Letter from the Director: Winter 2008

Posted on January 01, 2008 by Kristin Swan

Hood Quarterly, winter 2008
Brian Kennedy, Director

Winter presents a series of exciting exhibitions at the Hood Museum of Art to warm our spirit of imagination and creativity. Sean Scully: The Art of the Stripe offers a study of the ways a great painter can take seemingly limited subject matter and transform it into an endlessly fruitful lifelong examination. We are indebted to Sean Scully for working so generously to help us engage our audiences about the joys of abstract painting and the intricacies of its visual language. This single venue show, presented over the entire upper floor of the museum, offers a color-filled and expansive journey through the four-decade output of one of the most admired painters of our time. We are most grateful to the private lenders and museum collections who contributed their treasured paintings to this magnificent show, and to Hood board member Shunichi Homma M.D., Class of 1977, and Yoko Otani Homma for their generous support of the exhibition.

Passion for Form takes us to the ancient art of Southeast Asia and its many traditions of form and design. The inspiration for much of our contemporary world of design is apparent in so many of the magnificent objects from the private collection of Dartmouth alumnus Barry MacLean '60, Th '61, and his wife, Mary Ann, who have been longtime supporters of the Hood Museum of Art. We are delighted to have the opportunity to show their collection within the Gutman and Kim Galleries, where the many beautiful objects will have the wonderful company of Dartmouth's sculptural reliefs from the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud in ancient Assyria (contemporary Iraq).

In the 1970s, Dartmouth College renewed its commitment to its founding traditions as a school for the education of Native Americans. The College has already realized its intention of having at least 3 percent of its student population be Native American, one of the highest concentrations at any institution of higher learning in the country. Two recent art initiatives have underscored the College and the Hood's commitment to Native American Studies. A fine life-sized bronze-plated steel sculpture, Peaceful Serenity, by former Dartmouth artist-in-residence and renowned sculptor Allan Houser, was installed on campus last October on the grounds beside the Native American House. The funds to purchase the sculpture were donated by Alice Kean and David R. W. Raynolds '49, and we are most appreciative of their support. The Mark Lansburgh Collection of Native American Ledger Drawings, recently purchased from its collector, a Dartmouth classmate of David Raynolds in 1949, will significantly transform Dartmouth's ability to present works of art as teaching material for Native American Studies. These 101 autobiographical and narrative drawings, made on the paper of ledger account books in the later nineteenth century, tell of daily activities on the reservation, the lifestyles of enforced captivity, and the poverty and trauma caused by the suppression of Native American peoples. We are truly appreciative of Mark Lansburgh's desire to have his collection housed at Dartmouth College. The acquisition was made possible through the personal commitment of College President James Wright and Provost Barry Scherr, who have assisted the Hood with decisive contributions to support it.

The Hood Museum of Art is most fortunate to enjoy the dedication and commitment of its terrific staff, generous donors, and ever-growing community membership. Our objective is to provide as many opportunities as we can, free of charge, to our many visitors from the campus and the wider community, to make use of the museum's collections for teaching and research. If you are not already a Museum Member, please consider joining us. Have a great winter and enjoy many visits to your Hood Museum of Art!

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Written January 01, 2008 by Kristin Swan