Author: Rochester, Chin

What’s the Alternative? Art and Outrage of the 1960s Underground Press


August 24, 2018 to October 14, 2018

Opening Reception:  September 6, 2018, 4:30 – 7pm

Drawn exclusively from the Alternative Press Collection at the UConn Archives & Special Collections, What’s the Alternative? The Art and Outrage of the 1960s Underground Press  surveys the efforts of cartoonists, illustrators, photographers and painters to warn against public impassivity in the face of political oppression, war, systemic racism and censorship of free speech during the mid-twentieth century. The exhibition is guest curated by cartoonist Dwayne Booth (a.k.a. Mr. Fish).

The exhibition is a collaboration with Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library; Thomas J. Dodd Research Center; CLAS Dean’s Office, Humanities; Humanities Institute / Humility & Conviction in Public Life; Departments of History, English and Journalism; and the School of Fine Arts.

Image Credit: Sir Realist by John Francis Putnam, 1958.

FREE and open to the public. RSVP recommended: 860.486.4520 or email:
Check our calendar for more information on these programs.

Film Screening
Tuesday, September 11, 6:30 – 8:30
Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End (2017) Running time: 70 min.
Followed by a Q&A with Dwayne Booth (aka Mr. Fish) and director Pablo Bryant If Dangerous Art Doesn’t Have A Place In Our World, Does A Dangerous Artist?
“A must see for anyone who cares about the world”
The film hit my heart and brain with such velocity that it literally made me sit on the edge of my seat.” -Ain’t It Cool News
Award winner of numerous film festivals.

Tour & Workshop
Thursday, October 4, 4:30-6:30pm
Explore the trajectory of the alternative press from the 1960s to 2016 with Graham Stinnett, Archivist, Human Rights & Alternative Press Collections. Meet at the Benton for coffee and cookies, followed by a tour of What’s the Alternative? Workshop continues at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

Salon at The Benton: Art and Conversation
Dangerous Art and Censorship
Friday, October 12, 5:00-7:00pm
Panelists: Dwayne Booth (aka Mr. Fish), cartoonist; Molly Land, Professor of Law; and Christopher Vials, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Studies.
Moderator: Brendan Kane, Associate Professor of History and Assistant Director, Public Humanities, UConn Humanities Institute.


Instructor Toolkit

Examples of learning opportunities offered by the Museum.

ANTH/LLAS 3029: The Caribbean
Dr. Noga Shemer’s anthropology class visited Ancestors of the Passage, an installation by Puerto Rican-American artist Imna Arroyo that addresses the transatlantic slave trade. The group of forty students came to the museum in two shifts, with half the class watching a thirty-minute film while the other half discussed Arroyo’s work in the museum with Benton staff. The class visit examined representations of slavery, colonialism, and their legacies through a comparison of multiple media.

ENG 1701: Creative Writing
Creative writing instructor Pegi Shea asked her students to write ekphrastic poems inspired by original works of art displayed in the Benton. The group spent time writing in the museum as part of a self-guided class visit.

GERM 1169: Contemporary Germany in Europe
Dr. Shane Peterson selected four prints by German artist Käthe Köllwitz for an Object Study Session at the Benton. Before coming to class, students listened to a podcast about the artist. At the museum, students spent time describing, analyzing, and interpreting the prints with a worksheet, which became the basis for discussion.

ILCS 1145: Elementary Italian I
Graduate assistant Jeanne Bonner brought her Italian language class for a focused discussion of the painting Saint Sebastian (c. 1630). Using the Critical Lookingframework, students analyzed the artwork and considered topics such as its site(s) of display, its potential meaning for viewers in seventeenth-century Italy, the painting’s status as a copy, and the significance of Saint Sebastian today. The visit concluded with a lesson in ItalianIns


Image Credits: Konishi Hirosada (Japanese, active 1826-1863, died c. 1865), Actors Nakamura Utaemon IV as Danshichi no Mohei and Nakayama Nanshi II as Iwaiburo Tomi, 1851. Woodblock print. The George Lincoln Collection of Japanese Woodcuts.

Curricular Exhibitions

The Balcony Gallery and Study Gallery are available for short-term exhibitions that support UConn courses. Benton staff work with faculty to select objects, which can be displayed for sustained engagement by students and the UConn community. Recent collaborators include the African American Cultural Center, School of Nursing, and the Department of Art & Art History. Contact Amanda Douberley, Assistant Curator/Academic Liaison, at least one semester prior to the desired exhibition date.


Image Credits: Giulio Cesare Procaccini (Italian, 1574-1625), Study of Arms. Sanguine on laid paper. Gift
of Friends of the Museum.

Object Study Sessions

Only a small percentage of the Benton’s permanent collection is on display at any given time.  Faculty may request objects from storage for class meetings at the Benton.  Plan your visit by searching our online database and use the request form to schedule a study session.  Advance notice of at least four weeks is recommended. Contact Amanda Douberley, Assistant Curator/Academic Liaison, for more information.


Image Credits: Reginald Marsh (American, 1898-1954), Joan (The Tabloid), 1931. Etching. Gift of Helen
Benton Boley.

Class Visits

We welcome class meetings in the Benton galleries that engage temporary exhibitions as well as the permanent collection.  Faculty may schedule a self-guided visit, or work with museum staff to facilitate discussion and craft related assignments.  For sample lesson plans and activities, visit our Instructor Toolkit page.

Use the request form to schedule your class visit, which is required for groups of more than ten people (including self-guided class visits).  Advance notice of at least two weeks is recommended to ensure availability of gallery space and personnel.  Contact Amanda Douberley, Assistant Curator/Academic Liaison, for more information.


Image Credits: Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819-1904), Rye Beach, New Hampshire, 1863. Oil on canvas. The Louise Crombie Beach Memorial Fund.