Dartmouth Expands Public Art Program with
Special Major Sound and Light Commission by Artist Ross Ashton
in Honor of 50th Anniversary of Hopkins Center for the Arts
(See more photos here - flickr.com/photos/79524387@N00/sets/72157631760711636/)
Beginning on Friday, October 12, a new monumental site-specific commission by Ross Ashton will be projected across the façade of Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center for the Arts, in conjunction with a weekend of celebratory performances and events commemorating “The Hop’s” 50th Anniversary. The monumental new sound-and-light installation, titled Five Windows, celebrates the Hop’s resounding impact throughout the Dartmouth community, as well as its trailblazing history as one of America’s first collegiate arts centers. Its presentation marks the latest example of Dartmouth’s historic and continuing commitment to enriching its campus with public art by the world’s leading contemporary artists.
Commissioned as part of Dartmouth’s ongoing celebration of the arts during the 2012-13 year, the presentation of Five Windows coincides with the installation of Louis Bourgeois’ Crouching Spider—an immense steel-and-bronze sculpture on long-term loan from the artist’s estate—and also follows the recent unveiling of a major new site-specific commission by Ellsworth Kelly that has been installed on the eastern façade of the Hopkins Center. Dartmouth is also preparing to install Ice Chime this winter, a work weather-responsive sculpture by alumnus Keith Moskow ’83 of Moskow Linn Architects that unites science, art, architecture, and music, and was previously displayed in Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway. in a weather-responsive sculpture Ice Chime,
“By enlivening our campus with vibrant new works by some of the leading voices in contemporary art, Dartmouth is reaffirming its historic reputation for placing the arts at the center of the collegiate experience,” said Dartmouth President Carol Folt. “The exceptional quality and distinctly interdisciplinary character of our campus arts programs have made Dartmouth a national model among its peers, a distinction that extends back to our establishment of one of the nation’s first collegiate arts centers in 1962.”
Following Ashton’s recent video projection ‘Face Britain, for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London, Five Windows will animate the Hop’s northern façade —an iconic exterior that was designed by architect Wallace Harrison as a model for his later work on Lincoln Center. The five windows will each display a video projection reflecting the five decades of the Hop’s existence, drawing on archival images and crowd-sourced videos that encompass the building’s original design, the range of its artistic productions, and its continuing role as an epicenter of interdisciplinary creativity. Accompanied by a new score by Howie Saunders, Five Windows will be displayed on a continuous 13-minute loop on the evenings of October 12-14.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with Ross Ashton on a work that captures the spirit of artistic excellence creative experimentation that has defined the Hop for the past 50 years,” said Hopkins Center Director Jeff James. “This incredible new work celebrates the Hop’s history as a beacon of the nation’s collegiate arts community, even as we continue to advance a 21st-century model for the integration of the arts into a university setting.”
Ashton described the work as “a celebration of this place and how it came to be, the times it came from and the people involved, and the fact that it’s a space for creativity.” Images he incorporated into the 15-minute video include blueprint and schematic drawings from the planning of the Hop, photos of the construction and inaugration (including then-Dartmouth President John Sloan Dickey atop a frontloader taking a ceremonial first scoop of earth at the site), posters from throughout the Hop’s five decades, and video of Dartmouth student dancers of today. Interwoven with Saunders’ score are audio recordings from the inauguration of a speech by poet Robert –one of his last public addresses—and the Dartmouth Glee Club singing work commissioned for the occasion from composer Vincent Persichetti.
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