Author: Ginger Jenne

IN-DIFFERENCE: Reflections on Race

January 21–March 13, 2016

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 21, 4:30–7:00 pm

Coordinating with the 2015 UConn Reads theme, “Race in America,” a group of University of Connecticut students in the School of Fine Arts employed typography, color, and motion to visually communicate personal experiences with race—limiting themselves to only six words. This digital exhibition of moving text aims to initiate a dialogue around the current state of race relations on campus and make visible those issues that are frequently pushed below the surface.

Graphic design students from the department of Art & Art History—Stephen Bogdan, Nicole McDonald, Raeanne Nuzzo, Jose Ortiz, Brigid Reale, Sarah Williams, and Samantha Weiss—curated and designed the exhibition. Artwork for the exhibition is by students in the department of Digital Media & Design and the department of Art & Art History.

Stark Imagery: The Male Nude in Art

Stark Imagery: The Male Nude In Art

January 21–March 13, 2016

Opening Reception: Thursday, January 21, 4:30–7:00 pm*

While images of the female nude have dominated art exhibitions through the centuries, the male nude has been almost invisible. This exhibition takes a new look at the male body and its various representations over the last four centuries, from depictions in the fine arts to those in the media and popular culture.

Stark Imagery: The Male Nude In Art is a collaboration with the University of Connecticut’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program and the courses on masculinity taught at UCONN every semester.

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Are We All Here? 2016 MFA Thesis Exhibition

April 9 – May 8, 2016

Are We All Here? is the culminating exhibition of the two-year Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Connecticut. The interdisciplinary program includes intense studio practice and analytical evaluation of contemporary art practice.

The 2016 MFA candidates are Amanda Bulger (Sculpture and Drawing), Don Burton (Video and Installation), Neil Daigle Orians (Printmaking and Sculpture), Kacie Davis (Drawing), and Kamar Thomas (Painting).

In the words of the MFA students, “The question A​re We All Here?​ speaks to living in the present moment, while being as fully aware as possible. Often, we find ourselves absent, yearning for the future or a nostalgic past, working through daily problems, while indifferent to what’s happening in front of us.”

Thesis Presentations: April 20, 2016. 3–5 PM
Opening Reception: Follows presentations. 5–7 PM

Sacred Sisters: In Praise of Art & Poetry

October 22-December 20, 2015

Sacred Sisters is a collaboration between visual artist Holly Trostle Brigham and award-winning poet Marilyn Nelson. Brigham’s paintings depict eight nuns from 12th-century Germany, 15th-century Italy, 16th-century Spain, 17th-century Mexico, 18th-century Japan, and 19th-century America and Brazil, each of whom was an artist or writer. While Brigham’s portraits imagine the nuns in the midst of their creative work, Nelson gives voice to each figure through a poem phrased as a prayer. Collectively, the works in the show explore issues relating to gender and creativity, religion and history, and the connections between the visual and literary arts.

Hildegard, 2011,watercolor on paper, © Holly Trostle Brigham, photographed by Ken Ek

Hildegard, 2011,watercolor on paper, © Holly Trostle Brigham, photographed by Ken Ek

 

Dead Hildegard, 2011, watercolor on paper, © Holly Trostle Brigham, photographed by Ken Ek

Dead Hildegard, 2011, watercolor on paper, © Holly Trostle Brigham, photographed by Ken Ek

 

The 49th Annual Art Department Faculty Show

October 22-December 20, 2015

This yearly exhibition highlights the work of the permanent faculty in the Art and Art History Department of the School of Fine Arts. A variety of media are featured, including 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.

Alison Paul, Equinox

Speak Up! Speak Out! Bread & Puppet Theater

May 28 – October 11, 2015

Opening Reception May 28, 4:30-7 pm

Speak Up! Speak Out! Bread and Puppet Theater presents puppets ranging in height up to 20 feet, masks, paintings, and other works from Peter Schumann’s Bread & Puppet Theater, which has left an indelible stamp on the world of theater and the American cultural landscape over the past half century.

This exhibition focuses on Bread & Puppet’s activist responses to fundamental political and social issues that have defined American culture over the past 50 years, including the war in Vietnam; Central American turmoil and Liberation Theology; the politics of black liberation as represented by the Attica prison uprising and the M.O.V.E. family in Philadelphia; opposition to nuclear weapons and nuclear power; and the war in Iraq.

Since Peter Schumann began his theater on New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1963, Bread & Puppet’s combination of modernist art and performance sensibilities with the desire to address critical social and political issues has created a new form of American puppetry capable of stunning beauty and provocative questioning, in contexts ranging from city streets, town squares, and traditional theater spaces to the expansive landscape of the theater’s home in Glover, Vermont. Writing of Bread & Puppet, the poet Grace Paley asked, “Why not speak the truth directly? Just speak out! Speak up! Speak to! Why not?”

Image Credit from Home Page:  Peter Schumann, Yama, the King of Hell, and the Birdcatcher, from The Birdcatcher in Hell.  2013.  Photo by Massimo Schuster.

 

Public Programs: The 2015 National Puppetry Festival of the Puppeteers of America will be celebrated at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT August 10-16, 2015 with more than 26 national and international performances, 30 professional workshops and master classes, 6 exhibitions, a parade, outdoor spectacles and many unanticipated events across the UConn campus and in Storrs Center. Visit online at nationalpuppetryfestival2015.com.
Note: Museum is Closed July 3 – 6 & August 16 – 31.

 

Peter Schumann, Mother Earth puppet. 1990s. Paper maché. Photo by John Bell

Remembering the Vietnam War

April 14 – August 9, 2015

The Benton marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War with an exhibition of American works of the era — from posters to photographs, prints, and UConn ephemera that convey the anti-war sentiments that were held by many. Featured are works by Nancy Spero, LeRoy Henderson, and Douglas Huebler, anti-war posters by Seymour Chwast and Peter Max, and student-produced posters illustrating the strong feelings that prevailed on the UConn campus.

This exhibition is a collaboration between the Benton and the University’s Asian and Asian American Studies Institute. 

Many of the posters included in the exhibition including the images below are from the Poras Collection, Alternative Press Collection, University Photographs Collection. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, University of Connecticut Libraries.

 

LeRoy Henderson, Anti-War, Anti-Nixon Rally, Washington, DC, 1973. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the June Kelly Gallery, NY.

Uncle Sam Now Playing Magician, Don Seebach, 1971
Uncle Sam Now Playing Magician, Don Seebach, 1971
March Against Death, Picasso, 1969
March Against Death, Picasso, 1969

An Exclusive Interview with Dorie Greenspan, Cookbook Writer Extraordinaire

Benton Museum Public Relations Intern Rachel Berliner had the opportunity recently to interview award-winning cookbook writer Dorie Greenspan prior to her program here on Thursday, March 5th from 5-6:30. The free event will include a talk and book signing followed by a dessert tasting of several recipes from her latest book, Baking Chez Moi. She will sign only those books purchased at the Benton. All proceeds from the book sale will go to the Museum’s Exhibition Fund.

What first interested you in baking?
When I look back, I see that I might have gotten interested in baking for all the wrong reasons, chief among them, playing to the crowd. I got married when I was in college and had neither baked nor cooked before we set up house. Cooking was a necessity – we couldn’t afford to eat out – and it was a skill I was looking forward to acquiring, mostly because I wanted to have bunches of friends around the table as often as possible. It didn’t take me long to realize that if I’d spent an entire day preparing dinner, as I often did, it was dessert that garnered the biggest grins.

And so I began to put more effort into baking and soon discovered that not only were my husband and friends happy, but I was too: I loved baking! I loved everything about it, from the basic ingredients and the process of working with them to serving and enjoying them. What fascinated me then and what continues to delight me is the magic of baking. Flour, sugar, butter and eggs are pretty much the foundations of baking, but they can be transformed into thousands of things. And each transformation is something to share and just about always something that makes people feel happy and cared for.

What do you consider the primary difference between American and French desserts?
Exuberance! American desserts often have more of everything than French desserts. American desserts are sweeter than their French counterparts, they’re richer, more elaborate, more decorated and bigger by a lot. For the most part, French desserts are more restrained. And they’re always served in smaller portions.

During the time you worked with Julia Child, what was the best baking advice she ever gave you?
It’s odd, but Julia never gave me any baking advice. She did, however, give me a piece of fashion advice that I took and have followed ever since. Julia told me to always wear lipstick! And I do.

What are your favorite desserts from the book?
I always find this a near-impossible question to answer. Since I choose all of the recipes that go into my books, it goes without saying that I love them all. But, with every book, a couple of recipes become my go-to choices.

With Baking Chez Moi, the two recipes that I use over and over again are: Custardy Apple Squares, a cross between a cake and a pudding that can be made on the spur of the moment; and Laurent’s Slow-Roasted Spiced Pineapple, a boozy dessert that can be fancy or plain, served solo or accompanied by a cookies.

What dessert would you recommend for a first-time baker?
I often recommend the Custardy Apple Squares because they are easy to make, naturally beautiful (no decoration needed), created from ingredients most of us have on hand most of the time and, of course, they’re delicious.

But I’m a believer in love-at-first-sight: If you see a picture that speaks to you or the name of a recipe that makes you dream, bake it! Only a handful of the recipes in Baking Chez Moi are complicated and, besides, even imperfect desserts are good desserts. Baking something at home and sharing it trumps little mistakes and mishaps.

What or who inspired your recipes in Baking Chez Moi?
I was, as I have been for years, inspired by France, its food and its traditions, and by my friends and neighbors in Paris. Because I have been living in Paris for almost 20 years, and because I have such wonderful and generous friends, I was able to write about an aspect of French pâtisserie that’s rarely revealed: French comfort baking, the kind of baking that French people do at home for their families and their closest friends. Discovering this style of baking was like uncovering a parallel universe.

What’s coming next?
I’m working on a cookie cookbook. The book doesn’t have a title yet – titles are so hard! – but it does have a deadline: I must finish my manuscript by July 1, so that the book can be published next fall. Stop by my house anytime between now and my deadline and you’re bound to find every surface of the kitchen covered with cookie-filled cooling racks.

For more about Dorie Greenspan’s food adventures, please visit www.doriegreenspan.com

In the Paint: Basketball in Contemporary Art

January 22 –March 29, 2015

The exhibition will feature artworks in a variety of media that explore the world of basketball.  Concepts of performance, competition, branding, and spectacle are central to the work of contemporary artists who engage with the sport as subject matter.  Their work reveals structural similarities between the spheres of athletics and art, where athletes and artists alike are constantly engrossed in practice, promotion, and play to refine their skills and dominate their chosen fields.

In addition to highlighting the basketball-inspored artwork of contemporary artists, In the Paint aims to celebrate the history of the sport at UConn.  The exhibition’s two goals align in the two-channel video installation One on One by Janet Biggs, which features alumnae Morgan Valley (2000-2004) and Maria Conlon (2004).

The present overview only briefly describes what promises to be a powerful, rich, and engaging visual experience with broad public appeal.  In the Paint will add new dimensions to the ways of seeing the sport.

 

Stacked Basketball nets
Awol Erizku, “Oh what a feeling, aw, fuck it, I want a Trillion,” 2014 Mixed media with seven regulation size basketball rims, 24 karat gold plated nets, and Spalding NBA Brooklyn Nets team basketball. Courtesy of the artist and Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, NYC
Two basketball players jumping to put basketball into a noose
Hank Willis Thomas. “And One”, 2011 From the series: Strange FruitDigital chromogenic color print. Museum purchase.

 

Sweet Sensations: UConn Reads The Omnivores Dilemma

January 22 –March 29, 2015

Exhibition complimenting the 4th Annual UConn Reads.

Since its publication, Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) has sparked a national conversation about American ways of eating and their impact on our health and environment. With our passion for the environment, health, and human rights, the UConn community is ready for a wide-ranging debate about the culture, politics, and science of eating.

On view at the museum is Sweet Sensations, an exhibition of works portraying sinfully seductive foods juxtaposed with book excerpts about additives to the American food systems.

“Heavenly Donuts”, 2014, by Peter Anton, Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and UNIX Gallery, NYC
Peter Anton, “Heavenly Donuts”, 2014 Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and UNIX Gallery, NYC
Work by artist Peter Anton, entitled Jubilant Assortment, dated 2014. Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and UNIX Gallery, NYC
Peter Anton, Jubilant Assortment, 2014. Mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and UNIX Gallery, NYC