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Past Exhibitions

(Re)Imagining Home

91
October 17, 2015, through December 06, 2015

Home is a complex idea imbued with a variety of meanings and associations. This exhibition explores home as a mutable emotional and conceptual phenomenon inextricably linked to physical spaces. Home is constantly (re)imagined, subject to continual construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction both materially and in the mind. Homes are highly personalized spaces that represent personal narratives and inner lives and continually evolve as their inhabitants age or move. Whether actual or staged, physical or imagined, idyllic or in ruins, images of homes raise the questions: Where is home? What is home? Does (or can) home travel with you or is it something forever left behind?

The City as Memory Machine

August 29, 2015, through December 06, 2015

Life in the city is lived in daily patterns of mobility. Each day, most of us stroll past the same shops and cafés, or distractedly gaze across receding rooftops from the vantage of an elevated train. We often think of time spent in transit as lost time, life on the periphery of real living. But as the French anthropologist Marc Augé has shown us, traveling through the city is a practice of history and memory. Instead of life lost, cities unfold at the stop-and-go pace of a crowded bus line. Along the way, monuments to the city’s collective history spark personal, individualized memories. In those fleeting moments, as the bus rolls along, we may be struck by the memory of a childhood trip to Central Park or suddenly recall a moment of heartbreaking loss. On the commute, the past and the present intermingle in barely recognized flashes of illumination, all in the time it takes to glance up from the morning newspaper. 

In his ethnography of the Paris Metro, Marc Augé refers to the Metro map as a “memory machine,” arguing that each stop highlighted on the map indexes and generates individual and shared experiences of place. The works of art in this exhibition offer... read more

A Feast for the Eyes and a Sacred Trek for the Feet

Journeys along the Tokaido Highway

90
September 05, 2015, through October 18, 2015

This exhibition, at its essence, is about the power of place. A single locale can carry myriad meanings and experiences for different people, as can be seen through depictions of the Tokaido highway. As the main arterial road in Japan during the Edo period (1603–1868), the Tokaido held great significance for citizens and artists alike. Examining different artists’ representations of the Tokaido illustrates the diverse range of experiences people had along the road, as well as the distinctive meanings each artist attached to the highway.

Goddesses, Models, & Prostitutes

An Exploration of the Reclining Female Nude

89
July 18, 2015, through August 30, 2015
Goddesses, Models, and Prostitutes: An Exploration of the Reclining Female Nude

The reclining female nude has been a recurring theme in Western art since the 1500s. It began with erotic images portraying an idealized woman (often in the guise of a goddess) for the pleasure of the male viewer. Through her passive, reclined pose, she offers her body for our gaze; her recumbent nudity implies that she is sexually available. She represents sensuality, beauty, and desire. As the subject of the female nude became canonized, artists began to expand the ways in which it was represented. She can be depicted alone or with guests and companions. With each incarnation of the reclining female nude, the tradition continues to grow and change.

Water Ways

Tension and Flow

April 04, 2015, through August 23, 2015
Edward Burtynsky, Oil Spill #1

Water is essential to human life, shaping the geography of human settlement, modes of travel, and ease of trade. Too much water (flooding) or too little (drought) has wrought havoc in communities for millennia. This exhibition considers humans’ relationship to water, from the architecture of socialization pictured in Edward Burtynsky’s photograph of a stepwell in India to the dramatic effects of flooding shown in images of people in front of their homes from Gideon Mendel’s series Drowning World. From quiet still lifes (David Goldes) to panoramic landscapes (Ian Teh), these photographs showcase the beauty and power of this miraculous, yet quotidian, substance.

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Works by Victor Ekpuk

April 18, 2015, through August 02, 2015
Victor Ekpuk, Composition No. 13 (Sante Fe Suite)

Nigerian-born artist Victor Ekpuk is best known for his improvisational use of nsibidi, a form of ideographic writing associated with Ekpe, the powerful, interethnic men’s association active in the southern border regions of Nigeria and Cameroon. Though familiar to him since his childhood, Ekpuk’s aesthetic engagement with nsibidi emerged during his fine art studies at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ife, Nigeria, where students were encouraged to explore the logics of pattern and design in indigenous African art forms. Ekpuk’s fascination with nsibidi during these years—its economy of line and encoded meanings—led to his broader explorations of the visual properties of linguistic signs and to the invention of his own fluid letterforms. As a mature artist, Ekpuk has so internalized the rhythm and contours of his “script” that it flows from his hand like the outpouring of a personal archive.

Ukara

Ritual Cloth of the Ekpe Secret Society

April 18, 2015, through August 02, 2015
Mazi Okereke Agbam of Arochukwu’s personalized ukara cloth

Ukara cloth symbolizes the power, wealth, and prestige of the Ekpe secret society, an interethnic all-male association, and the sacrality of Ekpe meeting lodges. Although commissioned and used by the Ekpe, located in the Cross River region at the border of southeastern Nigeria and western Cameroon, ukara is designed, sewn, and dyed by the Ezillo people in present-day Ebonyi State. The process of creating ukara cloths is laborious and involves many hands, but ultimately each cloth is highly individualized, clearly produced to be worn by a specific Ekpe person or to mark a particular Ekpe lodge. Nsibidi symbols, an ideographic and gestural system of communication, are dyed onto the cloth. The symbols’ meanings are largely guarded by Ekpe members, with more established members becoming deeply knowledgeable about the poly-semantic signs. 

About Face

Self-Portraiture in Contemporary Art

January 31, 2015, through July 19, 2015
Chuck Close, Self-Portrait Screenprint 2012

Organized in collaboration with Studio Art majors from Dartmouth's Class of 2015, this exhibition explores the continued relevance and global diversity of self-portraiture in contemporary art. While self-portraiture has traditionally engaged with direct observation and autobiography, contemporary artists have begun to question the value and integrity of authorship and a coherent artistic identity through the use of disguise, impersonation, and assumed personae.

About Face explores the various approaches that contemporary artists have used to investigate identity as a culturally constructed phenomenon and will include works by such notable practitioners as Chuck Close, Susanna Coffey, Rineke Dijkstra, Marit Følstad, Nikki S. Lee, Sarah McEneaney, Nomusa Makhubu, Bruce Nauman, Wendy Red Star, Cindy Sherman, Kiki Smith, Christian Thompson, and Jeff Wall.

Gesture, Emotion, Shape

Sources of Abstraction

March 10, 2015, through July 12, 2015

Abstraction comes from many different sources. It may begin with a concrete object, or something less tangible, such as an emotion or thought. Artists use abstraction to express that which cannot be conveyed through representation and to explore other sources of art-making. The works in the exhibition date from immediately after World War II until the present. Some were strongly influenced by abstract expressionism, and others stem from later movements, such as minimalism and conceptualism. This exhibition highlights three important sources of abstraction: gesture, emotion, and shape.

This exhibition was curated by Philip Dytko, Class of 2017, Pauline Lewis, Class of 2016, and Molly Siegel, Class of 2016, each of whom was enrolled in Professor Mary Coffey’s ARTH 71: The American Century. This course provides a thematic overview of American art in the twentieth century. Students in the class were placed into curatorial teams of three, and each team identified a theme, selected six objects from the permanent collection, drafted labels, and proposed an installation design for the exhibition. The teams presented their proposals to the entire class at the end of the term, and... read more

Still We Rise

Women of Color Existence/Resistance in Contemporary Art

88
May 30, 2015, through July 12, 2015

Still We Rise features contemporary art from six women of color whose work embodies the theme of existence/resistance. Working against the backdrop of sexism and racism in the United States today, in its particular “post-racial” moment, these artists remind us that women of color live in the dangerous intersection of race-and gender-based forms of oppression.

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