We are expanding! Check out our programming while the museum is closed.

A Space for Dialogue

Hand Alone

Articulating the Hand in Art

March 29, 2014, through May 18, 2014

In Chauvet, France, red ochre handprints and stencils are found in chambers throughout the Pont-d'Arc Cave. These are the oldest known representations of the human impulse to make marks, to bring pigment to surface. A common hypothesis: these hands are a form of early signature. And so on through history, with the hand being created into a distinct visual trope again and again. Think of Egyptian hieroglyphs and how they look so distinctly Egyptian. Look at the Assyrian hands on their carved reliefs, and notice how clearly Assyrian. Or even Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael—all are of the same style, yet each produces a distinguishable hand. The hand, for all of its biological constancy of form, is vulnerable to flourishes of expression like few other body parts.

Visions of the Virgin

Manifestations of Mary and Personal Devotion

January 25, 2014, through March 09, 2014

This installation investigates the Virgin as a trope and looks at some of the ways in which artists manipulate her to evoke personal piety in both religious and secular contexts that transcend particular cultures. It includes four works--a painting on steel, a photograph, a terracotta jar, and a color lithograph--all created in the twentieth century by artists from the Americas. Produced in different cultures and at different times, these objects present distinctive iterations and interpretations of the Virgin Mary as an object of art and devotion.

Traditional Connections / Contemporary Practice

October 26, 2013, through January 19, 2014

A dichotomy between craft and art has long been present in critical Western art history, founded largely on a deep-rooted system of aesthetic values. These definitions and values have often ignored the contribution of women artists. The most obvious example of this is women's capacity within the world of craft—a term typically associated with a form of "low art" largely created by women in the domestic sphere to which they have been relegated. Some contemporary women artists have chosen to use traditional techniques associated with craft and utilitarian objects to produce unique and innovative works of art, in the process challenging the largely male-dominated art world to overtly acknowledge their talent as artists.

Abstracting Emotion

The Intersections between Black and White

August 10, through October 20, 2013

In Western culture, the color black is a code or symbol sometimes associated with depression, darkness, and despair. Some twentieth-century artists have gone beyond these preconceptions to imbue the color with very personal associations by manipulating the cultural significance of black using the principles of abstraction. The artists harness a range of tones, forms, lines, and edges to create a unique style and form of expression centered upon black. 

What's in a Flag?

Artists' Intentions and the Meaning of the Stars and Stripes

June 1, through August 4, 2013

The six artists featured in this installation use the flag to make a wide range of points, from a scathing indictment of American foreign policy to a commentary on the paranoia and insecurity of the American middle class. Some of them, intentionally or not, challenge viewers' presumptions about such a recognizable symbol. With introspection and additional information, the viewer can come closer to understanding the artists' intention and the flags' meanings. The more aware we are of the possibilities, the richer our experience of these works will be.

Beyond Aphrodite

Interpreting Portrayals of "Real" Women in Ancient Greece

January 12, 2013, through May 28, 2013

Many aspects of the lives of ancient Greek women remain a mystery to us today. While surviving literary sources and artifacts often feature powerful female goddesses, images and texts describing the lives of everyday, or "real," Greek women are more difficult to identify and understand. This exhibition presents three objects that depict those women.

Modern Melancholy

March 28, through May 26, 2013

The artists selected for this exhibition express the melancholic condition within a contemporary context and raise questions about what distinguishes melancholy today. In a society of constant sensory stimulation, instant gratification, and hedonistic saturation, have happiness and satisfaction become an obligation? Have we attained the object of our desire but lost the reason for its desirability? Through their deliberate interpretations of melancholic subjects and settings, the artists in this exhibition realize the vitality that emerges as the melancholic sees opportunities everywhere to mourn this lost desire. In fact, melancholy's redemption lies precisely within those infinitely unfolding creative and intellectual possibilities that it reveals.

Text as Image/Image as Text

Narratives of African American History and Identity

November 03, 2012, through December 02, 2012

The written narrative is the most valued form of knowledge production throughout modern Western history. This has significant implications for, among others, African American slaves, who were systematically denied participation in written discourse. It is not only a question of who has written history, but more importantly, who can? And how? With this background as a rich framework for critique, text as image has in turn become a powerful tool for artists interested in illuminating the dominant ways of manufacturing narratives and claiming knowledge.

Watercolor Washes and the Lure of the Sun

The Climate and Demographics Informing the California Watercolor

September 29, 2012, through October 28, 2012

From the 1930s to the 1960s, a group of watercolorists based in Southern California responded to the region's distinctive environment by creating primarily large, colorful watercolors of the local scene, painted on the spot outdoors. These generally upbeat, optimistic images celebrated the Edenic California landscape, despite the dramatic demographic and economic forces that were already altering both the physical characteristics and social mosaic there.

Escaping the Moment

Seeing Time in Photography

August 13, through September 16, 2012

The weakness of human sight—its flickering hesitation and intermittent inattentiveness—gives way to the verity of the apparatus's machinic capture. Photo-graphia: one writes the light of reality, burning it into film. With these qualities, photography is still often said to be about holding on to lost moments.


Hood Museum