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New Publications: Spring 2008

Hood Quarterly, spring 2008
Nils Nadeau, Publications and Web Manager

This spring, we at the Hood are delighted to announce three major museum publications. Together they comprise the latest of our book-length efforts to satisfy an ongoing strategic imperative: to accompany every Hood collection–related exhibition with a publication.

Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body

This book addresses the complex and often competing forces behind self-presentation and the representation of others through an examination of images of the black female body from the nineteenth century to the present. Presenting such themes as beauty, fertility and sexuality, maternity, and women’s identities and social roles through a prism of perspectives, this exhibition catalogue reveals how the overlap, synthesis, and intermingling of images, icons, and artistic voices informs artistic responses to notions about black womanhood today.

Contributing editor Barbara Thompson, Curator of African, Oceanic, and Native American Collections, has compiled more than two hundred historical and contemporary images to accompany essays and statements by artists, curators, and scholars including Ifi Amadiume, Ayo Abiétou Coly, Christraud Geary, Enid Schildkrout, Kimberly Wallace-Sanders, Carla Williams, and Deborah Willis.

This compelling volume makes a valuable contribution to ongoing discussions of race, gender, and sexuality by promoting a deeper understanding of past and present readings of black womanhood, both in Africa and in the West. It has been supported by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and by Hood board member Hugh J. Freund ’67, P’08.

Wenda Gu at Dartmouth: The Art of Installation

This fully illustrated catalogue chronicles avant-garde artist Wenda Gu’s creation of two installations, united nations: the green house and united nations: united colors, commissioned by the Hood Museum of Art in partnership with the Dartmouth College Library, and one world premiere, Forest of Stone Steles: Retranslation and Rewriting Tang Dynasty Poetry, a series of large books of rubbings from the artist’s massive stone steles. Part of the artist’s fourteen-year global conceptual human hair sculpture series, the green house and united colors were made from hair collected from the Dartmouth community, combined with colored hair from other parts of the world. This catalogue demonstrates the profound scope of the ongoing united nations series as well as the creation and production of these two new works, from community hair collection to the works’ installation and the subsequent local, national, and critical response.

Contributing essayists include Hood director Brian Kennedy, Hood assistant director Juliette Bianco, scholars David Cateforis and Allen Hockley, and writer and critic Eleanor Heartney. The publication has been supported by LEF New England.

Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe

In the publication related to last winter’s exhibition, Brian Kennedy, curator and Hood Museum of Art director, explores the artist’s pursuit of multiple variations on the theme of the painted stripe, bar, and block. Scully has asserted that the stripe is “a signifier of modernism.” Kennedy first establishes some basic principles about the stripe motif that Scully has been using consistently since 1969, when he was enthralled on a visit to Morocco by colored strips of cloth used for making tents. In a detailed biographical essay, Kennedy elaborates upon the ways in which the stripe has changed throughout four decades of Scully’s art making.

Transcripts of two interviews conducted with Scully present a general discussion of the artist’s use of the stripe and a detailed analysis of the stripes in each of the paintings included in the exhibition. While there have been many books published on Scully’s art, none has been so focused on his base motif. Both the exhibition and the publication had the full cooperation of the artist.

The publication has been supported generously by Yoko Otani Homma and Shunichi Homma M.D. ’77, Judson Bemis and Carol Bemis ’76, and Judy Oxman and Thomas E. Oxman M.D. ’71. Nick Homma and Carol Bemis are current members of the Hood Museum of Art Board of Overseers, and Tom and Judy Oxman are longtime supporters of the museum.

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