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Hood Museum's new exhibition examines Identity, everyday life

Work by artists from around globe on view until March 14

Published January 12, 2004

The Hood Museum of Art will present the exhibition Lateral Thinking: Art of the 1990s, from Saturday, Jan. 17, through Sunday, March 14. The exhibition features 40 contemporary artists from North America, South America, Central America, Cuba, Africa, China, and Europe, including Matthew Barney, Vanessa Beecroft, Roman de Salvo, Zhang Huan, William Kentridge, Byron Kim, Jean Lowe, Vik Muniz, and Cindy Sherman, many of whose works have not appeared in the Upper Valley before.

VB 39, US Navy Seals by Vanessa Beecroft
VB 39, US Navy Seals, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (1999), by Vanessa Beecroft. (photo courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art)

The exhibition defies categorization by style, school, or medium, but a number of ideas recur throughout, such as the body; the construction of identity (gender, personal, social, or ethnic); the role of the artist; and one's relationship to everyday occurrences and objects.

Drawn from the permanent collection at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), Lateral Thinking promotes creative practices from around the world. This is the first exhibition in New Art Now, the Hood's year-long presentation of contemporary art. An opening lecture and reception with Hugh Davies, The David C. Copley Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, will introduce Lateral Thinking at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 16, in the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium. A reception hosted by the Friends of Hopkins Center and Hood Museum of Art will follow in the Kim Gallery.

Among the works in the exhibition are Vanessa Beecroft's VB39, US Navy SEALs, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (1999), and a large-scale color photograph documenting her performance at MCASD; The Hobo, a 1999 oil painting by John Currin that gives figurative Renaissance painting techniques a contemporary edge, evoking an odd blend of nostalgia, desire, vulgarity, and kitsch; El Nacimento de Venus (The Birth of Venus), a 1995 mixed-media installation by Mexican artist Silvia Gruner that uses the disciplines of anthropology, archaeology, and architecture to question how objects and customs produce national and cultural identities; and the mixed-media work Champ (1989) by David Hammons, which transforms everyday materials into rich metaphors and wry commentary on the African American experience.

Untitled Figure, 2000, by Salom��n Huerta
Untitled Figure, 2000, by Salom��n Huerta, from the Collection Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The painting is part of the Lateral Thinking exhibition, which is part of the Hood Museum's year-long series on contemporary art, New Art Now. (photo courtesy of the Hood Museum of Art)

"Ever since Hugh Davies assumed the role of director of MCASD more than a decade ago, that institution has become a recognized leader in contemporary art circles," said Derrick Cartwright, Director of the Hood Museum of Art. "This is chiefly because of its ambitious exhibition program and the bold collecting strategies that Dr. Davies has encouraged. A museum like the Hood, located at a considerable distance from today's dominant art centers - New York, Paris, London - can learn a great deal from the courageous model presented by MCASD and its presentations such as Lateral Thinking. It is a privilege to share such diverse and challenging works with the community here in Hanover."

This exhibition originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. The National Endowment for the Arts provided major support. Additional funding came from the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, the County of San Diego, the California Arts Council, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Its presentation at the Hood Museum of Art and Jaffe-Friede and Strauss Galleries is supported by the Ray Winfield Smith 1918 Fund and the Leon C. 1927, Charles L. 1955, and Andrew J. 1984 Greenebaum Fund, and the Studio Art Exhibition Program at Dartmouth.

Lateral Thinking is presented in partnership with the Studio Art Exhibition Program, and it is partially installed in the Jaffe-Friede and Strauss Galleries located in Hopkins Center. Hours there are Tuesday through Saturday, 12:30 p.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday, 12:30 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. Hood Museum of Art hours remain normal.

Artists have always struggled to represent their visions of their times, lives, and surroundings. As a result of these struggles, art can connect us with the experiences of others and even bind us as a community. The exhibitions included in New Art Now continue in that spirit as the Hood community explores contemporary art and society worldwide. A special reading area for New Art Now has been generously provided by Pompanoosuc Mills.

By SHARON REED

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Last Updated: 12/17/08