?
Overall, the theme of the museum should be one world, many voices. The new installations will relish in the rich diversity of cultures across the globe and throughout time. Dartmouth has a collection that is rich in variety and deep in history, which will allow the new Hood to reflect the world through its art in ways both expected and unexpected. We anticipate ancient civilizations to be represented with objects ranging from the magisterial Assyrian reliefs to our Attic black figure amphora by the Berlin painter; European art to be centered on the great Perugino altarpiece and complemented by recent acquisitions of Renaissance bronzes; Asian art to range from Japanese prints to Korean ceramics; African nations to be repre- sented by artists who created objects to accompany spiritual practices and by a wide variety of artists who participate in the world of contemporary art; American galleries reflective of a broad definition of art that ranges from trained artists such as Thomas Eakins to the folk traditions represented by Dave the Potter; a renewed commitment to the interconnectivity between image and society reflected in galleries dedicated to the growing collection of photography; contemporary art presented in a manner that both explores the global critical exchange of today’s art world and the persist- ence of the meaningful local traditions that inform it; and, finally, a presentation of the vitality of Native American traditional art and contemporary practice.
As you can see, we are busy working to make the new Hood inviting, intrigu- ing, and complex in its exhibitions, collections, programs, and facility. Stay tuned for news of our progress on these many fronts as we move from dreaming to plan- ning and on to implementation in the coming months.