2018 Art Exhibitions
A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions
Through November 25, 2018
This exhibition traces the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest Mexican-inspired Saltillo serapes, c. 1880, to mid-20th-century pictorial rugs. The items on display—some of which have never been publicly exhibited—are from the collection of Miss Margaret Cranford (1887 – 1974), a resident of Greenwich. At the age of 21, Miss Cranford began a lifelong pursuit of traveling across the United States and the world, collecting fine decorative art, jewelry, and textiles.
ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection
September 22 – December 30, 2018
ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection is an engaging and thought-provoking look at the unexpected subject of tools. Featuring more than 40 richly imaginative paintings, sculptures, photographs, and sketches, the Museum’s signature fall exhibition celebrates the prevalence of tools in our lives with art that transforms utilitarian objects into fanciful works that speak of beauty, insight, and wit.
Curated by Jared Packard-Winkler, ReTooled presents the works in four sections: Objects of Beauty, Material Illusions, Instruments of Satire, and Tools: An Extension of Self. Some of the artists featured portray tools with reverence to emphasize their purity of design, while others disfigure and transform implements to highlight their obsolescence in today’s world of glass, steel, and technology.
These works were brought together in the 1980s by John Hechinger, owner of a chain of hardware stores in the Mid-Atlantic region. His intent to beautify a new company headquarters led to the acquisition of a tool-inspired collection of 20th-century art. ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection was organized by International Arts and Artists, Washington, DC. Gift of John and June Hechinger. The exhibition is supported by Northern Trust, The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund, the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Turner Construction Co., and a Committee of Honor chaired by Nancy Duffy, Julia Nusseibeh, Candace Procaccini, and Debbie Simon.
Downsized: Small-Scale Sculpture by Contemporary Artists
November 3, 2018 – January 27, 2019
Enticing viewers to take a closer look, this exhibition of miniatures, models, and dioramas explores interior and exterior architecture in a range of scales. Some works contemplate the structure and its place in history as a monument to architectural creativity, others pay homage to the history of an urban environment, yet others depict fanciful, surreal places that could only exist in miniature. The mood or sensation evoked by the sculptures encourages observers to suspend their perception of reality and to invent their own narrative. These mixed media sculptures fascinate because of the juxtaposition of size and subject and elicit amazement at the precision of the workmanship.
The Dawn of Modern Medicine: Selections from the Medical Artifact Collection of M. Donald Blaufox, MD, PhD
November 24, 2018 – April 7, 2019
The 19th century witnessed a remarkable transformation of the field of medical practice. At the beginning of the century, medical instruments were often beautifully crafted but could not be sterilized. As the era progressed, germ theory became accepted and aseptic tools replaced aesthetically pleasing instruments made of wood, ivory, and ebony. Advancing technology brought the world new ways to diagnose illness such as the stethoscope, x-rays, and sphygmomanometer (for blood pressure). Many of these innovative instruments are direct precursors of those used by present-day doctors, often with remarkably little modification.
This exhibition will showcase approximately 100 artifacts from the collection of M. Donald Blaufox, MD, PhD, ranging from surgical tools to quack patent medicines to early x-ray tubes, telling the story of how various branches of diagnostic and therapeutic medicine evolved. Dr. Blaufox is Professor and University Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as a former Chairman of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine. Over the past four decades, Blaufox has assembled an unmatched collection of historic diagnostic instruments.
Pressed for Time: Botanical Collecting as Genteel Pastime or Scientific Pursuit?
December 1, 2018 – March 3, 2019
Widely popular nationwide in the 1820s, botanical collecting was practiced by both laymen and professionals. Plant collecting was a respectable pastime for women, children, and men alike. Amateurs and professionals respected each other as colleagues. By 1900, however, a divide had grown between the two that fractured the collaborative spirit that had existed for decades. Highlighting botanical collecting in Connecticut from 1885 – 1944, this exhibition will present numerous beautiful and fragile, historical herbarium sheets. These pressed and dried plants were made for both study and pleasure, destined to be useful for decades after collection.
The Holy Name—Art of the Gesù: Bernini and his Age
February 2 through May 19, 2018
The Fairfield University Art Museum is presenting a major international loan exhibition, The Holy Name—Art of the Gesù: Bernini and his Age, which will be on view in the museum’s Bellarmine Hall Galleries from February 2 through May 19, 2018. Its focus is the Church of the Gesù (Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù all’Argentina) in Rome. The principal or mother church of the Society of Jesus, which was founded by Ignatius of Loyola in 1540 in the charged religious and political climate of the Counter-Reformation, the Gesù is a testament to the power and prestige of the new religious order, its edifice a formidable symbol of the militant Church reborn. The long and at times fraught campaign to erect the church and embellish its interior, the imperative to formulate an imagery celebrating the order and its newly canonized saints, the competing visions of the Jesuits and their strong-willed patrons, and the creative energies of the artists who realized the vastly ambitious project are all explored.
This landmark exhibition, organized to commemorate Fairfield University’s 75th anniversary, features artistic treasures from the Gesù itself, never before seen in America: Bernini’s bust of Roberto Bellarmino (patron saint of Fairfield University), Gaulli’s monumental painted wood model of the apse, a gilt bronze altar sculpture by the versatile painter, draftsman and sculptor Ciro Ferri, the sumptuous 3-piece jeweled cartegloria from the altar of St. Ignatius, and the magnificent embroidered chasuble of the church’s great benefactor, Cardinal Alessandro Farnese. These masterpieces will be joined by more than fifty paintings, sculptures, rare books, precious objects, drawings, prints, and historical documents by Bernini, Domenichino, Gaulli, Ciro Ferri, Carlo Maratti, and Andrea Pozzo, among other Italian Baroque masters, generously lent by museums and private collections around the country including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Princeton University Art Museum and the Yale University Art Gallery.
This landmark exhibition will give visitors to the museum an unparalleled window onto the extraordinary works of art found within the walls of the Gesù, the immensely talented artists who created them, and the powerful and strong-willed personalities whose -vision, ambitions—and financial means—made it all possible.
Making America: The Irish in the Civil War Era
Coming up April 12, 2018 – October 2018
On April 12, 2018, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum will open with a new exhibit on the Irish in the American Civil War.
In the mid-19th century, many Irish immigrants had fled an Ireland ravaged by the Great Hunger, hoping to find a better future in the US, but such hopes were dashed when war erupted in 1861. With the Civil War, Irish survivors of the Great Famine had to endure the second great trauma of their lives. Having survived the worst demographic catastrophe of 19th-century Europe, they fell on the battlefields of Virginia or Tennessee.
At the outbreak of the Civil War, America was home to approximately 1.6 million people of Irish birth, most refugees from the Famine. At least 150,000 Irishmen served in the Union forces, and 20,000 with the Confederates. More Civil War generals came out of Ireland than any other foreign country. Making America: The Irish in the Civil War Era will highlight the significant role that the Irish played in America’s struggle to define itself as a nation.
From Old Masters to Revolutionaries: Five Centuries of the Benton’s Best
An ongoing exhibition of works from the permanent collection
The Benton is pleased to present a changing selection of its most prized possessions that span five centuries. We begin with a sixteenth-century double portrait by the Spanish court painter Alonso Snchez Coello, whose unidentified subjects are a well-dressed noblewoman and child. Also featured is another image of maternal affection in the work Woman and Child by the American impressionist Mary Cassatt. More contemporaneously is Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother (Nipomo, California), an iconic photograph from America’s Dust Bowl era that captures the hardships of the time.
In addition to portraiture, the exhibition includes examples of landscape painting, religious imagery, and genre scenes. Of particular note is Gabrielle Münter’s Fabrik, an excellent example of German Exrpessionism, Rye Beach, New Hampshireby Martin Johnson Heade, as well more recent contributions by the twentieth-century American Ansel Adams.
No exhibition of the Benton’s best would be complete without the work of Reginald Marsh, an American painter, printmaker, and illustrator who graduated from Yale with his good friend William Benton. A large-scale oil painting, along with Marsh’s preparatory sketches, are featured in this exhibition.
The Paston Treasure: Microcosm of the Known World
Thursday, February 15 until Sunday, May 27, 2018
The seventeenth-century painting The Paston Treasure (ca. 1663) is an enigmatic masterpiece. Commissioned by either Sir William Paston, first Baronet (1610–1663), or his son Robert Paston, first Earl of Yarmouth (1631–1683), the identity of the painter, a Dutch itinerant artist working out of a makeshift studio at Oxnead Hall, remains unresolved, although candidates have been proposed. Adding to its mystique, the painting defies categorization because it combines several art historical genres: still life, portraiture, animal painting, and allegory. It has provided the opportunity to think anew about seventeenth-century studio practice and the painter-patron relationship. The painting makes its North American debut this year at the Yale Center for British Art in an exhibition organized in partnership with the Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery, UK. More information here.