Past year brought public art, mix of performers to the College

by Amelia Rosch | 7/31/14 6:01pm

Last year at the College, students saw original Picasso paintings, watched nationally acclaimed dance groups perform and explored new public art displays around campus.

Student performances

Students at the College performed various works, ranging from “Spring Awakening” to the annual performance of the “Vagina Monologues.”

In November, the theater department produced “Big Love,” a play about 50 women who flee to Italy to escape their fiances. The production was aided by a professional fight choreographer and lighting designer.

In February, the theater department put on a production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Spring Awakening.” Members of the production held discussions with local high school students on topics including the technical elements of the show as well as sexuality and sexual assault, two themes addressed in the production.

Students produced “The Vagina Monologues” alongside an original production called “Voices.” Students wrote the second production after some said they felt that “The Vagina Monologues” represented too narrow of an experience. Part of the profits from “The Vagina Monologues” was donated to WISE, a center for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

The Hood

The Hood Museum of Art showed an exhibition “Picasso: The Vollard Exhibit” which displayed 100 Pablo Picasso sketches, commissioned by Ambroise Vollard, a French art dealer. As part of the display, the Hood borrowed pieces by Goya and Rembrandt from the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. At the same time, the Hood held “Cubism and Its Legacy” which also centered around Picasso’s work. The Cubism exhibit included paintings by artists Mark Rothko and Marcel Duchamp.

The Hood’s “Between Tradition and Modernity: The Art of Fan Tchunpi” showed pieces by Tchunpi, considered one of China’s most famous modern artists.

The Hood showcased works by more than 80 artists who had been in the College’s artist-in-residence program. Artists who have participated in the program include Robert Rauschenberg and José Clemente Orozco, the creator of the Orozco murals in Baker-Berry Library. The exhibition ran between January and June.

In June, the College announced that an anonymous donor put $10 million toward creating a learning center at the Hood. The donation will also help expand the museum, tripling the number of rooms available to students and displaying more of its collection.

Hop performances

In September, the Hopkins Center showed a selection of films from the Telluride Film Festival, including the eventual Academy Award winner for Best Film “12 Years A Slave” (2013). Hopkins Center film director Bill Pence, one of the founders of the Telluride Film Festival, has brought selections from the festival to the College since 1985.

The Mark Morris Dance Group performed several pieces, including one of their most well-known dances “Festival Dance,” in September.

Singer and comedian Reggie Watts, who is renowned for his distinctive stand-up shows, returned to the College for the first time since 2011 in October.

The Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company visited the College in January, presenting pieces inspired by the AIDS epidemic. The company is known for incorporating the dancers’ input into each of its pieces. In addition to the performance, members of the company also led an open dance class during their visit to the College.

Thirty student semi-finalists performed in the seventh annual Dartmouth Idol this past winter. Six took the stage in the final round. Phoebe Bodurtha ’15 won the contest for her performance of “Defying Gravity,” receiving $500 and the opportunity to record two songs.

Renowned violinist Joshua Bell played at the Hopkins Center in February. He and pianist Sam Haywood performed three pieces, including a Beethoven sonata. This performance was the third time that Bell had visited the College.

In March, the Spring Quartet — made up of Jack DeJohnette, Leo Genovese and Grammy-winners Joe Lovano and Esperanza Spalding — visited the Hopkins Center. The Spring Quartet is best known for mixing classical and contemporary jazz.

The Imani Winds quintet and jazz pianist Jason Moran came to the College in April. The performers premiered Moran’s “Jump Cut Rose” and held a joint concert with the Dartmouth Wind Ensemble.

In early May, folk singer Martha Redbone and a four-person band performed pieces at the Hopkins Center. For her third and latest album, Redbone remade poet William Blake’s poem into songs. During her visit, Redbone visited classes in the African and African-American studies, religion and Native American studies departments.

Public art displays

For most of last year, Louise Bourgeois’s 9-foot-tall sculpture “Crouching Spider” was displayed outside the Black Family Visual Arts Center.

In the spring, “Crouching Spider” was replaced with five Allan Houser sculptures which will be displayed until May 2015. Houser had been one of the College’s artists in residence.