Two new exhibits for The Benton
Transformation of urban India and artistic diversity celebrated in new installations
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 22:10
Convergence: Contemporary Art from India and the Diaspora and Framing Photography are two new exhibits that opened at the Benton on Tuesday afternoon. The reception and opening of the exhibits will be held this Sunday from 3 – 5 p.m.
In the pamphlet for the exhibit, curator Kathryn Meyers outlines the gallery and presents the history of her interest in Indian art and the campus-wide initiatives to bring Indian culture into curriculum, especially with the presence of the India Studies Program, which began in 2004. In order to teach and share her love of India and her own learning process, Meyers put together this exhibit with the help of other faculty members like Betty Hanson, Elizabeth Mahan and Cathy Schlund-Vials, whom she thanks in the beginning of the book.
The purpose of the handout isn’t to take away from the gallery exhibit itself, but to enhance the audience’s knowledge behind each artwork displayed at the Benton. It holds dense historical and biographical information about the exhibit, including the basis for the term “convergence.” As a response to art from the other parts of the world being unseen in the Western world, new artists are beginning to integrate art inspired by their homelands with responses to their locale and the issues around them. The new exhibit features artwork from those that are India-based and are artists of Indian origin that are now living elsewhere, hence the attribution to the diaspora, or dispersion.
The first exhibit brings together 15 contemporary artists “who employ diverse creative approaches to explore issues of identity and the continued power of place in our global world.” As a part of this exhibit, there are four events tied to its opening. The first is a screening of the film “The Namesake” on Oct. 29 at 7 p.m. in Laurel Hall. After that is a gallery talk with art professor Kathryn Meyers. Visiting Scholar from MIT Miloon Kothari will give the Radha Devi Joshi Lecture on Nov. 14 about the Urban Transformations of India. The last event is a panel discussion about the exhibit and a special gallery tour on Nov. 19.
“Framing Photography” features photographs in America from the 19th century, a period where the camera was still fairly new. It focuses on the relevance of photographic portraiture helping the shape of an image of an individual and thriving nation. It consists of works from renowned photographers like Edward Steichen, Imogen Cunningham and Aaron Siskard, as well as regional photographers from around Connecticut, such as Reenie Barrow. These photos represent a multitude of emotions, eras, subjects and movements. Artist Norman Wilfred Lewis wanted to break from its stagnation in too much tradition with his abstract depictions of faces. James Van der Zee captured pride in work, neighborhoods and racial and cultural identity with his photos of parlor shops amongst other places. Roger Kingston wanted to capture the American vernacular in “those moments that make up the greater part of every life.”
With descriptions and bios of each photograph and artist in the exhibit, as well as a reproduction of a stereoscope and an ambrotype in a glass case, there are many things to learn about in this new exhibit. The exhibits will be on display until Dec. 15.