Critical Faculties: Teaching with the Hood's Collections is a special exhibition organized by faculty of the museum's four constituent academic departments at the College-Anthropology, Art History, Classics and Studio Art. The show, which will run through March 13, illustrates the Hood's primary mission as a teaching museum through a series of four distinct installations that represents each discipline's approach to teaching with art.
The Anthropology Department installation explores a variety of opportunities for study with the collection, featuring the Hood's pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican tools and obsidian jewelry from Mexico and Central America; an array of important ancestral boards and contemporary paintings from Papua New Guinea; and an intriguing selection of heavily symbolic African objects.
Art history professors often hold classes in the museum galleries, making use of the permanent collections and changing exhibitions to introduce students to the art and material artifacts of cultures near and far. The department's installation pays tribute to pre-modern and early modern modes of museum exhibition, evoking cultural memories both of the Wunderkammer (cabinet of curiosities) and of the ways in which paintings and sculptures were shown at the salons of the 18th- and 19th-century art academies. By breaking down geographical and cultural hierarchies-between artifacts and art, Western and non-Western origins, male and female artists-the installation strives to remind viewers of the museum's power to organize knowledge and provoke thought.
The museum's ancient Greek and Roman coins, Cypriot and Greek pottery, and Cypriot and Roman sculpture have regularly served as the focus of study for students in an introductory course on classical archaeology. Classics students have also played a role in the selection of objects in the portion of the Kim Gallery devoted to ancient Mediterranean art. Their installation explores the history of portraiture and the classical tradition through ancient imperial Roman coins and medals, Cypriot and Roman sculptures, and Italian prints and portrait paintings. Highlights include coins and medals depicting the legacy of Alexander the Great, depictions of Julius Caesar and other Roman legends; an 18th-century print by Giovanni Battista Piranesi showing the principal elevation of the Column of Trajan in Rome; an engraving by Hendrick Goltzius; and the eighteenth-century portrait painting of Robert Clements with a bust of Homer by Pompeo Batoni.
Studio art faculty members frequently bring their classes to the Bernstein Study-Storage Center where students can examine paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs for appreciation of the artist's touch, marks and color as well as the physical properties of media. Students often copy objects from the collection-a process that informs their own creative work.
Student works inspired by permanent collection items are featured in this installation. Highlights include paintings by students based on Alice Neel's portrait Daniel Algis Alkaitis, architectural computer renderings inspired by Pablo Picasso's painting Guitar on a Table, student prints reflecting their study of the Hood's collection, and photography by established artists as well as recent Dartmouth graduates that demonstrates the evolution of this art form.
The Hood Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening hours on Wednesday until 9; Sunday, 12 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. The museum galleries and the Arthur M. Loew Auditorium are wheelchair accessible. For information, directions, or to search the collections, please visit the museum's Web site or call 646-2808.
By SHARON REED
Questions or comments about this article? We welcome your feedback.
Last Updated: 12/17/08