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Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood stars in latest Benton exhibit

By Emily Lewson
On March 28, 2014

  • The Fever Band (pictured above) performs at the opening of the Benton’s brand new “Ronnie Wood” exhibit, covering classic rock ‘n’ roll tunes for attendees. NATALIA PYLYPYSZYN/The Daily Campus

The Rolling Stones have arrived at UConn. On Thursday, March 27, the William Benton Museum of Art had its opening reception for the exhibition "Ronnie Wood: Art and Music". Best known for his work with The Rolling Stones, Wood was the group's guitarist. The famed musician's lithographs, paintings and pen-and-ink drawings now drape the Benton's walls.
This exhibition features brightly colored paintings as well as simple line drawings. Upon entering the gallery, Wood's "Electric Horses" grants the first impression. The featured piece of art, a canvas, depicts The Rolling Stones in all their glory. Screaming fans are shown across the bottom, blotted in glitter. The band plays on stage while three unicorns frolic around. It is outlandish yet impressive, a pure representation of rock 'n' roll.
 "Ronnie Wood exemplifies [...] creative ethos," reads the museum's introduction, "Through line and color, he deftly captures the creative energy of his musical world."
As demonstrated by this first piece, the collection as a whole reaches out to a broader audience than the Benton's typical members.
 "The Benton is the State art museum of Connecticut; as such, the museum would like to offer art that reaches out to all members of the state," said Nancy Stula, the museum's executive director. "The purpose behind selecting a collection such as Wood's is to draw in a different audience than those who usually attend the museum exhibits."
In order to celebrate this atypical collection's opening, the reception included a performance by The Fever Band. Playing mostly rock 'n' roll classics, including many Rolling Stones songs, attendees were quick to dance along. The addition of live music brought another dimension to the artwork. The pieces on the wall were no longer two-dimensional images, but rather an experience.
"The Fever Band includes a member who works for the inventory department at UConn," Stula said. "The museum discovered them just in time for the planning of this exhibition opening [...] and audience members seem to enjoy the live music."
 But if you missed the band at the opening, don't fret. The gallery offers an Exhibition Soundtrack: you can call in to hear different songs by The Faces or The Rolling Stones while you look at the art. This duality of music and art reinforce the creative nature that is Ronnie Wood. He is a musician and an artist, constantly releasing his talent into the world for others to enjoy.
As the director said, the exhibition was made possible by a dedicated group of people. Tom Viertel first made the suggestion to feature Wood's pieces. Sherry Daly of Munro Sounds, United Kingdom, worked in conjugation with the Benton for the opportunity to feature the pieces. Lastly, the loan from Pratt Contemporary, UK and Washington Green Galley, United Kingdom made it possible to showcase the captivating art.
Even atypical museumgoers now have a reason to visit the Benton, as Wood's work is captivating and well presented. The gallery is open Tuesday through Sunday. Further information can be found online.

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