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


Visual AIDS

On view on the Balcony Gallery from September 1 – December 18, 2016

This marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of the first published reports of what would come to be called the AIDS epidemic with exhibitions at The Benton Museum, the Dodd Research Center, and at the School of Nursing. Ironically, 2016 also marks another AIDS anniversary: twenty years since the introduction of protease inhibitors and other retroviral drug combinations that turned HIV infection from a death sentence to a manageable chronic infection. To mark these events, the William Benton Museum of Art has worked with Dr. Thomas Lawrence Long to curate an exhibition which helps shed light on these happenings. This exhibit assembles images produced in response to the AIDS epidemic or by artists associated with it, and highlights how artists and AIDs activists produced a variety of imagery in an attempt to control the way the disease was perceived by the public.

See http://wp.dolancollection.uconn.edu/aids35/ for other AIDS related exhibitions on the UConn Storrs campus.

Listen to Thomas Long, Curator of the exhibition at the Benton on WNPR’s “Where we Live” http://wnpr.org/post/marking-35-years-hivaids

Guerrilla Girls, Missing in Action, 1991, Poster

Guerrilla Girls, Missing in Action, 1991, Poster

 David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Buffalo), 1988, Platinum Print
David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Buffalo), 1988, Platinum Print

Presidential Campaigning Over the Decades: The Mark and Rosalind Shenkman Collection of Early American Campaign Flags

September 9 – December 18, 2016
The exhibition consists of more than 60 rare and important presidential campaign flags and textiles produced between 1815 and 1912. Also on view is an official Massachusetts broadside of the Declaration of Independence, printed in Massachusetts on July 20, 1776, before word reached them that the New York state delegates had adopted the Declaration. This copy shows New York as abstaining.

We at the Benton Museum wish to extend our deepest thanks to Mark Shenkman (CLAS 1965, Honorary 2007) for graciously and generously loaning his important collection.  Mr. Shenkman is a UConn alumnus, founder of Shenkman Capital Management Inc., and is Chair emeritus of the University of Connecticut’s Foundation Board of Directors. We also extend our gratitude to Jeff Bridgman, the leading expert on early American flags for his indispensable assistance and his expertise.

Public Programs:
Thursday, October 66 pm
Lecture:  Jeff R. Bridgman, owner of Jeff R. Bridgman Antiques, Inc., is an expert on antique American flags, and preeminent dealer in American political textiles. In addition to buying, evaluating, researching and writing about flags, Jeff and his staff for the past 17 years have operated a textile conservation lab. He has lectured on antique American flags for many years and has curated museum exhibits and performed appraisals for both leading museums and insurance companies. Jeff, who has his antiques business headquartered in historic York County, Pennsylvania, has helped to build many of the nation’s best private collections of antique flags and actively curates some of the most significant among them. He serves on the board of directors of the Stars & Stripes Foundation, which presents exhibits nationwide. Jeff is a member of the three top professional organizations in America for the antiques trade, The Antiques & Arts Dealer’s League of America, the American Antiques Dealers Association, and the Antiques Council. He has served on the boards and committees of two of these and is regularly asked to appraise quality and authenticity at vetted antique shows. www.jeffbridgman.com
A short reception preceeds the talk.

Friday, October 14, 6-7pm:
“Teddy Roosevelt: Mind, Body, and Spirit.”   * Tickets Required; Limited Availability
Ted Zalewski, accomplished actor, author and historian, will present “Teddy Roosevelt: Mind, Body and Spirit.”
One man, one hour, do not miss actor/author/educator Ted Zalewski bring to life one of America’s greatest presidents! Combining history, drama and fun, he gives voice to many of Roosevelt’s own words, writings and beliefs. Cowboy, soldier, naturalist, historian, father, statesman and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace, Theodore Roosevelt lived a life that inspires us still.

“Meet the President” reception after the performance.

Tickets Required in advance as space is limited. $5 admission to general public; Students Free with ID. Purchase tickets at the Museum’s Visitor’s Service Desk or email karen.sommer@uconn.edu.

First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare


September 1 – 25, 2016

Opening Reception: September 1, 4:30–6:30 PM

Macbeth, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night. These famous plays and 15 others by Shakespeare would probably have been lost to us without the First Folio. Published in 1623, the First Folio is the first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays, and only 233 copies are known today. This year, to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Folger Shakespeare Library is sending a First Folio to every state in the United States, and we have been selected for Connecticut. Join us in September 2016 in celebrating the greatest playwright of the English language with this exhibit from the world’s largest Shakespeare collection. (shakespeare.uconn.edu/what-is-the-first-folio/)

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library, is a national traveling exhibition organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC, and produced in association with the American Library Association and the Cincinnati Museum Center. First Folio! has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, and by the support of Google.org, Vinton and Sigrid Cerf, The British Council, and other generous donors. (shakespeare.uconn.edu)

Booking a School Trip: School tours can be scheduled and will include UConn faculty speaking about various aspects of the First Folio and Shakespeare in addition to a museum tour.  School tours are available Tuesday through Friday at 10:30am, 11:30am and 1pm.*  Call the Benton Museum at 860-486-4520 or submit this form to book your trip today!

*Self-guided tour groups will not be admitted during scheduled times of 10:30, 11:30, and 1pm. Groups of 12 or more must schedule their visit in advance or tours may be turned away due to overcrowding.

Tours at other times will be self-guided.

Featured Image Credit:  Title page with Droeshout engraving of Shakespeare. From the Folger Shakespeare Library.


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.



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

Guerrilla Girls: Art, Activism & the “F” Word

March 24 – May 22, 2016
Opening Reception March 24, 4:30 – 7 pm.

Founded in 1985, a group of female artists joined together to form the Guerrilla Girls, an art activist group devoted to protesting the under-representation of female artists in many of the world’s most prominent art museums. Since then, they have grown into a large organization that continues to fight for gender and racial equality in the arts by exposing and questioning the status quo. Through a mixture of comedy, facts, and shock, they design and put up posters for the sake of art activism and their mission of ‘redefining the F-word: Feminism!’ This exhibition features a collection of works from the museum’s newly acquired Guerrilla Girls Portfolio Compleat (1985 – 2012), and seeks to shed light on the group’s revolutionary and evolving tactics that have allowed them to combat racism and sexism in the arts and to positively affect art her-story.

April 6, 5 – 6:30 pm: Guerrilla Girls Gig – Watch a full recording of this event!
Join the Guerrilla Girls for an exciting and thought provoking evening.  For years, the Guerrilla Girls have been stirring up audiences with their presentations and workshops in full jungle drag. They have appeared at schools, museums and organizations of all types, in almost every state in the U.S. and on almost every continent.

Their performance will take the audience through their history and the ideas behind their activism tools. How they came up with some of their many, many posters, books (The Guerrilla Girls Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art, Bitches, Bimbos and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls’ Guide to Female Stereotypes, The Guerrilla Girls’ Hysterical Herstory of Hysteria and How It Was Cured, From Ancient Times Until No) and actions about discrimination in art, film, politics, etc. Meet the Guerrilla Girls and bring your questions!

April 29, 5 – 7 pm: Salon at the Benton, Art and Conversation
Panel Discussion engaging with the audience on Art, Activism and the “F” word. Is it still relevant today? Panelists: Sharon Butler & Mary Banas. Moderated by Cora Lynn Deibler.

Guerrilla Girls Poster
Guerrilla Girls, Do Women Have to be Naked to Get Into the Met. Museum?, 1989, Poster. Benton Museum purchase 2016
Guerrilla Girls, The World Needs a New Weapon: The Estrogen Bomb, 2012, Poster. Benton Museum, Purchased 2016.
Guerrilla Girls, The World Needs a New Weapon: The Estrogen Bomb, 2012, Poster. Benton Museum purchase 2016.

Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art

June 2 – July 31, 2016
Opening Reception June 2, 4:30–6:30 pm.

This exhibition explores the medium of inflatable art with imagery that is figurative, conceptual, and abstract.
These inflatable sculptures connote fun and whimsy, and challenge our everyday, feet-on-the-ground perspective.

Blow Up was organized by Carrie Lederer, Curator of Exhibitions, Bedford Gallery, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA. This exhibition was made possible by a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts.

Image Credit: Claire Ashley, Thing Two, 2012. Spray paint on PVC coated canvas tarpaulin and fan.
Image Credit from home page: Billie G. Lynn, White Elephant 1, 2007, ripstop nylon, chiffon, electric fan.

Overfelt, Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am
Guy Overfelt, Untitled (1977 Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am replica), 1999, inflatable nylon and electric blower, 4.5 x 17 x 7 feet. Courtesy of Ever Gold Gallery, San Francisco, CA

Lynn, White Elephant
Billie Grace Lynn, White Elephant 1, 2007, ripstop nylon, chiffon, electric fan, 10 x 6 x 8 feet.