Temple Contemporary at the Tyler School of Art commissioned visual artist Trenton Doyle Hancock to create new work in an exhibition examining the representation of race in the material culture of toy dolls. Moundverse Infants presented a collection of white dolls that Hancock, an African American male, has collected over the past 20 years, alongside black dolls from the Philadelphia African American Doll Museum. A Tyler School of Art alumnus, Hancock created a new set of dolls based on these two collections and on a cast of characters who reappear throughout his body of work, which includes intricate collaged paintings, prints, and installations. The project’s concept arose from an influential 1930s study involving a “doll test” to investigate the psychological effects of segregation on black children. To advance Hancock’s commitment to supporting young adults of color, Temple Contemporary established the Young Curators Council, a paid curatorial mentorship program that provides access to the artist’s private studio and collection for five selected participants, aged 18-21. An exhibition catalogue documented the newly commissioned work and charted the mentorship participants’ curatorial progress.
Select works presented in the Moundverse Infants are currently on view in Mind of the Mound: Critical Mass at MASS MoCA. The exhibition catalogue is available in the MASS MoCA online store.
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