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Meet Hood Member vEnessa Y Acham, Member since 2008

Hood Quarterly, summer 2012

Why did you join the Hood Museum of Art?

Art has enriched my entire life. The grade school that I attended in New York City displayed art everywhere. I remember seeing a reproduction of Georges Seurat’s painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–86) on the auditorium wall. It captured the high fashion of the time, showed women in attire that accentuated their derrieres and elicited giggles from many of my classmates. It was a revelation to see the original painting at the Art Institute of Chicago many years later, when I was a graduate student studying arts management.

When I relocated to the Upper Valley in 1996, I learned the Hood Museum of Art had a Mark Rothko, a Robert Motherwell, a Pablo Picasso, a Jacob Lawrence, a Georgia O’Keeffe, among so many others. I felt compelled to become a member and support the purpose of the Hood Museum of Art. Anyone can visit the Hood and spend time with these incredible, memorable works of art. The Hood staff continues to be friendly and hospitable, and they generously share their knowledge and excitement about art.

What is your favorite work of art in the collection?

It is difficult to choose just one! Edward Ruscha’s Standard Station, Amarillo, Texas (1963) is an icon. I first saw the painting on a postcard, and I was taken by its matte and minimal colors. Standard Station recites solitude and isolation; this gas station is an outcrop in the open landscape.

Another memorable object is the video work of art Quintet of the Silent (2001) by Bill Viola. A Hood staff member once stated that many visitors give art but a few seconds before moving on. For Viola’s work, one has to stop, observe, and engage—once I spent forty-five minutes standing transfixed in front of it.

What was your favorite exhibition at the Hood?

I really appreciated Native American Art at Dartmouth (October 2011–March 2012), because it presented historic objects, celebrated culture, and embraced tradition within contemporary art, all with multiple voices.The possibility of not having these invaluable conversations is why I become upset and concerned when the arts are eliminated from school curricula. Art complements and clarifies understanding in other disciplines—there is a mysterious beauty in the structure of the DNA double helix, for example, if we know how to see it.

What programs at the Hood are particularly interesting to you?

The Hood’s programs engage many of our senses—sight, hearing, and kinesthetic. Learning about the works of art, the artists, and the cultural and historical context is fascinating as well. Another thing I appreciate is the opportunity to view and discuss art with friends, colleagues, and neighbors. We have different backgrounds, experiences, and ideas and yet we can talk about and respond to art together. These exchanges enrich our thoughts and deepen our relationships with each other.

Why would you recommend others to become members of the Hood Museum of Art?

The museum has an extensive collection and superb exhibitions.There is no requirement for membership as such, but those fees help to keep the museum and almost all of its events free to everyone, especially grade school students like I was, many years ago.

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