Author: Bruno Perosino

Reginald Marsh: Watercolors of Locomotives & Havana

Reginald Marsh

These virtual exhibits feature some lesser-known works by Reginald Marsh, an American painter defined by his gritty images of New York City. They instead focus on his painting of locomotives and Havana landscapes.

Steaming Ahead: Reginald Marsh Watercolors of Locomotives
Reginald Marsh Watercolors of Havana

These exhibitions were made possible by the generosity of the Robert T. Leo Jr Exhibition Fund.

UConn’s 50th annual faculty art exhibition

By Francesca Colturi for the Daily Campus

UConn’s 50th annual Faculty Art Exhibition was about more than reminding the university of its talented fine arts faculty. The opening reception on Thursday evening focused on a resounding theme of freedom of expression in the chaotic world of art and the chaotic reality of our world today.

“I know it’s not easy to bring together so many visions in such a harmonious fashion,” said Anne D’Alleva, dean of the School of Fine Arts at UConn, in her gracious speech to faculty and museum staff.

With varied artworks from nearly 20 UConn art faculty hanging on the walls of the Benton Museum’s East Gallery, students with dreadlocks mingled between grey haired docents, eating cheese and swaying alongside a bassist and pianist.

Art and art history department head Cora Lynn Deibler followed on the microphone soon after D’Alleva, filling the room with choice words of inspiration. Deibler quoted a poem about the Vietnam War and an opinion column titled, “How artists change the world.” But her own words resonated the loudest. “Speak however you must to support the freedom of expression and the arts. Just don’t be silent,” Deibler said.

In the center of the gallery stood four inflated installations of grey teardrops with a nuclear essence and massive black lettering, created by Brandon Bultman. Around the corner were portraits of a chimpanzee named Toddy taken by Frank Noekler, a temple honoring delivery pizza, stacked by John O’Donnell, and framed napkins illustrated by Allison Paul.

Each bore a small plaque and fostered the buzz of conversation.

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New Exhibition Treads ‘Sacred Ground’

By Kenneth Best for UConn Today

The “UConn Reads: Sacred Ground” exhibition at the William Benton Museum of Art is based on Eboo Patel’s 2012 book Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, which outlines a vision of America where people of all faiths can make a country where diverse traditions can thrive side by side.

The exhibit opened just days before the executive order on immigration banning refugees and citizens from seven Muslim majority nations.

Patel, born in India to a Muslim family and raised in Chicago, is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, which builds the interfaith movement on university campuses. In Sacred Ground, he writes that suspicion and animosity toward American Muslims has increased, rather than subsided, and alarmist rhetoric once relegated to the fringes of political discourse has become mainstream with pundits and politicians routinely invoking the specter of Islam as a menacing, deeply anti-American force.

“There are a million competing priorities on college campuses, and so our goal is to make interfaith work a higher priority,” Patel told the Religion & Politics websitewhen his book was published. “Our theory of change is that if you can inspire a critical mass of college students to do this … then the chances of them being interfaith leaders throughout their lives, whether they go into college chaplaincy or medicine, is much higher.”

In the Benton exhibit, organized by award-winning Massachusetts photographer Diana Barker Price, several international artists share their own visions of pluralism through their art, accompanied by excerpts from Patel’s book.

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UConn Reads: Sacred ground exhibit

By Julia Mancini for the Daily Campus

Yesterday was opening day for a new exhibit at the William Benton Museum of Art entitled, “UConn Reads: Sacred Ground,” a collaboration between the museum and The UConn Reads program, which annually chooses a book to engage community dialogue.

For the 2016-17 school year, the selection committee picked “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America,” by Eboo Patel ( The UConn Read’s theme for this year is “Religion in America,” making Patel’s book the perfect choice, as it centers around defending American values of inclusiveness and pluralism. Patel discusses issues American Muslims face as well as how our prejudices challenge the notion of America as an ideal.

The exhibit features multiple artists and mixed mediums of artwork, including photographs, oil paintings, prints and layered pieces. The Sacred Ground exhibit includes passages from the text to accompany the art in order to reinforce the themes of the book. Photographer Diana Barker Price coordinated the images with the specific quotes. As you walk through the exhibit, videos of Patel also play in the background, allowing you to not only read his words and view the artwork, but listen to him discuss his book.

The Benton’s Executive DirectorNancy Stula, says the exhibit and the book speak to” a kinder America where every religion is accepted.” Featuring mainly Muslim artists, the pieces include dual imagery and the merging of two traditions. Artist Shadi Ghadirian, who has five archival digital pigment prints in the exhibit, used her friends as models, photographing them against traditional Iranian and Persian backgrounds and adorning them with modern objects such as telephones and cameras. Artist Mehdi-Georges Lahlou has three pieces in the gallery, a series of Catholic Renaissance-style Madonnas over which he layers Muslim-inspired mosaic patterns. Artist Mahmood Sabzi also merges the American and Muslim cultures by combining iconic American images, such as Liz Taylor, Elvis, McDonald’s and a Batman comic, with Persian rug patterns. Hojat Amani, an Iranian artist, combines typical Persian still life paintings with American culture as well, incorporating Coca-Cola bottles in his art. All these artists draw from their backgrounds, religion, childhood, and familial relationships as inspiration.

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The 50th Annual Studio Art Faculty Exhibition

January 26 – March 12, 2017

Opening Reception: Thursday, February 2, 2017
4:30 – 6:30pm

This annual exhibition highlights recent work of the permanent, adjunct, and visiting studio art faculty from the Department of Art and Art History, School of Fine Arts at UConn. A variety of media are featured; painting, sculpture, illustration, graphic design, printmaking, photography, and installation art. Such diverse bodies of work represent the most significant directions in contemporary art, as well as the unique vision of each artist-faculty member.

Highlighted Faculty Artists
Deborah Dancy
Ray DiCapua
Janet Pritchard

Note:  Photos and image details of additional faculty work in the exhibition can be seen below.  These photos are meant for marketing purposes only and may not be the best quality.  To see the entire works as they were meant to be seen, please come view the exhibition in person!

Unknown-1 copy
Monica Bock creating “exodus”, 2017

Image Detail of work by Laurie Sloane
Image Detail of work by Laurie Sloan “Untitled”

Image Detail of work by Frank Noelker “Toddy”

Image Detail of work by Kathryn Myers " "
Image Detail of work by Kathryn Myers “Exhumation”, 2016

Image Detail of work by Pam Bramble " "
Image Detail of work by Pamela Bramble “Adagio”, 2016

Image Detail of work by Cora Lynn Deibler "Hillary clinton: Politician", 2014
Image Detail of work by Cora Lynn Deibler “Hillary Clinton: Politician”, 2014

Judith Thorpe, "Cat and the Fiddle"
Judith Thorpe, “Cat and the Fiddle”, 2016

Charles Hagen, "Spotlight", 2016
Image Detail of work by Charles Hagen, “Spotlight”, 2016

Image Detail of work by Allison Paul "Supper Napkin"
Image Detail of work by Alison Paul “Supper Napkin”

Image Detail of work by Rossitza Skortcheva Donesky "Rittenhouse Square IV"
Image Detail of work by Rossitza Skortcheva Donesky “Rittenhouse Square IV”

Image Detail of work by Blake Shirley "Living with Ghosts 2", 2016
Image Detail of work by Blake Shirley “Living with Ghosts 2”, 2016

Brandon Bultman, “APHELION”

Detail of work by Shauna Merman "Topo", 2016
Image Detail of work by Shauna Merman “Topo”, 2016

Detail of work by Brad Guarino, "Implicit Burdens", 2016
Image Detail of work by Brad Guarino, “Implicit Burdens”, 2016




Image Detail of work by Edvin Yegir “Trumpula Rasa”, 2017

Image Detail of work by John O'Donnell “Pizza Temple”
Image Detail of work by John O’Donnell “Pizza Temple”

UConn Reads: Sacred Ground

January 26 – March 12, 2017
Opening Reception: Thursday, February 2, 2017
4:30 – 6:30pm

Inspired by this year’s UConn Reads selected book, Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America by Eboo Patel, this exhibition features artists and subjects connected by a shared history, ideals, and identity that serve as bridges of cooperation throughout Islam and America.

*All works in the exhibition courtesy of the Leila Heller Gallery.

“The University of Connecticut’s UConn Reads program has been created to bring together the University community – from students, faculty, and staff to alumni and friends of UConn, as well as citizens of Connecticut – for a far-reaching and engaging dialogue centered on a book suggested by the community.”

Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses. Author of the books “Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America” and “Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation,” which won the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Eboo is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, NPR, and CNN. He served on President Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. Eboo lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz, and two sons. When he’s not teaching his kids about interfaith cooperation, you’ll find him feeding his coffee addiction and rooting for Notre Dame.–Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC)

Image Credit: The Snake Charmer of the 21s Century Savage, 2013. Shoja Azari, American/Iranian b. 1958

Reginald Marsh’s Locomotive Watercolors At Benton

By Susan Dunne for the Hartford Courant

When he was a student at Yale, William Benton, founder of the William Benton Museum of Art in Storrs, was close friends with artist Reginald Marsh. They stayed friends for the rest of their lives.

As a result, the museum on the UConn campus has 1,040 pieces by Marsh in its permanent collection. Marsh is well-known for his pieces depicting crowds in gritty urban settings, but the new exhibit at the Benton showcases a lesser-known corner of his body of work: his watercolors and prints of steam locomotives.

“Steaming Ahead” was curated by Bob Leo and Rachel Zilinsky, with help from Audrey Conrad. Conrad, the vice president of Valley Railroad Co., which owns Essex Steam Train, is one of the country’s leading experts on the history of steam locomotion. The wall text panels Conrad wrote to accompany Marsh’s railroad visions do not explain Marsh’s artistic method but instead flesh out the specific of the locomotives depicted. They are little marvels of historical observation, with details such as “A pair of Erie Railroad 4-6-2 (Pacific) type, class K1 passenger locomotives built between 1905 and 1908,” facts that, if Marsh knew— he probably didn’t — he didn’t spell out.

The 23 exterior train views, all created by Marsh between 1927 and 1931, are capped off by one interior train view that represents more well-known Marsh compositional style: a crowd of people in a full-to-capacity train car. All the pieces are created in a gritty industrial palette: browns, grays, blacks.

Pieces on loan from Essex Steam Train sit around the gallery, and train-themed pop songs, such as Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s “This Train is Bound for Glory,” can be heard on an audio component to the exhibit.

The entire show is made up of works on paper, which are fragile, so it will run for a brief time, until Dec. 18. A new initiative at the Benton, to post walk-throughs of exhibits online, is being launched with this exhibit.

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UConn Exhibits Mark 35 Years of HIV/AIDS

By Diane Orson for Connecticut Public Radio

Three exhibitions at the University of Connecticut explore the social and political history of HIV/AIDS and mark 35 years since the first cases were diagnosed.

Associate professor-in-residence, Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long, said the idea came to him while teaching a course on AIDS and culture.

“One of the things that struck me,” he said, “was that most of our undergraduates have never lived in a world without AIDS. Many of them were completely unaware of the struggles that HIV-infected people and their families encountered in the 1980s.” Long was a recent guest on WNPR’s Where We Live.

The UConn exhibitions reflect changes over time, as a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS went from being a death sentence, to a chronic disease which could be managed. Visitors to the Dodd Research Center can see some of the first materials and publications on safe sex, as well as images created in response to HIV/AIDS by grassroots organizations.

“Early in the HIV epidemic, it was alternative presses and alternative publishers that published some of the first novels and plays related to HIV/AIDS,” Long said. “When they go to the Benton Museum, they’re going to see a very fine exhibit directly related to art, graphics, images during the HIV/AIDS epidemic’s worst years. Finally, in the School of Nursing — just opened this week — people will see the National Library of Medicine’s exhibit as well as an exhibit case I’ve prepared of artifacts related to nursing and nursing care.”

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Steaming Ahead: Reginald Marsh Watercolors of Locomotives

Steam Ahead







October 20 – December 18, 2016

Steaming Ahead: Reginald Marsh Watercolors of Locomotives
Reginald Marsh Watercolors of Havana

Reginald Marsh (1898-1954) is best known for his images of gritty New York—the beaches of Coney Island, the burlesque halls of lower Manhattan—while his depictions of trains are almost unknown. This exhibition features over twenty-five watercolors and prints (lithographs and etchings) of locomotives, produced between 1927 and 1934, along with one from 1940, all from the permanent collection of the William Benton Museum of Art.

Etchings were some of Marsh’s earliest work. He was fascinated by technique and often experimented with variations on the etching process, all the while keeping careful technical notes. But Marsh was primarily a watercolorist. He worked almost exclusively in watercolor from the early 1920s until 1929 when artist Thomas Hart Benton introduced him to egg tempera.

Some have interpreted Marsh’s depictions of trains as symbols of strength and power as well as offering a counterpart to his images of strong women. The gritty imagery must have also appealed to him. According to steam train expert Audrey Conrad, “Steam locomotives by their nature are accessible to the senses. When you see one move, all of the parts are right out there in the open, you can see the rods moving and turning the wheels; you can feel the heat of the boiler and steam; you can smell the coal smoke and hot oil. At the time he was painting them, steam locomotives were not obsolete: they were the prevailing type of motive power in the US and the world.”

While his studio on 14th Street was very close to the New York and Harlem railroad that was an electric train and Marsh focused on steam locomotives. The Erie Railroad terminal in Jersey City, NJ appears to have been his favorite haunt. Jersey City offered many engine terminals and freight yards in a relatively small area and most of Marsh’s watercolors of steam locomotives were painted there.

Steaming Ahead: Reginald Marsh Watercolors of Locomotives and the virtual exhibitions were made possible in part by the generosity of the Robert T. Leo Jr. Exhibition Fund.


Reginald Marsh, The Parlor car, 1940, WBMA Collection
Reginald Marsh, The Parlor car, 1940, WBMA Collection


First Folio Exhibit Opens at UConn

By Kenneth Best for UConn Today

Earlier this year when a previously unknown first edition of the collected works of William Shakespeare was discovered in Scotland, the extensive media coverage demonstrated why the book known as “The First Folio” is so revered. With no known copies of Shakespeare’s plays written in his own hand, the Folio is the most direct link to the Bard of Avon, who continues to tower unchallenged above all writers in the English language.

The exhibition of one of the 233 remaining copies of the Folio, “First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare,” will be on display at the William Benton Museum of Art at UConn from Sept. 1 to 25.

The traveling exhibition is stopping at just one institution in each of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The tour is a partnership between The Folger Shakespeare Library, Cincinnati Museum Center, and the American Library Association.

The First Folio is the first collected edition of 36 Shakespeare plays published by two of his fellow actors in 1623, seven years after the Bard’s death on April 23. The collection includes 18 plays that would otherwise have been lost, including “Macbeth,” Julius Caesar,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Tempest,” “Antony and Cleopatra,” “The Comedy of Errors,” and “As You Like It.”

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