THE POWER OF DIALOGUE
John Stomberg, Virginia Rice Kelsey 1961s Director
Hood Quarterly, spring-summer 2019
Curators are forever saying things like “there’s a strong dialogue between these works of art,” or “these really speak to one another.” We’re not crazy. It’s just a terrific metaphor for the way some works of art resonate visually or thematically. The biggest challenge of installing collections galleries comes from trying to embrace and enhance these relationships. We take works of art made by individuals who may or may not have had any relationship with one another. We organize art in ways that are mutually beneficial to the objects themselves as well as to the theme of the gallery. Each artwork shines independently but also gains from the proximity of neighbors whose look, feel, and subject enhance the nuance and complexity of the viewing experience.
The Hood, like most museums, collects with these potential relationships in mind. Each new acquisition adds multiple dimensions to the stories we tell in the galleries. It is a bit like planning the perfect dinner party, selecting guests who bring out the unique contributions of the others in attendance. When it works well, a memorable evening (or exhibition) ensues, one initiated in the planning process but catalyzed in the moment. Participants enjoy the comfort and confirmation of familiarity as well as the joy of discovery and surprise.
For the Hood’s spring conference, the second of three major celebrations for the new museum, we will bring the dream to life. Twelve artists who each have significant works on view in the Hood’s collections galleries will join together for a day of public conversations. While certainly familiar with each other’s work, these artists belong to no one movement or group. They come from myriad backgrounds and have widely varying approaches to the art they create. Their work gains new dimensions once it enters a museum based on its proximity to the rest of the collection, the nature of the museum spaces, and its location and values.
Our amazing guests, all celebrated artists on their own, will address subjects both personal and universal, speaking individually about their work and collectively about the art world today. Along the way, they will explore what it means to be part of a museum family, to have your work enter into a permanent home with unknown siblings. It promises to be moving and informative, offering a rare glimpse into the complexity of merging disparate voices into a meaningful choir while embracing the sounds of discord. We do so hope that you will be a part of what promises to be a momentous day for the Hood.