Coaxing the Spirits to Dance

April 01, 2006, through September 17, 2006
Art and Society in the Papuan Gulf of New Guinea



Temporary Exhibitions, Jaffe and Hall Galleries


Coaxing the Spirits to Dance is first major exhibition about the art of the Papuan Gulf in over forty years. This exhibition will explore the relationship between social life and artistic expression since the nineteenth century in one of the most important art-producing regions of Papua New Guinea. It includes one hundred magnificent art objects from the Hood’s own important collection of Melanesian art, including the Franklin Family Collection, and select other public and private collections. The exhibition features ancestor boards, masks, drums, skull racks, and personal items. It will examine the effects of colonialism on artistic production, the variation of styles among differing social structures and cultural practices, and the relationship between patterns of collecting and interpretations of art and culture in the Papuan Gulf. A fully illustrated scholarly catalogue accompanies the exhibition. Coaxing the Spirits to Dance will travel to The Metropolitan Museum of Art from October 24, 2006, through December 2, 2007.

This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. It is generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, Marcia and John Friede, the William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Hall Fund, the Philip Fowler 1927 Memorial Fund, the William Chase Grant 1919 Memorial Fund, and the Eleanor Smith Fund. Curatorial research for this project was funded in part by the Claire Garber Goodman Fund through the Department of Anthropology at Dartmouth College.

Exhibition Curator

Barbara Thompson | Robert Welsch

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Additional Information

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Exhibition subject: Oceania