Hood Museum celebrates 20 years

by Ann Marie Persaud | 1/19/05 6:00am

The Hood Museum of Art celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2005 with a year-long celebration. Since the official opening of the building upon its completion in 1985, more than 900,000 visitors from around the world have flocked to the museum, one of the largest art museums on a college or university campus in the United States.

In commemoration of the museum's emerald anniversary, the Hood staff has planned several programs for the public and will focus on the impact the museum has had on the community since its inception.

To kick off 2005, the museum will feature "Critical Faculties: Teaching with the Hood's Collection," featuring installations from the anthropology, art history, classics and studio art departments.

The anthropology department's installation will feature figurative objects from Africa, a variety of ancestral and contemporary artworks from Papua New Guinea and Mexican and Central American tools and obsidian jewelry from the pre-colonial era.

The art history department will focus on a museum exhibition from pre-modern and early modern times but with a contemporary twist. The organization will do away with geographical and cultural hierarchies such as those between male and female artists, different types of artworks and those with Western and non-Western origins to provoke discussion.

A newly reinstalled Kim Gallery will open in February with new works complementing the museum's striking ninth-century Assyrian reliefs. Classics students have also created an installation in the Kim Gallery devoted to Mediterranean art that explores the classical tradition and the history of portraiture.

Student artists often created works inspired by the museum's collections and featured in an installation. The influence of the masters can be seen in some of the artwork based on Alice Neel's portrait "Daniel Algis Alkaitis" and Pablo Picasso's "Guitar on Table."

However, the highlight of the year for many may be the traveling exhibition "Marks of Distinction: Two Hundred Years of American Drawings and Watercolors from the Hood Museum of Art." This exhibition features almost 120 diverse works by renowned artists such as John Singleton Copley, John James Audubon, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, Joseph Stella, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse and Romare Bearden. The works date from 1769 to 1969 and many have never been viewed by the public.

Curator Barbara MacAdam did intense research to create this exhibit and expand the Hood Museum's collections. "This exhibition and its accompanying catalogue bring to light some of the Hood's finest works of American art. Thanks to the generous assistance of the Henry Luce Foundation and many other supporters of the museum, we have been able to give intensive attention to the development, research, and publication of the museum's greatest asset, its permanent collection." The exhibition opens at the end of March.

The Hood Museum will honor some of the most important gifts from Dartmouth friends and alumni this summer and fall, presenting them in a display titled "Celebrating Twenty Years: Gifts in Honor of the Hood Museum of Art." The Hood has also commissioned Fred Wilson, U.S. representative to the 2003 Fiftieth Venice Biennale, to create an exhibition inspired by the museum's collections and explore the ideas and issues of culture, art and value as well as those of race and ethnicity that will be featured in the fall.

Katherine Hart, the Hood's interim director, expressed her thoughts on the museum's 20th anniversary. "Over the past twenty years the Hood Museum of Art has evolved into a wonderful regional and academic museum with a national reputation. The staff of this institution is small, but it has accomplished wonderful things. We all look forward to the next phase of our development and thank our colleagues and the students at Dartmouth, the college's generous alumni, and our wonderful regional audience for their continued support of our collections and programs."