Facing History: Social Commentary in Contemporary American Art

October 28 to March 11, 2022

Artists confront the legacies of past injustices in Facing History: Social Commentary in Contemporary American Art. Drawn from the Benton’s collection, these works explore issues of colonialism, gender and ethnic bias, and oppression through a variety of means. Some artists juxtapose appropriated imagery and symbols to subvert dominant narratives. Others use the language of advertising to level their critique. By drawing attention to difficult aspects of American history and culture, these works demand change while underscoring the enduring impacts of the past on contemporary society.

The exhibition brings together works of art by Philip Guston, Guerrilla Girls, Melvin Edwards, Todd Gray, Kerry James Marshall, Enrique Chagoya, Roger Shimomura and Hank Willis Thomas. It is co-sponsored by the American Studies program at the University of Connecticut.


PROGRAMS:  RSVP appreciated to benton@uconn.edu
Events c
o-sponsored by American Studies and the Center for the Study of Popular Music at UConn.

Spring 2022

Tuesday, February 8, 3:30pm – 4:30pm –  Kelly Dennis, Associate Professor of Digital Culture, and Heather Elliott-Famularo, Department Head, Digital Media & Design, discuss work by the Guerrilla Girls in the Facing History exhibition.

Wednesday, February 23, 3pm – 5pm –  Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon is an annual, global collaborative effort to redress the under representation of women, gender fluid, and BIPOC women editors and artists to the global online encyclopedia. artandfeminism.org offers online training for instructors/editors, provides grant monies for pizza and childcare, and backup when the inevitable “old guard” male Wiki editor resistance to an addition kicks in. The edit-a-thon is held globally in and around March, which is Women’s History Month.

Kelly Dennis, Associate Professor of Digital Culture in the Department of Digital Media & Design, will introduce the Edit-a-Thon and offer a crash course in Wikipedia editing. Bring your laptop to join the edit-a-thon and help close the information gaps related to gender, feminism, and the arts.
More information: https://artfeminismwikiedit.uconn.edu/#


Fall 2021

Thursday, October 28, 3:30pm –  Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar, Professor of History and Director, Center for the Study of Popular Music at UConn, presents a playlist inspired by the exhibition, Facing History.  In collaboration with American Studies & the Center for Popular Music at UConn.  This event is followed by hot cider and donuts in The Benton courtyard.

Friday, October 29, 2pm – Dialogue about works in the exhibition with Manisha Sinha, James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at UConn, and Kelli Morgan, Director of Curatorial Studies at Tufts University.  In collaboration with American Studies and the Center for Popular Music at UConn

Friday, November 5, 2pm – Dialogue about works in the exhibition with Elizabeth Athens, Assistant Professor of Art History and Gregory Pierrot, Associate Professor in English.  Co-sponsored by the American Studies and Center for Popular Music.

Dont' Fade Me Out #2 by Todd Gray. Chromogenic color print with ink.
Todd Gray, Don’t Fade Me Out #2 (The U.S. imprisons more Blacks than the government of South Africa), 1996, Chromogenic color print with ink, William Benton Museum of Art.