Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire (USA) was the inaugural venue for the mosaic installation Victorious Secret created by visual artist Angela Lorenz in 2012-2013. This set of three triptychs, encompassing nine panels in all, is based upon actual ancient mosaics from 300 AD still in their original location in Piazza Armerina, Sicily (Italy).
While these mosaics of female athletes made out of buttons are dedicated to Title IX, a law created in the United States in 1972 to address inequality in women’s university sports programs and other discrimination, at Dartmouth the timing was particularly serendipitous as the school was also celebrating 40 years of coeducation.
The mosaics were placed in the heaviest area of foot traffic on campus, the main thoroughfare in the principal building on campus, Baker-Berry Library, leading to the student cafe and lounge area. This means thousands of people daily paraded by the mosaics in the Brickway Gallery, including all campus tours, from August 30 – December 1, 2013. In addition to an informative poster displayed next to the mosaics, the video of Victorious Secret was continuously run on a monitor adjacent to the exhibit, allowing students to unlock the meaning of the piece and its iconography of athletic equipment and prizes.
Dartmouth created a separate exhibition in the Rauner Library of some of their Angela Lorenz holdings, a selection of artist’s books housed in Rauner’s Special Collections, entitled “Angela Lorenz: A Sampler” on exhibit from August 30 – November 30, 2015. The artist gave a talk on the mosaics on October 30 in Baker-Berry Library, and taught a visual arts class on October 31. The class consisted of Lorenz’s conceptual alphabet project, a workshop in which each student creates letters with inventive processes and materials that relate somehow to the letter itself. Each alphabet is then gathered in a container and often donated to a public collection of artist’s books.
The artist is grateful for the support of many departments and employees of Dartmouth College that aided in the installation, promotion and funding of the exhibition and related events, especially Jeffrey Horrell, Dean of Libraries and Librarian of the College, who green-lighted the project and Jay Satterfield, Special Collections Librarian, who mounted the related exhibition in Rauner Special Collections Library. Laura Barrett, Director of Education and Outreach, Baker-Berry Library and Dennis Grady, Web Support and Graphic Arts Specialist, both bore the brunt of the installation and communication details. Former Studio Art Department Head Esme Thompson supported the visiting artist’s stay and teaching on campus, and the Friends of the Library and Baker-Berry Library sponsored the lecture.
Poster designed by Dennis Grady, Web Support and Graphic Arts Specialist (Berry-Baker Library)
Photos of and links to Victorious Secret events, activities and press: