Among the myriad of forms that have appeared in Frank Stella’s (b. 1936) work, the star is the most singular, standing out as a stable and immediately identifiable shape amidst the tangle of abstract, invented forms that the artist has utilized over his long career.
The historical arc of Stella’s use of the star travels from the minimal to the maximal, with the recent star sculptures frequently exhibiting a corruption of the form as well as a wild diversity of materials and fabrication techniques. Frank Stella’s Stars, A Survey will be presented both in the galleries and the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. A 150-page hardbound book featuring essays by the exhibition’s curators Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director, and Amy Smith-Stewart, Senior Curator, will be co-published by Gregory R. Miller & Co.
Curated by Richard Klein, Exhibitions Director, and Amy Smith-Stewart, Senior Curator.
Through the Eye of a Needle is the first major solo museum exhibition of New York-based artist Genesis Belanger (b. 1978), whose practice spans sculptures and tableaux, primarily composed out of porcelain, stoneware, and upholstery. Anthropomorphizing common household objects–lipsticks with wagging tongues, lamps with ladies’ pearls, and tins with doey-eyed sardines–Belanger’s methodology blends Surrealism and Pop art with a self-possessed feminism informed by a career inside the fashion and advertising industries. Debuting an entirely new body of work specially conceived for The Aldrich, Belanger will create her largest and most elaborate mise-en-scène to date: dozens of animated objects arranged on ghostly furnishings that suggest narratives about our anxiety afflicted present. The artist’s first museum publication, featuring an essay by the exhibition’s curator, Amy Smith-Stewart, will accompany the show.
2020 has been historic year and the work being created by the artists now reflects their lived experience through a landmark election year, a global pandemic, and a national reckoning with systemic racial injustice and police brutality. The exhibition asks the question can a ‘slow’ museum exhibition actively participate in democracy amidst the cacophony of Tweets and abbreviated news app headlines via a medium that moves no faster that the speed of a human hand pushing a pencil?
Artists participating in the exhibition include Marti Cormand (Brooklyn, NY), Oasa DuVerney (Brooklyn, NY), Judith Eisler (Vienna, Austria and Warren, CT), Andy Mister (Beacon, NY), William Powhida (Brooklyn, NY), Gil Scullion (Middletown, CT), and Diana Shpungin (Brooklyn, NY).
One of the first tourism trails in the State — The Connecticut Art Trail — is celebrating 25 years of guiding art aficionados across the state on a journey that includes 22 world-class museums and historic sites. Originally launched in 1995 as the Connecticut Impressionist Art Trail, encompassing 10 museums, today the Trail includes more than double that number, plus a growing range of affiliate members including galleries and art-based environments.
“When the founding museums first gathered, over two decades ago, I’m not sure that anyone imagined that this trail would not only continue to thrive but grow in reach and reputation, across the country,” shares Carey Weber, volunteer President of the Connecticut Art Trail and Executive Director of the Fairfield University Art Museum. “When considering how to celebrate 25 years of collaboration, the answer was clear — curating and opening a collaborative exhibition comprised of works from all of our member museums, hosted by a member.”
The resulting “Made in Connecticut” collaborative exhibition will open to the public on Thursday, October 15, 2020, and run through Sunday, February 7, 2021 at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford.
James Prosek, American artist, writer, naturalist, and current Artist-in-Residence at the Yale University Art Gallery will be the independent curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition is made possible thanks to the tremendous collaboration of the partner museums, and the generosity of our guest curator James Prosek. We are excited about building on this energy for our next 25 years,” continues Ms. Weber. “In addition to paintings, drawings, prints and other traditional works of art, this exhibition will feature a number of decorative and industrial art objects including a rubber desk, an early typewriter, a selection of historic buttons and much more.”
“The member museums and historic sites of the Connecticut Art Trail are spread statewide,” shared Mr. Prosek. “Their combined collections number over half a million objects and are filled with astonishing works. It is an honor to be working with the museums to showcase the diversity of objects that have impacted Connecticut’s rich cultural landscape over the centuries.”
The “Made in Connecticut” exhibition is the highlight of this milestone year for the Trail, which will also include educational programming and unique anniversary exhibits among individual members. This will also be the final year that the popular Connecticut Art Trail passport, which provides no-cost admission to all 22 member sites,” will be available for its original, $25.
Entrance to the Wadsworth and the “Made in Connecticut” exhibition are included with the purchase of the Passport which can be done online at ctarttrail.org or at any member location. “The proceeds of passports purchased directly at a member location results in a $25 donation directly to that museum,” concludes Ms. Weber. “Not everyone realizes that the Trail currently does not receive any state or federal funding and that we strictly operate from members dues and the sales of passports. Therefore the sales of the passports have a direct impact on the ability of the museums to promote their great work.” Docent- led tours of the Made in Connecticut exhibition will be on Sundays at 11 am from November 1, 2020 to February 7, 2020. Advanced registration is required via thewadsworth.org
In addition to celebrating our 25th anniversary with the “Made In Connecticut” exhibition, the Wadsworth will be hosting several virtual related programs. For a current listing, check thewadsworth.org.
Virtual Gallery Talk
Friday, October 16; 5pm
Artist James Prosek guides us through the landscape of the rich creative history of artists working in Connecticut on tour of the Connecticut Art Trail’s 25th anniversary exhibition, Made in Connecticut, which he curated. Free. Access link available via thewadsworth.org.
An Evening with Mark Dion
Wednesday, October 21; 6pm
Artist Mark Dion draws on the early modern tradition of assembling artifacts and objects into theatrical dioramas that make statements about contemporary collecting habits, our relationship to history, and the future of the environment. In a conversation with curator Patricia Hickson, Dion discusses his artistic practices and his local New England roots. In conjunction with the exhibition Made in Connecticut. Free. Co-sponsored with the Hartford Art School. Access link available via thewadsworth.org.
An Evening with James Prosek
Friday, November 6; 5pm
James Prosek is not only a prolific artist, curator, author, and naturalist, but he also charts the landscape through music. A founding member of the group Troutband, Prosek will perform a concert from the Wadsworth that you can watch virtually from your own home. Free. Access link available via thewadsworth.org.
Virtual Second Saturdays for Families
Saturday, November 14
Explore the exhibition Made in Connecticut and get inspired by art objects collected from all over the state. Design an artwork that presents your unique view of The Constitution State. What artist, story, or town would you like to highlight? Free.
Second Saturdays for Families digital activity packs include art-making demonstrations, visual scavenger hunts, close looking prompts, and story time in English and Spanish. Available on the second Saturday of the month and afterwards via thewadsworth.org.
The Connecticut Art Trail Passport is officially sponsored by the Greenwich Hospitality Group – a luxury hotelier with properties that includes DELAMAR, The Goodwin, and Hotel Zero Degrees. For timely updates about the Trail visits ctarttrail.org or follow the Trail on social media.
Join us on Thursday, January 21st, at 6 p.m. for the opening night lecture for Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks, presented by Brian Walker, Professor of Biology at Fairfield University.
Birds of the Northeast: Gulls to Great Auks features paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings, photographs, and natural history specimens from the early 19th century through the present day. Curated by Carey Weber and Fairfield University Biology professors Brian Walker, Jim Biardi and Tod Osier, the show complements the installation on Fairfield’s campus of The Lost Bird Project by artist Todd McGrain. On view from October 2020 to June 2021, these five monumental sculptures were created as a public memorial to birds driven to extinction in modern times. Learn more about the exhibition here.
Learn more about the event and how to watch here!
This event is presented in partnership with the Department of Biology. The Pequot Library, Southport, and Connecticut Audubon Society-Fairfield Region are community partners for this exhibition and its related programming.
Join us on Thursday, January 28th, at 6 p.m. for the opening night lecture for By Design: Theater and Fashion in the Photography of Lalla Essaydi, presented by the exhibition curator Cynthia Becker, Associate Professor of African Art History and the History of Art and Architecture Department at Boston University.
By Design: Theater and Fashion in the Photography of Lalla Essaydi explores the artistic process behind the creation of Essaydi’s carefully staged photographs, which deconstruct and reimagine stereotypes of Muslim womanhood. Guest Curator Cynthia Becker has selected approximately 20 works spanning Essaydi’s career for inclusion in this groundbreaking exhibition. Becker notes that, “This is the first time an exhibition has emphasized fashion and staging in Essaydi’s work …[she] might spend months creating a single garment to be worn in one of her carefully crafted tableaus. She spends hours arranging her models and, in the process, recreates the familial bonds so important to Moroccan women’s lives.”
Born in Morocco, Lalla Essaydi lived in Saudi Arabia for many years and studied painting and photography at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She currently lives between New York and Morocco. Her time in Morocco also exposed her to the nation’s rich history of architectural design and the ceremonial occasions so important to daily life, both of which are featured in her photographs. Learn more about the exhibition here.
Learn more about the event and how to watch here!
This event is part of the Edwin L. Weisl, Jr. Lectureships in Art History, funded by the Robert Lehman Foundation.