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Letter from the Director: Summer 2015

Hood Quarterly, summer 2015
Juliette Bianco, Interim Director

Human nature sometimes seems most puzzling when we attempt to reconcile the mounting interconnectedness of the planet’s social, political, economic, environmental, and technological systems with daily news of acts of violence, prejudice, and misunderstanding. The visual arts can help us in this effort: images such as Therese Ritchie’s Andrew Galitju Burarrwanga and Mulung Yunupingu, for example, focus on the importance of personal relationships—across generations and with the landscape and other species—to build a healthy society of mutual reliance. This photograph is part of the current exhibition Water Ways: Tension and Flow, which explores humans’ physical and psychological dependency on water for survival—and, by extension, the fragility of our interconnected world.

The contents of this summer’s Quarterly demonstrate how the Hood Museum of Art articulates its commitment to contributing to the global community: by acquiring, exhibiting, and encouraging inquiry into works of art that join, broaden, or challenge our worldviews. For example, Victor Ekpuk, whose recent work is currently on view in the exhibition Auto-Graphics, explores the role of memory in binding personal and collective histories. The museum also recently acquired two important works in mixed media—Benny Andrews’s Witness (1968) and Chike Obeagu’s City Scape and City Dwellers (2015)—that are quite different in subject matter but aligned by artists who use their role to testify about the human condition in one place at one time and
 all places at all times.

Teachers and students work together every day to find new ways to understand the world. At the Hood, this becomes a three-way conversation, with works of art as the other participant. One recent Engineering 2 course incorporated the technology of 3-D printing to make a replica of a pair of early twentieth-century Inuit snow goggles from the museum’s collection to better understand them as a utilitarian object. Although the original object cannot be handled or worn, an exact replica certainly can, and with those goggles secured around her head, the student is united with their original wearer through a shared experience that does no harm to the preserved object. Likewise, area K–12 teachers are currently working with Hood staff members and Dartmouth student interns to develop new resources for teaching with the museum’s Native American art collection across their curricula as part of the museum’s multi-year Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant to digitize and catalogue this collection. Their efforts will in turn benefit all visitors to the Hood’s website as this information becomes available online.

Finally, I want to recognize the sustaining connections that we enjoy at the Hood Museum of Art with all of our visitors and museum members. As reunions bring former Dartmouth students and their families from all over the globe back to Hanover this June, we warmly thank alumni for the gift of support and patronage. In particular, we wish to thank the Class of 1955, who completed a major fundraising campaign to support the acquisition of two works of American art in honor of their sixtieth reunion—a beautiful mid-nineteenth-century painting of a tannery in the Catskills attributed to Hudson River School artist William Hart, and an 1871 photograph set in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River by Timothy O’Sullivan, pioneering photographer of the West.

We invite you to visit often this summer, participate in a program, and learn from each other and the provocative works of art on view!

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