Benton Opening Reception showcases two new exhibits

By Lauren Brown for the Daily Campus

The Benton hosted an opening reception for its two latest exhibits this past Thursday in the East Gallery. The gallery featured “Ancestors of the Passage” by Imna Arroyo and the 51st Annual Studio Art Faculty Exhibition. While strolling through the gallery, attendees were treated to live music from student musicians Nathan Giordano, Kevin Duffy and Steven McArdle, light refreshments and a cash bar.

As soon as attendees walked into the gallery, they were greeted by Imna Arroyo’s “Ancestors of the Passage” installation. The exhibit was inspired by this semester’s UConn Reads book, “The Refugees” by Viet Thanh Nguyen. The walls were covered with photos of Arroyo’s creative process and informational panels describing how things were made and what she was trying to convey.

The exhibit itself took up a fair amount of the floor and considerable wall space, telling the story of those who were lost at sea by having figurines rise from the water. Her piece also incorporated sound, video and two-dimensional art in order to truly set the scene and enforce her message

In the larger room of the gallery, the Benton hosted the 51st Annual Studio Art Faculty Exhibition. The exhibition displayed pieces created by University of Connecticut faculty, which featured a wide variety of media.

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The Wave Exhibit reminds visitors how the world is connected by water

By Alex Houdeshall for the Daily Campus

The 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan washed away thousands of houses, stranded or destroyed tens of thousands of boats, took more than 25 thousand lives and planted an idea in the mind of Hartford-based artist Susan Hoffman Fishman. Seeing how the wave reached every coast in the world, Fishman realized how water connects all of humanity. Working with Stamford-based artist Elena Kalman, Fishman created “The Wave,” an art exhibit emphasizing the universality and importance of water, which visited the William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut over Family Weekend on Saturday.

Hanging across the large window on the second floor of the Benton, The Wave filtered the sunlight through its multicolored polycarbonate strips and sheets. Everywhere The Wave goes, visitors are invited to cut out a wave from a sheet of polycarbonate or recyclable plastic. Whatever they think a wave looks like, or however they want to visualize the wave, they cut it out of a sheet of plastic. Then all these cutouts are strung together by the artists and hung as they travel around with their exhibit.

Benton Operations Manager Karen Sommer saw the exhibit at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and, in order to help expand the scope of the exhibit further, she invited the exhibit to the Benton over UConn’s Family Weekend. The goal of the project is to show communities and institutions, like museum visitors, how far-reaching our impacts on water can be.

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‘Unfiltered: An Exhibition About Water’ At Benton In Storrs

By Susan Dunne for CTNOW

Water is perceived many ways. It is sustenance. It is symbolic. It nourishes the ecosystem. It is reflective. It is both crystal-clear and full of tiny critters. It has an ever-changing surface. It is dangerous. It can be politicized. It is a factor of everyday life, for those fortunate enough to have easy access to it. For those without easy access, it is more precious than gold.

It makes sense that the new water-themed exhibit at Benton Museum in Storrs is presented by various academic departments at UConn: art, natural resources, environmental engineering, marine sciences, water resources. Each artwork in the show sees water through a different lens, even an abstract lens. Water is also a philosophical concept.

Six oils on canvas by Leif Nilsson of Chester can be seen in a variety of ways. The placid scenes of the Long Island Sound and creeks near the shoreline are pretty. And yet the scenes also have environmental dept.

“The general public will see the beautiful flowers and will appreciate the lighting and the atmosphere, but people who are tied in to the issues that impact the Connecticut River will look at these in a different way,” said Nancy Stula, the Benton’s director, who co-curated the exhibit. “These purple flowers are loose strife, an invasive plant. Those yellow flowers are yellow irises, which are also invasive.”

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Benton Museum brings women behind prominent art forward

By Dan Wood for the Daily Campus

“Why don’t we talk about women artists? I have never heard of this painter, why should I care?” asked host speaker and associate professor Alexis Boylan in a devil’s advocate pitch to her guest speaker, Dr. Emily Burns.

“Great question.” Burns said. “This is a question I often ask my students at Auburn University. We have spent time dissecting this conundrum, looking into the lives of women artists. We see that they are able to gain prominence in their own lives and mediums but not in a historical context, and it is important to understand the factors that affect this.”

The focus of the talk held in the William Benton Museum of Art on Tuesday afternoon primarily inspected the life and work of late painter Ellen Emmet Rand. As one part of a four-part exhibition that opened last month titled “Work It: Emily Emmett Rand & Women Artists of the 20th Century,” the late painter’s works can be found in the first gallery space past the permanent installation gallery. With the overwhelming majority of her work being commissioned portraits, Rand proved to be a shining example of how women in art were able to “work it” even with the odds against them.

“The exhibit that is open now is only a small part of the full collection that will be opening in 2018 in addition to the first-ever academic book on [Rand] and her remarkable life. Emily Burns and I have been working to catalog and piece together her life through archived works of art, documents, diaries and correspondence. We have to read between the lines pretty heavily but that is what we have to do,” Boylan said.

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Benton opens four new exhibits in one night

By Dan Wood for the Daily Campus

The William Benton Museum of Art held a reception Thursday afternoon debuting four new exhibits focused on the central theme women in art.

The featured exhibits were “WORK IT” composed of oil paintings primarily from Ellen Emmet Rand, “Objectifying Myself: Works by Women Artists from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts,” “Liz Whitney Quisgard: An Installation” of textile based art, and Stanwyck Cromwell’s “Progression Then & Now.”

The entire museum featured themes of women, but the works that covered the display space comprised a wide range of mediums, materials and styles.

Some were objectively feminine or feminist in nature whilst others were not so fast to give up what they had to say.

The first and most prominent works displayed were created by Ellen Rand. Rand was one of the most important and prolific portrait painters in the United States in the first decades of the 20th century.

Her works include portraits of Henry James, artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and over 800 other artists, industrialists, scientists and politicians.

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Women Create Art Reflecting Their Lives, Thoughts In Benton Exhibit

By Susan Dunne for the Hartford Courant

For centuries, male artists have created portraits of women, presenting the women as they chose and often using those women to represent concepts that were all about the artist and not about the subject. After a while, women were bound to get tired of that.

An exhibit at the Benton museum at UConn takes on this subject head-on, beginning with the title of the show. “Objectifying Myself” showcases the work of dozens of female artists who have created work that reflected their own lives, their own thoughts, their own self-images. Some of the work takes the form of self-portraits that push the boundaries of self-portraiture. Even if they don’t depict the artists accurately, that was a decision the artists made. They are literally objectifying themselves.

“There are no bodies, just objects. These are not traditional self-portraits,” said Nancy Stula, director of the Benton, who chose 43 works from the collection of women’s art at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. “These feminist artists are trying to reclaim their bodies from the male gaze.”

Artist Julie Heffernan spelled out this philosophy in a 2013 interview. “I wanted to paint the figure but did not want to objectify women. I was addressing that concern during my still life phase; taking my own body out of the painting but calling it a self-portrait anyway, was a way of saying ‘I’m not this physical body alone; I’m this cornucopia of experiences, and pictures in my head’.”

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50th Anniversary Celebration – Silent Auction

Tour of Sol LeWitt's Home Studio & Lunch for 8
(First 8 highest bids win)
Retail Value: Priceless
Donor: Carol LeWitt

White Glove Tour and Wine Reception for 6 at the Hill-Stead Museum
Retail Value: $400
Donor: Hill-Stead Museum

2 Tickets to "Come from Away A New Musical" on Broadway
Retail Value: $314
Donor: Alchemy Production Group

Solomiya Ivakhiv40 Minute Solo Violin Performance at your home for a small group of friends.
Solomiya Ivakhiv is an International soloist and Assistant Professor at UConn, noted forperforming with “a distinctive charm and subtle profundity”.
Retail Value: Priceless Donor: Solomiya Ivakhiv

2 Tickets to The Glass Menagerie on Broadway
Retail Value: $300
Donor: Ruth Hendel

4-18 Holes with a Cart for 4 people
Retail Value: $200
Donor: Twin Hills Country Club

Dinner at Cafemantic, Willimantic
"Ingeniously conceived and deftly executed" - NYT
Retail Value: $50
Donor: Cafemantic

Gift Certificate to the Salon or Spa and Salon Products
Retail Value: $150
Donor: Headliners Salon an Spa, Tolland, CT

Dinner for two at Bobby Flay's Bar American or Todd English Tuscany
Retail Value: $200
Donor: The Mohegan Tribe

4 Tickets to Broadway's Supper Club Feinstein's/54 Below
Retail Value: $300
Donor: Tom Viertel

2 Show Tickets to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre & Drinks at Blue Jeans Pub
Retail Value: $70
Donor: Eugene O'Neill Theatre

1 Night Double Occupancy at The Fitch House Bed & Breakfast
Retail Value: $190
Donor: Fitch House Bed & Breakfast

1 Weekend Night at the Courtyard by Marriott, Manchester
Retail Value: $159
Donor: Courtyard Inn by Marriott

1 Weekend Night in a Suite at the Residence Inn in Manchester
Retail Value: $159
Donor: Residence Inn by Marriott

1 Hour Tour of Artist Deborah Dancy's Studio for 6 people
Retail Value:  Priceless
Donor: Deborah Dancy

1 Family Membership + Gift Certificate to FloGris Café
Retail Value: $125
Donor: Florence Griswold Museum

4 Tickets to a UConn Women's Basketball Game, 2017-2018 Season
Donor: UConn  Women's Basketball

4 General Admission Tickets to Mystic Aquarium
Retail Value: $120
Donor: Mystic Aquarium

4 General Admission Tickets to Mystic Seaport + Bag of Seaport Swag
Retail Value: $200
Donor: Mystic Seaport

1 Hr. Nutritional Consul + Audio CD on Mindful Eating
Retail Value: $100
Donor: Shoshana Levinson - Eat Well USA

$50 Dollar Gift Certificate (5 Available)
Retail Value: $50 each
Donor: Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts

Show Tickets to "Shrek the Musical", April 20 - April 30
Retail Value:  $78
Donor: CT Repertory Theatre


A treetop adventure for two (3 hour climb)
Retail Value:  $94
Donor: The Adventure Park at Storrs



Lunch for two at The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret
Retail Value:  $25
Donor: The Vanilla Bean Cafe

Lunch for two at Dog Lane Cafe, Storrs Center
Retail Value:  $30
Donor: Dog Lane Cafe


Brunch at Monet's Table, Tolland
Retail Value:  $50
Donor: Monet's Table


2016 St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc
2012 Steel Pacini Zinfandel
Retail Value:  $40
Donor: Worldwide Wine Cellars, Tolland


2013 Beauleau Vineyards, Rutherford, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Retail Value:  $45
Donor: Meadowbrook Wine & Spirit, Coventry


2012 Beaulieu Vineyard Reserve Tapestry
Retail Value: $83
Donor: Meadowbrook Wine & Spirit, Coventry


2015 Donzante Pinot Gregio
2015 Robert Monday Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon
Retail Value:  $20
Donor: Storrs Wine & Spirits, Storrs Center

Gift Certificate to the Katmandu Kitchen & Bar in Storrs Center
Retail Value:  $25
Donor: Katmandu Kitchen & Bar


3 Month Individual Membership to the Mansfield Community Center
Retail Value:  $165
Donor: Mansfield Community Center

Music StandUnique Wood-Turned Music Stand in Tiger Maple wood master crafted by Don Postemski
Retail Value:  $500
Donor: Jim Stebbins

Party Platter for 10 with wraps
Retail Value:  $70
Donor: Gannett Wraps

Handmade wooden cheese boardHandcrafted Wooden Cheeseboard and Wine Stopper
Retail Value: $70
Donor: Waldo and Lin Klein


Complimentary Tickets to The Wadsworth Atheneum
Retail Value: $120
Donor: The Wadsworth Atheneum

Wine tasting for Two at Gouveia Vineyards
Retail Value: $24
Donor: Anonymous

$50 Gift Certificate for an Ice Cream Cake
Retail Value $50
Donor: UConn Dairy Bar



50th Anniversary Celebration – Details

A groovin’ 60s cocktail party!

Saturday, April 8, 2017
7–10 pm
at The William Benton Museum of Art
Honorary Chair: Carol LeWitt

7–9 pm Cocktails, Hors d’Oeuvres & Silent Auction
8–10 pm Live Sixties Music with The Fever Band
9–10 pm Dessert & Coffee

Optional: Wear your groovin’ 60s threads!

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by Cafemantic.

Proceeds from the Benton Museum’s Silent Auction provide necessary support for the Museum’s education, outreach, and public programs, and will be directed to the UConn Foundation Benton Directors Fund.


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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