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Letter from the Director: Winter 2015

Hood Quarterly, winter 2015
Michael Taylor, Director

This promises to be an exciting year at the Hood Museum of Art—one for celebrating thirty years in our magnificent Charles Moore building and for looking ahead to its renovation and masterful expansion by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, set to begin in early 2016. When the Hood Museum of Art opened, it represented the first permanent home for the College’s collections since the first object was acquired in 1772. Now boasting a collection of over 65,000 works of art with a global reach and pursuing a teaching mission that supports the curriculum in nearly every department on campus as well as more than eighty K–12 schools in New England, the museum is ready to start a new chapter in its history. The “hidden jewel” of thirty years ago will now announce itself boldly with a striking new façade and atrium, as well as galleries that look out on the Dartmouth Green. We are also thrilled to announce, in the pages that follow, a major $10 million anonymous gift to create a museum learning center for studying and teaching with original works of art. The success of our one object-study room, which sits within our storage facility and accommodates only sixteen students at a time, has propelled us to create an expansive new learning center with three distinct object-study rooms of different sizes to accommodate larger classes, smart technology, and the experiential teaching and learning styles that are a signature of object-centered pedagogy. We are honored and challenged by this momentous gift to create a space that presents unprecedented learning opportunities for Dartmouth faculty and students.

We are further honored by, and proud to announce in this issue, a remarkable gift of over one hundred works of art from the collection of the late Barbara J. and David G. Stahl, Dartmouth Class of 1947, donated in their memory by their children, Susan E. Hardy, Nancy R. Wilsker, Sarah A. Stahl, and John S. Stahl. Like our anonymous donors above, Barbara and David Stahl were great friends to the Hood and to Dartmouth and recognized and appreciated the power of teaching with original works of art. Ranging from Old Master drawings to works by contemporary American artists, this gift represents an enormous boost for teaching behind the scenes and for enjoyment by the visiting public. Many will recognize works by such renowned artists as Albrecht Dürer, Jacques Callot, Rembrandt van Rijn, Käthe Kollwitz, George Rouault, and American artists Peggy Bacon, William Glackens, Edwin and Mary Scheier, and Gerry Williams, among others. We are deeply grateful to the Stahl family and look forward to the learning and discovery that await students in the years to come.

We begin the year with an exhibition that you won’t want to miss: Poseidon and the Sea: Myth, Cult, and Daily Life, on tour from the Tampa Museum of Art and presenting works of ancient Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art connected to the mythological figure of Poseidon and, more broadly, the relationship between humans and the vastness of the sea for travel, commerce, and sustenance. We’ve extended the museum’s winter opening time until March 15 to allow the maximum visibility for this exhibition, which we know will be a focus for teaching at the College and in the community, and a draw for visitors of all ages. Also on view this winter is About Face: Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art, an exhibition curated by Dartmouth students—both Hood interns and senior Studio Art majors. It is the third in a series that began with The Expanding Grid in 2012 and continued with Word and Image in 2013. This year, the students turned their collective eye to the innumerable ways that contemporary artists have engaged with depicting their own likenesses, integrating disguise, impersonation, assumed personae, and digital manipulation as well as other methods to question the value and integrity of authorship and a coherent artistic identity. We invite you to visit and experience how such artists as Chuck Close, Susanna Coffey, Rineke Dijkstra, Wendy Red Star, Enrico Riley, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, and many others have approached this time-honored subject and continue to invent within it during the digital age. We look forward to seeing you this winter at the Hood Museum of Art and hope that your visit will be an enjoyable one!

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