This exhibition was designed to deepen a contemporary discourse on race. Through this work, Trenton Doyle Hancock has explored how race is performed through the seemingly innocuous material culture of toy dolls. The curatorial thesis of this exhibition began with two baby dolls that were used in Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark “doll test” to study the psychological effects of segregation on black children. In this exhibition a selection of white dolls that Hancock, an African American male, has collected over the past twenty years, are presented with a selection of black dolls from the Philadelphia African American Doll Museum. Inspired and influenced by these opposing collections, Hancock has created a new set of dolls, commissioned by Temple Contemporary, in which he has reimagined the racial divide presented by the existing dolls.

This exhibition will be in view from May 10, 2017 – July 27, 2018

Major support for Moundverse Infants is provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.


Tyler School of Art Distinguished Alumni Mentoring Program

The purpose of the Distinguished Alumni Mentoring Program, which is sponsored by the Office of the Dean at the Tyler School of Art, is to foster continuing relationships between Tyler’s distinguished alumni and its recent graduates. Trenton Doyle Hancock (MFA ’00), was the Distinguished Alumni for the 2016-18 iteration of this program. Trenton met with a number of recent Tyler graduates and chose Tim Rusterholz (MFA ’11), to work with him for the duration of this mentorship program. Past-distinguished alumni have included Polly Apfelbaum (BFA ’78), Paula Scher (BFA ’70), and Hope Ginsberg (BFA ’96)

Trenton Doyle Hancock

For almost two decades, Trenton Doyle Hancock has been constructing his own fantastical narrative that continues to develop and inform his prolific artistic output. Part fictional, part autobiographical, Hancock’s work pulls from his own personal experience, art historical canon, comics and superheroes, pulp fiction, and myriad pop culture references, resulting in a complex amalgamation of characters and plots possessing universal concepts of light and dark, good and evil, and all the grey in between. Hancock transforms traditionally formal decisions—such as his use of color, language, and pattern—into opportunities to create new characters, develop sub-plots and convey symbolic meaning. Hancock’s works are suffused with personal mythology presented at an operatic scale, often reinterpreting Biblical stories that the artist learned as a child from his family and local church community. His exuberant and subversive narratives employ a variety of cultural tropes, ranging in tone from comic-strip superhero battles to medieval morality plays and influenced in style by Hieronymus Bosch, Max Ernst, Henry Darger, Philip Guston and R. Crumb. Text embedded within the paintings and drawings both drives the narrative and acts as a central visual component. The resulting sprawling installations spill onto beyond the canvas edges and onto gallery walls. As a whole, Hancock’s highly developed cast of characters acts out a complex mythological battle, creating an elaborate cosmology that embodies his unique aesthetic ideals, musings on color, language, emotions and ultimately, good versus evil. Hancock’s mythology has also been translated through performance, even onto the stage in an original ballet, Cult of Color: Call to Color, commissioned by Ballet Austin, and through site-specific murals for the Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, TX, and at the Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, WA.

Barbara Whiteman

Barbara Whiteman is the founder and executive director of the Philadelphia Doll Museum. She developed her collection by studying Black history and culture. She travels across the country lecturing and presenting her collection. She says that these Black dolls are “more than play objects or toys, these Black dolls symbolize the struggle for freedom and human dignity. Each doll has a message of truth and strength that is important to the psychological and sociological development of Black people. Collectively, they represent visual images of how Black people were perceived throughout world history.”

Tim Rusterholz

Tim Rusterholz is an artist living and working in Philadelphia, PA specializing in digital modeling and production processes. Tim is traditionally trained in figure modeling, wood-working, metal fab, and mold-making; creating outsources work for various artists and organizations for international exhibition.