The year 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the School of Fine Arts and, while the Benton did not become a part of the School until 1997, it is a part of the history of the School. Since 1967 the Museum has hosted the annual art department faculty exhibition. In celebration of the 50th anniversary, the Museum is proud to present a visual time capsule of the Art Department from 1961 to 2001. Emeriti faculty from every decade and from all across the country will exhibit work created during their time at the University, and the history of the styles, media, and individuals from these times will be recreated on the walls of the Benton.
Barkley L. Hendricks: Some Like it Hot focuses on the artist’s work created in response to his travels to Jamaica and West Africa. With their compelling scenery and inhabitants, these tropical regions have provided him with a wealth of inspiration, and the resulting photographs and paintings represent a significant portion of his creative output. The exhibition includes large-scale figurative paintings, a series of landscapes on lunette and tondo shaped canvases, renderings in oil and watercolor of fruits and vegetation, and photographs selected from his prolific production in that mediumamong them a suite of photographs of activist and Afrobeat icon Fela Kuti that will be exhibited for the first time.
This popular showcase of current work by the studio faculty of the Art and Art History Department is a yearly event that introduces the work of the permanent faculty. The exhibition presents a variety of media including painting, sculpture, illustration, graphic design, printmaking, photography and video. This diverse body of works highlights many of the significant directions in contemporary art as well as the unique vision of each artist-faculty member. Seventeen faculty members from the Storrs and branch campuses will be exhibiting. Printmaker Laurie Sloan and photographer Frank Noelker are this year’s featured artists.
ICI has invited 35 curators from around the world to each select one single-channel video work, culminating in the four-part touring video program that is Project 35. Mining on ICI’s extensive international network of professionals, the project is a budding model for organizing, sharing and circulating art videos as cultural objects. In selecting works and inserting them into new contexts, ICI has borrowed from the organizing principle of montage. But Project 35 goes beyond this model of editing, and its final form is more open; it exceeds the limitations of montage, and bares greater potential for audience participation. Indeed, the selection process is deliberately idiosyncraticone curator selects an artist work and the compilation is organized along structural rather than topical lines. The result is a greater engagement from the spectator who will imaginatively produce meaning across the videos. The possibilities for decoding these works are infinitely richer, as the traditional boundaries between curators and audience become blurrier in this new type of montage. In turn, the distinction between producer and consumer fades out, giving rise to new possibilities and potential of video as a medium.
This summer the Benton returns to a popular practice of presenting mini-exhibitions from its permanent collections of works from the 16th to the 21st centuries. The familiar and the not-so-familiar will be hung in a variety of theme-related groupings beside new acquisitions, many that have never been exhibited before. Highlights will include 17th-century Italian drawings, paintings and pastels by American artists Dwight Tryon, Maurice Prendergast and Mary Cassatt, a selection of photographic portraits by Malian photographer Seydou Keita, Pop Art-inspired prints by German artists working in the 1960s, and a selection of contemporary photography.
The colored woodcut was ubiquitous in 19th-century Japan, and for Europeans a source of artistic influence and of pleasure in collecting them. The late 19th-century artistic influence of the woodcut lay in its disavowal of Western perspective, an ingrained facility for two-dimensional patterning, and an unwavering sense of coloration. The pleasure of collecting the color woodcuts in the late 19th and 20th centuries lay in a more profound interest in Asian arts, Chinese as well as Japanese, than had been expressed by the decoratively brilliant but very western Chinoiserie of the 18th century.
Serious collecting of Japanese woodcuts in the West began in the late 19th century, followed closely by scholarship aimed at organizing, identifying, and researching the objects in these collections by artists, schools, periods, styles, and subject matter. In the last three to four decades of the 20th century, however, the basic cataloguing of collections was superseded by a broadened interest in the cultural contextualization of the prints in the totality of Japanese society of the 18th and 19th centuries. The beauty, technical facility, and historical place of the Japanese colored woodcut are, perhaps, no more appreciated now than in the past, though it is arguably more broadly understood today.
Two of the most important centers of woodcut production were Edomodern-day Tokyoand Osaka. Osaka was famous for its theaters, actors, and plays, and in the 19th century a market for colored woodcuts depicting popular actors and familiar scenes from the Kabuki theater flourished. It was Osaka theater prints that comprised the George Lincoln bequest to the Benton in 2005, a gift that became a new area of collecting for the Museum. Since then the Museum has added new works to the Lincoln collection and has expanded the range of subjects to include the female beauties that were so popular in Edo prints.
One important genre of 19th century colored woodcut production that has yet to be represented in the Benton collections is the landscape. Landscape was as significant as the beauties and the actors, and the very generous loan to this exhibition of landscape prints as well as selected others from the collections of St. Joseph’s College (West Hartford, Connecticut) has enabled the Benton to present a fuller and more rounded cross-section of work from this era. Regardless of how one views the beauties, the actors, and the landscapesas cultural artifacts or artistic landmarks in this exhibition, they hold our attention, broaden our knowledge, and, above all, add immeasurable beauty to our daily lives.
In collaboration with the Connecticut Repertory Theatre production of “Seussical: The Musical” (June 16 -26), the Benton Museum will present a retrospective of works by “America’s favorite illustrator,” a small but comprehensive exhibition of rare original works by Ted Geisel, a.k.a.
Dr. Seuss. This engaging collection showcases some of his earliest sketches of the Cat in the Hat and Horton the Elephant, and shows how his iconic and beloved characters evolved during his lifetime.
The exhibition includes published illustrations, political cartoons, sketches, drawings, sculpture, prints, and whimsical paintings created in the artist’s later years, along with panels, labels and music from some of the most popular animated treatments of “The Grinch,” “Horton Hears a Who,” Seussical, and “Gerald McBoing Boing.”
The Art of Dr. Seuss brings together loans from private collections and Animazing Gallery in New York.
The William Benton Museum of Art thanks Hamilton Sundstrand for their support of The Art of Dr. Seuss and Animazing Gallery for their generosity in lending all the works in this exhibition.
Death and dying are the subjects of this small out-of-the-ordinary exhibition of works from the Benton collections. Featured works are George Bellows’ 1918 lithograph, Death of Edith Cavell, and William Morris Hunt’s Our Sick Soldier.
The Bellows work depicts the moments before German soldiers execute a nurse who operated a hospital for wounded soldiers fighting the Germans during World War I. Our Sick Solider is a charming Civil War period print that portrays two little girls pretending to play nurse to their wounded Union soldier doll.
This exhibition was created in support of a Nursing School course, The End of Life: A Multicultural Interdisciplinary Experience, taught by Thomas Lawrence Long, PhD, Associate Professor-in-Residence. The course focuses on issues related to end-of-life care and planning, death and dying in different cultures, and different forms of cultural production, including grave art and architecture, visual arts, literature.
Since the First World War, the American Red Cross has been using posters to educate the general public about its disaster relief efforts overseas and on the home front and to generate support for services like nursing, health and safety training, and fundraising. Posters were circulated and displayed nationwide, and sought to rally volunteers into action with the use of such cultural icons as the Red Cross Nurse, the Greatest Mother, and even Uncle Sam, figures that became synonymous with the Red Cross’s humanitarian activities.
Posters such as those in this exhibition were typically reproduced from a single original work done in oil, pastel, or charcoal. Leading artists and illustrators of this medium include Howard Chandler Christy, James Montgomery Flagg, Norman Rockwell, and N.C. Wyeth.
The exhibition includes newspaper and magazine illustrations after Thomas Nast (1863), Charles Dana Gibson (1903), and Stevan Dohanos (1949) that emphasize the nurturing role of the nursing profession and posters from the First and Second World Wars that seek to recruit women into nursing to aid the war efforts or appeal to the patriotic role of the nurse. Among them are works designed by Albert Sterner (1918) and James Montgomery Flagg (ca. 1943).
This exhibition honors Josephine Dolan, the first professor of the School of Nursing at the University of Connecticut and the collector of these works. The exhibition coincides with the April 13th groundbreaking for the new 15,800 square-foot Widmer Wing of the UConn School of Nursing on the Storrs campus.
The Benton is proud to present this year’s MFA Exhibition, showcasing sculptures by Lani Asuncion, photographs and videos by Siobhan Landry, photographs by Rita Lombardi, paintings by Benjamin Piwowar, and sculptures and videos by Jamie Uretsky.