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Museums at Fairfield University

Past Exhibitions

The Fairfield University Art Museum was formerly known as the Bellarmine Museum of Art, which was founded in 2010. All past exhibitions, including those held at the Walsh Gallery (which was operated independently until 2013) are listed here. To access and download digital materials for exhibitions since 2010 go to the museum’s digital archive.

Richard Lytle

Richard Lytle: A Retrospective

Walsh Gallery

September 15, 2017 – February 3, 2018

Richard Lytle (American, b. 1935) has been exhibiting his work internationally since the mid-1950s. He attended the Cooper Union, then graduated from Yale University with a BFA in 1957 and from Yale College of Art with an MFA in 1960. While still in graduate school, he was selected for Dorothy Miller’s seminal 1959 “Sixteen Americans” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He was in auspicious company, as this exhibition introduced the museum-going world to Jasper Johns, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, Louise Nevelson and Ellsworth Kelly among others. 

Lytle’s paintings and drawings have been included in many solo and group exhibitions including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Yale University Art Gallery, Harvard University and elsewhere, and have been featured at American Embassies around the world and at the World’s Fair in Seattle. He has received many prestigious awards including the Saint-Gaudens Medal and the Citation for Professional Achievement from Cooper Union. His work is to be found in many public and private collections including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Williams College Museum of Art.

Mastery of color is a hallmark of Lytle’s work, which ranges from realist to abstraction, and which has always found its inspiration in the organic world. His dreamlike images move across spaces suggestive of landscapes, often in joyful biomorphic abstraction. Some focus on plants and natural shapes that are magnified beyond recognition, while others include elements chosen by the artist for their sensuous colors and patterning. 

Richard Lytle’s connection to Fairfield University dates back to a commission he received for drawings for the exterior bas-relief sculptures for the Barone Campus Center in 1965.  The sculptures are now visible inside and on the exterior of the newly completed Tully Dining Commons building.  Organized as part of the celebration of Fairfield University’s 75th anniversary, this retrospective is a celebration of that long relationship.  It includes Lytle’s original drawings for the bas-reliefs – a recent gift to the museum from the artist – early charcoal drawings from the 1960s Nude Figures Series, a selection of Pod Series drawings from the 1970s, as well as watercolors and large oil paintings spanning the breadth of Lytle’s career. 

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

Picturing History: Ledger Drawings of the Plains Indians

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

September 27 – December 20, 2017

In the second half of the nineteenth century, artists from the Plains Indian peoples (Lakota, Cheyenne, Arapaho and others dwelling in the Western United States and Canada) produced an extraordinarily rich and distinctive body of drawings chronicling battles, rituals, and winsome if sometimes jarring events of everyday life. Known as Ledger Drawings because they were done on the pages of commercially produced account books, these striking images, many bearing pictographic signatures, are executed in ink, graphite, and colored pencil and watercolor. Some favor flat, stylized forms and a stark economy of means, while others show a lyrical predilection for rhythmic movement, minute descriptive and narrative detail, and dense, mosaic-like surface patterns. What all share is their makers’ acute powers of observation and ambition to record and describe recognizable people, places, things and events—to eloquently picture and record history as it transpired.

Ledger Drawings are virtually unknown other than to a small group of specialists and cognoscenti, and with rare exceptions they have been studied foremost as anthropological and ethnographic documents rather than as artistic creations. Yet the medium—pencil and watercolor on paper—as well as the function and absorbing subject matter align these works with the centuries long western artistic practice of drawing “stories.” The images find an equally resonant context in the venerable tradition of picture chronicles, which extends back even further in time. Featuring some fifty Ledger Drawings, this exhibition presents these evocative works as graphic masterpieces in the long and rich history of drawing.

Visit app.cuseum.com/fuam to view the exhibition app narrated by Michelle DiMarzo, Curator of Education, citing the published work of Dr. Janet C. Berlo and Dr. Ross Frank, two of the leading experts on Ledger art.

The exhibition and related programs are made possible by generous support from the Donald Ellis Gallery.

Photo credit: Cheyenne Attacking a Pawnee Camp (Ledger Drawing), ca. 1875-78. Attributed to Howling Wolf (Southern Cheyenne, Central Plains). Watercolor, graphite and colored pencil on paper; 8 ½ x 11 ¼ inches. Private collection, courtesy of Donald Ellis Gallery, New York.

Michael Gallagher Painting

Michael Gallagher
Sketching the Landscape: A Plein Air Journal

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

April 21 – September 8, 2017

In his professional life as one of the world’s foremost paintings conservators, Michael Gallagher has worked on masterpieces by such luminaries of European art as Botticelli, Michelangelo, Poussin, Rubens and Velázquez. Calling on specialized knowledge of materials and techniques used by painters at different moments in history, his sensitive interventions have helped recover the artists’ intentions, revealing luminous surfaces and lost details of panel paintings and canvases that had been compromised by damage and obscured  by later overpaint and darkened varnish. 

In his private moments Gallagher has long sketched and painted landscapes--poetic, evocative and light-dappled scenes of rolling hills, sparkling seasides, rocky outcroppings and moody forests. Done in vastly diverging locales in different continents and hemispheres, at different times of day, and in all four seasons, his plein air watercolors and oil sketches capture a nuanced sense of place, at once changing and immutable, undisturbed by human presence. Discretely observed and inflected by a reticent silence, these ruminations on the landscape in its myriad manifestations form a journal of visual responses, chronicled over time.

Generous support for the exhibition is provided by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

HA Sigg

H. A. Sigg: Abstract Rivers

Walsh Gallery

March 24 – June 10, 2017

H. A. Sigg was born in Switzerland in 1924 and studied in Zurich and later Paris, where he was especially captivated by the art of French Nabi painter Pierre Bonnard. Although his paintings of the 1950s adhere to a figurative idiom, he evolved a purely abstract style, whose graceful, atmospheric and minimalist forms and motifs were inflected by aerial views of Southeast Asia, a vantage point he was afforded in 1968 when he was invited by Swissair to fly as "artist in residence in the sky."; From his privileged, sweeping view from the cockpit, he made sketches of the distant topography below. These became the inspiration and the source of the lithe and geometric abstractions suggestive of terraced fields and gently meandering rivers that characterize his work beginning in the 1970s. 

For H. A. Sigg, the river is perhaps the most iconic and resonant subject, a "mysterious force" with a spirit of its own, as he has averred, and a metaphor for the course of human life and the search for inner enlightenment. In formulating his river imagery, Sigg has pointed to the influence of Hermann Hesse's novel Siddhartha, whose protagonist encounters the river as a changing yet constant, regenerating force, and a source of wisdom and genesis—tropes that inform his river-inspired imagery.

H. A. Sigg: Abstract Rivers, presents over 25 paintings and sculptures by this acclaimed Abstract Expressionist painter.

Edward Lucie-Smith's critical study of Sigg, H. A. Sigg: The River, is available for purchase at the museum. Please contact us at 203-254-4046 or museum@fairfield.edu to order your copy for $20 (with an additional $5 charge for shipping and handling).

Midcentury Manhattan

Adolf Dehn
Midcentury Manhattan

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

January 27 – April 7, 2017

This exhibition will explore the Manhattan subjects of National Academician Adolf Dehn (1895-1968). Visiting, and then living in New York City, Dehn captured the essence of the city in his paintings, prints and drawings of the landscapes of Central Park, and of the city’s burlesque and night club scenes. While best known as a lithographer and one of the founding members of the American Artists Group, Dehn played a significant role in America’s contemporary realist movement starting in the 1930s. He was included in every Whitney Museum of American Art "Annual" and "Biennial" invitational exhibition from the first biennial 1932 into the early 1960's, and still holds the record for being in more of these prestigious shows than any other artist. His work is in the permanent collections of more than eighty museums. 

Devoted to the artist’s images of Manhattan from the 1920s through 1960, this exhibition features casein paintings (a fast-drying, water-soluble medium made from milk casein or milk protein), watercolors, and pastel, ink and pencil drawings, as well as a select group of lithographs. It will coincide with the publication of Adolf Dehn: Midcentury Manhattan, by Fairfield University art history professor, Philip Eliasoph (The Artist Book Foundation, 2017).

Generous support of the exhibition is provided by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation and the Adolf and Virginia Dehn Foundation.

Dr. Philip Eliasoph talks about selected work in the exhibition by this important 20th-century artist Philip Eliasoph is available through our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam.

Read an article in Global Traveler that describes this exhibition and Dr. Eliasoph's work.

The Magazine ANTIQUES featured the exhibition as its cover story for the January/February 2017 issue.


Leonardo Cremonini (1925-2010)
Timeless Monumentality:
Paintings from The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation

Walsh Gallery

November 4, 2016 – March 4, 2017

Leonardo Cremonini was one of the preeminent Italian painters of the twentieth century. Widely admired, critically acclaimed, and technically accomplished, his works are to be found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, D. C., the Musée d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, and numerous other public collections across Europe and the United States.

The painter Francis Bacon was an early admirer of Cremonini, proposing to a gallerist friend that the poet W. H. Auden write about his work. Italian literary giants Umberto Eco and Italo Calvino authored lyrical appreciations of the artist. Another champion was William Rubin, legendary director of MoMA, who articulated the essential idea that Cremonini’s canvases embody a “spirit of timeless monumentality.” That acute characterization captures the ethos of Cremonini’s haunting, poetic and enigmatic imagery—his arid, light-filled, silent interiors, described in meticulous detail and populated by anemic, emotionally detached figures. In their geometric clarity and purity of form, his compositions recall the still lifes of the modern Italian painter Giorgio Morandi, while the rigorously constructed spaces that adhere to the geometric laws of perspective hark back much further in history, to Piero della Francesca and other artists of the Italian Renaissance.

With the ascendancy of abstraction and conceptual art in the later twentieth century, Cremonini has been sidelined at the margins of modernity. But the resurgence of figurative painting in recent years, and the current, growing appreciation of modern Italian art, make this the optimal moment for a critical reappraisal and popular rehabilitation. Featuring some 35 works from the peerless holdings of the Louis-Dreyfus Collection, this major exhibition is the first monographic survey devoted to Cremonini in over two decades, and will serve to foster a renewed appreciation of the artist.

The documentary Generosity of Eye (2015) is the extraordinary story of how the major art collection assembled by William Louis-Dreyfus will have a transformative power on the education of African-American children in the Harlem Children’s Zone.  It is the personal tale of actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who discovered how her father William’s passions for art, justice and education connected in a single act of profound generosity. The film was shown on a continuous loop throughout the run of the exhibition.  We are grateful to filmmaker Brad Hall for making Generosity of the Eye available to the Fairfield University Art Museum and for giving permission for it to be shown here.

Listen to the words of leading critics and philosophers of the later 20th century who wrote about the art of Leonardo Cremonini on our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam. Excerpts from some of their writings are read by Dr. Mary Ann Carolan, Professor of Modern Languages and Literature and Director of Italian Studies at Fairfield University.

A program of films and lectures, free and open to the public, is planned in conjunction with the exhibition.

The exhibition catalogue, published by The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation Inc., is available for purchase. Please contact us at 203-254-4046 or museum@fairfield.edu to order your copy for $15 (includes a $5 charge for shipping and handling).

Crafting the Elements: Ceramic Art of Modern Japan

Crafting the Elements: Ceramic Art of Modern Japan from the Collection of Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz

Bellarmine Hall

September 29 - December 16, 2016

Ceramic art is an ancient, enduring and vibrant form of creative expression in Japanese culture—a medium created from the fusion of the elements earth, fire, and water. Contemporary ceramic artists in Japan are deeply mindful of the venerable forms and traditions underlying their craft, and their works frequently abound with historical references. At the same time, many of these artists boldly bend and stretch artistic conventions to incorporate new forms and ornamental language. Echoes of ceremonial vessels and implements co-exist beside fluid, organic and evocative shapes that push the medium to its most elastic possibilities.

This exhibition presents a choice selection of contemporary Japanese ceramics from one of the most distinguished private collections in America. Seen together, the works demonstrate the creative dynamism and artistic innovation embodied in this most traditional of art forms as practiced by Japanese ceramic artists today.

Crafting the Elements: Ceramic Art of Modern Japan is made possible by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, the Japan Foundation, New York, and Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz.

Audio clips were recorded by Dr. Ive Covaci, Adjunct Professor of Art History at Fairfield University, who talks about selected works in the exhibition, examining the resonance of tradition in contemporary Japanese ceramics. Listen on our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam

Crafting the Elements: Ceramic Art of Modern Japan is presented in conjunction with two other exhibitions highlighting Japanese art in Connecticut this Fall—HANGA NOW! Contemporary Japanese Printmakers at the Art Museum, University of St. Joseph, West Hartford (September 23–December 18, 2016), and An Eye to the East: The Inspiration of Japan (October 12, 2016–February 26, 2017) at the Bush-Holley House of the Greenwich Historical Society. 

Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy

Rick Shaefer: The Refugee Trilogy

Walsh Gallery

September 8 – October 22, 2016

The Fairfield University Art Museum is pleased to present the inaugural exhibition of a monumental new series by Connecticut artist Rick Shaefer created in response to the ongoing refugee crisis convulsing the globe. This three-piece suite is comprised of Land Crossing, dealing with the migration across foreign lands; Water Crossing, addressing the perilous journeys of refugees who take to the open seas; and Border Crossing, spotlighting the hostilities refugees face in seeking safe haven far from a violence-torn homeland. The trilogy employs the artistic lexicon of old master painting (specifically incorporating heroic figurative elements from works by Rubens and Géricault) to explore this contemporary crisis in a language both familiar and iconic. Such historical allusions underscore the tenacious persistence of this epic human tragedy throughout time, past and present.

In addition to the three triptychs, each executed in charcoal on vellum, the exhibition will include a number of Shaefer’s preparatory drawings for the series.  

Programs planned in conjunction with this exhibition include an opening night lecture, “Rubens and the Art of Appropriation,” by Stijn Alsteens, Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art;  a panel discussion, "The Syrian Refugee Crisis: Over Land and Sea," a panel discussion with Dr. Silvia Marsans-Sakly, Assistant Professor of History, Islamic World, Julie Whittaker ’12, Founder, Amal Foundation (dedicated to supporting refugees and their host communities), Wendy Christian, Associate Vice President, Marketing and Communication, Save the Children USA, and artist Rick Shaefer; a lecture by Dr. Lisa Brody, Yale University, “Dura-Europos: Exploring and Preserving Cultural Heritage in Roman Syria”; and a film screening of Salam Neighbor followed by a conversation with the film’s director, Chris Temple. An Artists Talk with Rick Shaefer and innovative South African playwright Brett Bailey, whose new work in progress, “The Raft,” is also a response to the current refugee crisis and, like Shaefer’s pictorial series, finds inspiration in Géricault’s haunting Raft of the Medusa, completes the program.  All events are free and open to the public. Advance registration is requested.

Audio clips were created by refugee and relocated youth and their teachers, who found inspiration in Shaefer's work. The participating students attended the Ubuntu Academy, a summer literacy lab hosted by the Connecticut Writing Project at Fairfield University that brings teachers and students together to write. Listen on our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam

Tokali Church

Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

April 15 - September 16, 2016

The splendor of Byzantine sacred art is preserved in the interiors of millennium-old churches in Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul)--capital of the Byzantine Empire--and the Cappadocia region of Turkey, the latter abandoned in the fifteenth century but still preserved today. Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium features eight large-scale images by acclaimed Turkish photographer Ahmet Ertug that capture the expressive power and timeless majesty of some of these imposing monuments: the Karankik Kilise (Dark Church), the New Church of Tokali (Buckle Church), the Meryem Ana Kilisesi (Church of the Mother of God), and Saint Saviour. These photographs offer sweeping views of the shadowy, evocative interiors as well as close-up details of the wall paintings showing hagiographic subjects and scenes of the life of Christ.

Trained as an architect, Ahmet Ertug practiced in England, Iran, and Turkey. He took up photography during a year-long fellowship to study architecture in Japan, where he traveled extensively and photographed ancient temples, Zen gardens, and festivals. Returning to his native country Ertug had an epiphany of sorts, declaring that "the foundation of creativity is the profound knowledge of one's heritage." Guided by that maxim, he has photographed much of Istanbul's impressive Byzantine, Ottoman, and Roman remains using a large-format camera that enabled him to capture their full effect. Ertug’s work has been exhibited around the world and is on permanent display in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.

Music performed by Axion Estin at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 14, 2015 is available on our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam. We are grateful to the Axion Estin Foundation for making these recordings available and granting permission for their use in conjunction with our exhibition.

Vaults of Heaven: Visions of Byzantium was organized by the Penn Museum.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

Don Gummer
The Armature of Emotion: Drawings and Sculpture

Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery

March 3 – June 11, 2016

This exhibition presents drawings and sculptures by internationally renowned artist Don Gummer. Gummer’s richly layered, cerebrally composed drawings incorporate color, encaustic (an ancient technique in which pigment is suspended in wax) and collage. Reiterating many of the forms and motifs articulated in his reliefs and his free-standing sculptures, they function both as fluid heralds and intermediaries, and as autonomous creations. Informing Gummer’s drawings and sculpture alike is an innate and immutable sensibility for structure. In the disciplined architecture that undergirds the construction of forms, Gummer achieves a paradoxical synthesis of stasis and flow--an elastic armature capable at once of containing and expressing emotion.

Listen to excerpts from an interview with Don Gummer conducted by Director and Chief Curator Linda Wolk-Simon on our mobile app at app.cuseum.com/fuam.


Eward Koren: The Capricious Line

Edward Koren: The Capricious Line

The Bellarmine Museum

February 5, 2016 - April 8, 2016

Edward Koren: The Capricious Line is a major survey of the work of the artist best known for his cartoons and cover illustrations for The New Yorker magazine.This exhibition explores the full range of art that Edward Koren has produced during the past five decades: original drawings for cartoons and illustrated books as well as prints and independent drawings, many of which have never been displayed before. The artist’s “capricious line” consists primarily of short strokes that create remarkably descriptive and expressive images. Koren’s work brings us into the realm of fantasy based firmly in reality, such contradiction being one source of its humor.

Subjects include the artist’s fascination with the natural world and its inhabitants, creatures generated more by the momentum of his graphic imagination than by the laws of Darwinian evolution, and imagined architectural spaces populated with his own fantastic creatures, furry beings scuttling along on two or more legs, their movement suggesting an indeterminate sociability. A primary focus of the exhibition is, inevitably, Koren’s drawings for cartoons, which highlight his role as observer of contemporary society and as a gently acerbic critic of a cultural scene that seems to demand his graphic commentary.

Edward Koren: The Capricious Line is curated by Diana Fane and the late David Rosand, developed by the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Gallery, New York, and organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, DC.

This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the National Endowment for the Humanities, with additional support from the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation.

The audio guide for this exhibition can be found on our mobile app at cuseum.com/fuam.


DANCE: Marc Mellon, Jane Sutherland, Philip Trager

Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery

September 18, 2015–January 15, 2016

For more than five millennia, visual artists have been drawn to dance as a subject for their art-making. The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all immortalized dancers – and their dances – in a range of media, including murals, vase decorations, cameos, and coins. Christian art, too, exhibited a marked fascination with the Bible’s most infamous dancer, Salome, whose mesmerizing movements induced Herod to decapitate John the Baptist at her request.

The reason for this magnetic pull is obvious: dance is expressive, evocative, and erotic. Through dance, stories are told and histories rendered tangible. It captivates the human spirit and, despite its extreme physicality, transports us to a plane of existence that transcends the body; precisely the same effect that sculpture, painting, and photography can produce. This stunning exhibition examines the rich relationship between these “sister arts” through the eyes of three gifted practitioners: sculptor Marc Mellon, painter Jane Sutherland, and photographer Philip Trager. Each of these artists has had a distinguished career, with numerous notable exhibitions across the country and artworks held in public as well as private collections, both in the U.S. and abroad. Though their expressive “languages” may differ, they all bring a keen eye, cutting intellect, and talented hand to their oeuvres, creating visual tours de force for their audiences to enjoy. Visitors to this show will relish a unique opportunity to see Mellon’s classically inspired life-size bronze sculptures of dancers juxtaposed with Sutherland’s intriguing Little Dancer paintings; a series directly inspired by Edgar Degas’s great work of this same name. Trager’s silver gelatin and platinum prints of athletic dancers – whether airborne or with bodies quieted into astoundingly expressive postures – rounds out this phenomenal triumvirate, whose work delights the eye as much as it does the mind and the spirit.


Hair in the Classical World

The Bellarmine Museum

October 7 - December 18, 2015

In most cultures hair is not worn in its natural state; it is artfully styled or dressed. Cut, combed, colored, curled, and shaped hair -- that most universal of physical features -- is also frequently adorned with implements or braids and occasionally, further embellished with pins, beads, and other decorations.

This exhibition delves into this fascinating subject through a comprehensive cross-cultural examination of hair in ancient Greece, Cyprus, and Rome. Featuring artifacts from the Bronze Age to late Antiquity, Hair in the Classical World will examine how hair and its treatment were important socio-cultural signifiers in Classical Antiquity through three discrete but inter-related sections: Arrangement and Adornment, Ritual/Rites of Passage, and Divine and Royal Iconography. A scholarly symposium will complement this show.

Listen to the audio tour for this exhibition at app.cuseum.com/fuam.

Tania and Lazlo_The Black Hat

The Essence of Decadence

Quick Center for the Arts

September 19 – October 25, 2015

Italian artists Tania Brassesco (b. 1986) and Lazlo Passi Norberto (b. 1984) met as students in Venice in 2008. They have collaborated on several series of photographs that fuse their experience in performance, painting, set design, installation, photography and video. “The Essence of Decadence” is their first project together. The seven photographs, in which Tania appears as the model and artistic muse, reprise with uncanny fidelity the moody, poetic compositions of Gustav Klimt and other fin-de-siècle painters. Using the elastic, expressive and contemporary medium of photography, the artists painstakingly translate and reproduce with an almost surreal, magical verisimilitude the language of painting from another epoch. The result is a series of images that are hyper-real artistic fiction. This intriguing paradox is the essence of Tania and Lazlo’s work.

This exhibition is organized by the Bellarmine Museum of Art and presented in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Quick Center for the Arts of Fairfield University.


Ghosts in the Landscape: Vietnam Revisited

Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery

March 26–June 6, 2015

Over a four-year period beginning in 1995, photographer Craig J. Barber, ex-combat Marine, returned to Vietnam to traverse many of his former military routes, making images with an 8x10-inch pinhole camera. In part a cathartic exercise, and a need to satisfy his curiosity about what had become of this once war-torn country, Barber created a series of 46 diptych and triptych panorama platinum images that capture the serene beauty of the country and, at times for him, the all-too-memorable landscapes. The tonality of the platinum process produces images with stunningly rich blacks and a full spectrum of delicately nuanced shades of gray.

The images Barber has captured are not documentary images. The minutes-long exposure required to record pinhole images produce blurring in anything that was in motion during the exposure. This sense of movement contributes to both a sense of mystery and a dreamlike, introspective quality. One critic wrote: "The blur in the images, here seen in diptychs or triptychs as when the soldier Barber was looking to left and right -- for a movement, a muzzle flash -- now takes on a new meaning in the civilian Barber's eyes...[and] completely capture the haunting power of wartime memory and trauma." Yet these images do convey beauty and peace. As we take note this spring of the 40th anniversary of the Fall of Saigon and the end of the Vietnam War, the audience may find comfort, as does Craig Barber, in seeing Vietnam in a different light.


Jan Dilenschneider: Dualities

The Bellarmine Museum

June 4 - September 18, 2015

Connecticut artist Jan Dilenschneider finds much of her inspiration in the wondrous variegation of nature.  Influences from Impressionism and Expressionism echo in her rich palette, loose brush strokes, and luminous vistas, while her affinity for landscape and the atmospheric effects of light and color link her to the venerable local tradition of landscape painting exemplified by the Cos Cob School that ‌flourished a century ago.  “I am greatly influenced by living on Long Island Sound, where many subjects lie within a mile of my home and studio,” Dilenschneider has mused, “beautiful old trees, crystal blue water, elegant grasses, birds and great storms. I see a painting in everything: spring green leaves against bright blue skies, or misty trees that fade to blue-gray. The beauty of the world is my inspiration."

The title of this exhibition, Dualities, springs from the dual nature of Dilenschneider’s work: she paints expressive landscapes, still lifes and portraits, but she also creates bold gestural abstract paintings. That many of the works in this exhibition are pairs or duos expands on the theme of dualism. Some pairs are intended to be seen almost touching--true diptychs--while others, separated but proximate, still express to the viewer their mutual affinity.


Gari Melchers: An American Impressionist at Home and Abroad

The Bellarmine Museum

March 5 - May 22, 2015

Hugely successful during his own lifetime, the Detroit-born artist Julius Garibaldi ("Gari") Melchers left behind an artistic legacy that is as varied as it is compelling. From engaging peasant scenes inspired by his years at the Egmonds, Holland (where he shared a studio with the great American painter George Hitchcock in the late 19th century) to intimate portraits of mothers and their children, Melchers' oeuvre is inflected with a dynamic range of influences, including the Barbizon School, Impressionism, and Symbolism.

From this broad ranges of sources, Melchers created a style that was uniquely his own; remarkable for its insistent structural rigor and careful draughtsmanship (absorbed through his years at Dusseldorf's Royal Academy of Art) as well as a lyrical palette and keen observance of humanity. This exhibition, the first of its kind in our region, surveys more than a half-century of Melchers' career with key examples of the genres he favored, including landscape, genre scenes, and portraiture.


John Mendelsohn: The Passing Paintings

Thomas J Walsh Art Gallery

December 2, 2014 - February 27, 2015

New York-based ‌artist John Mendelsohn is best known for his remarkable work with color and pattern. This exhibition features 48 paintings from Passing, a cycle of paintings created by the artist during a 12-month period from 2010 to 2011. The cycle is comprised of five series of paintings -- titled Turbulence, Crosswalk, Vanishing, Flayed, and Paradise -- and while each series has its own character, each is also involved in states of change. The artist has written about these works that “Instability and dissolution appear in many forms; absence and presence are in continual dialogue.

The paint itself is treated physically: combed, marbleized, wiped off, and scraped away. As the paintings break down, they open up, revealing the surface and space beyond.” The entire Passing cycle may be viewed online here. Mendelsohn’s work in the Walsh Gallery will be complemented by seven more of his works, including a selection from the Six Movements series, which are on view in the lobby of the Quick Center for the Arts, adjacent to the gallery.

The paint itself is treated physically: combed, marbleized, wiped off, and scraped away. As the paintings break down, they open up, revealing the surface and space beyond.” The entire Passing cycle may be viewed online here. Mendelsohn’s work in the Walsh Gallery will be complemented by seven more of his works, including a selection from the Six Movements series, which are on view in the lobby of the Quick Center for the Arts, adjacent to the gallery.


Rick Shaefer: Rendering Nature

The Bellarmine Museum

September 18, 2014 - February 7, 2015

Rick Shaefer: Rendering Nature features the work of Connecticut-based artist Rick Shaefer, who is best known for his remarkable works in charcoal on vellum. Inspired directly by the textural richness of the natural world as well as the communicative power of "the line," Shaefer gravitates towards subjects that are as visually compelling as they are intellectually engaging.

Massive oak trees felled by the forces of nature and magisterial creatures, including the American Bison and the Indial Rhinoceros, reflect his profound interest in the capacity of bold mark-making to evoke the visual patterns of our lived environment. They equally speak to his stated interest in the powerful intersection of the human and the natural worlds and the resulting dialogues -- historical, mythological and anthropomorphic -- to which these collisions give rise. Shaefer's charcoal drawings will be complemented by more than a dozen of his cloud paintings, many of which have never been exhibited publicly before and several of which were painted specifically for the Bellarmine's main gallery.


Not Ready to Make Nice: The Guerrilla Girls in the Artworld and Beyond

Thomas J Walsh Art Gallery

September 4 - November 14, 2014

Not Ready to Make Nice, a major presentation of the Guerrilla Girls, illuminates and contextualizes the important historical and ongoing work of these highly original, provocative, and influential artists who champion feminism and social change. The Guerrilla Girls have been powerfully and consistently active since first breaking onto the art scene in 1985.

Appearing only in gorilla masks and assuming the names of dead women artists, the activist group has remained anonymous for nearly three decades while revealing shocking truths about sexism and prejudice in the art world and beyond. Beginning with their courageous poster campaigns of the 1980s and continuing with large-scale international projects, they brilliantly take on the art establishment in a way that has never been seen before or since. Using “facts, humor, and fake fur,” they have exposed the discriminatory collecting and exhibiting practices of the most feared art dealers, curators, and collectors. Expanding their work to include non-visual arts media in the 1990s, the Guerrilla Girls have taken on everything from the discrimination of women film directors to the environmental crisis. Focusing primarily on recent work from the past decade, this exhibition features rarely-shown international projects that trace the collective’s artistic and activist influence around the globe. In addition, a selection of iconic work from the 80s and 90s illustrates the formative development of the group’s philosophy and conceptual approach to arts activism. Documentary material, including ephemera, behind-the-scenes photos, and secret anecdotes, reveal the Guerrilla Girls’ process and the events that drive their incisive institutional interventions. Visitors can peruse the artists’ favorite “love letters and hate mail,” and are invited to contribute their own voices to interactive installations. This multimedia, expansive exhibition illustrates that the work of the anonymous, feminist-activist Guerrilla Girls is as vital and revolutionary as ever.
Not Ready to Make Nice was curated by Neysa Page-Lieberman and organized by Columbia College Chicago. To learn more about this traveling exhibition and to order a catalogue visit colum.edu/guerrillagirls.


Jason Peters: Refraction

Thomas J Walsh Art Gallery

April 24 - June 27, 2014

Fascinated by the destabilization of perception, Jason Peters creates illusory spaces and alternative realities through his work. Intentionally designed to trigger a cathartic sense of the sublime in his viewers, the artist amasses vast quantities of discarded objects from everyday life that he then reconfigures in surprisingly unexpected ways.

The results lift these "societal casts-offs" — including contractor's buckets, fluorescent lighting tubes, and metal chair frames — beyond the bounds of ordinary physical existence. In doing so, Peters invites the viewer to see beauty where before there was refuse, to experience flux where before there was stasis, and to experience a focused calm where before there was alarm. In this exhibition, the artist will create several site-specific installations, one of which will respond directly to works on view in La Ragnatela: The Spiderweb Works by Giampaolo Seguso from the Corning Museum of Glass (on view at the Bellarmine Museum of Art, April 10 – June 13, 2014).


La Ragnatela/The Spiderweb: Works by Giampaolo Seguso from the Corning Museum of Glass

The Bellarmine Museum

April 10 - June 13, 2014

La Ragnatela (or "spider web") refers to the characteristically long, thin, lines and complex patterns of filigrana vases. A glass-making technique that was invented in 1527, filigrana consists of preparing parallel glass canes that are then melted into a mass of incandescent glass, creating perfect geometrical shapes in net and spiral-lie patterns.

It is still practiced today by the master glass-maker Giampaolo Seguso, whose family has been making glass on the Venetian island of Murano for more than 600 years. The second part of the three-part project Seguso calls "La Galleria dei 99," La Ragnatela is documented in an eponymous book that beautifully illustrates the 33 glass objects in this series; each of which is accompanied by one of Seguso's evocative poetic mediations on the complexities of moral existence, the beauty of the natural world, and the power of the human spirit. Examples of all 33 vases will be on view (on loan from the Corning Museum of Glass) together with copies of the creator's poetry.


In the Wake of the Butterfly: James Abbott McNeill Whistler and His Circle in Venice

The Bellarmine Museum

January 23 - April 4, 2014

As a mature artist, the great American expatriate James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) began using a stylized butterfly in place of a signature to maximize his work’s aesthetic qualities. Whistler’s concern with an immersive visual experience is highlighted in this focus show, which features works on paper from his Venetian series together with related images by Frank Duveneck (1848-1919), Otto Henry Bacher (1856-1909), Mortimer Luddington Menpes (1855-1938), Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), and Clifford Isaac Addams (1876-1942).

This exhibition complements Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940, on view concurrently at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery.

 To more fully experience this exhibition, you are invited to download a PDF here. In it you will find an interactive map, which will allow you to explore the prints highlighted in these shows and to see images of what the locations captured in these works look like today. You can also listen to audio tours for selected works.


Reflections and Undercurrents: Ernest Roth and Printmaking in Venice, 1900-1940

Thomas J Walsh Art Gallery

January 23 - April 4, 2014

Reflections & Undercurrents features prints by the German-born American painter and etcher Ernest Roth (1879-1964) and his contemporaries, including John Taylor Arms (1887-1953) and Joseph Pennell (1860-1926), exploring the connections between the art they made in early 20th-century Venice.

The exhibition includes over ninety works and embraces a range of media, including etchings, drawings, sketchbooks, and photographs as well as Roth's original print making tools. Organized by Dr. Eric Denker (Senior Lecturer, National Gallery of Art) and Dr. Philip Earenfight (Director, Trout Gallery, Dickinson College), this show complements In the Wake of the Butterfly: Whistler and His Circle in Venice, on view concurrently at the Bellarmine Museum of Art.

To more fully experience this exhibition, you are invited to download a PDF. In it you will find an interactive map, which will allow you to explore the prints highlighted in these shows and to see images of what locations captured in these works look like today. You can also listen to audio tours and watch a short video, featuring Dr. Eric Denker discussing a selection of objects featured in Reflections & Undercurrents.


The Collectors' Cabinet: Renaissance and Baroque Masterworks from the Arnold & Seena Davis Collection

The Bellarmine Museum

October 10, 2013 - January 10, 2014

In the late Renaissance and Baroque periods in Europe, discerning burghers and aristocrats assembled encyclopedic collections of fine art objects, creating unique kunstkammern, or Cabinets of Arts. Arnold and Seena Davis have followed in this rich tradition, acquiring unique and beautiful works with a discerning eye and a curious intellect.

This exhibition highlights the fruits of their labors, including such works as Joos van Cleeve's stunning Madonna and Child in an Architectural Setting (image at left) and several works by the Flemish master painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Embracing Continental Europe's principal artistic movements during the years between 1500 and 1700, this fine show also provides a glimpse into the history of an important private collection that was more than sixty years in the making.

Pottery exhibit at Bellarmine

Fire and Earth: Native American Pottery from New Mexican Pueblos

The Bellarmine Museum

June 27 - October 3, 2013

First created nearly two millennia ago, Pueblo pottery is remarkable not only for its formal beauty but also for its cultural importance. Centuries after the Anasazi (or ancestral Pueblo people) first began making potted vessels from coils of tempered earth - rubbed smooth and painted with local clays, minerals, and vegetal pigments - their successors continue to do the same. An ancestral whisper, this knowledge was (and is) passed down from artist to artist, generation after generation, ensuring the survival of both ancient pottery techniques and the cultures that birthed them. Herein lies the beauty of objects whose value is truly much more than skin deep: They embody their creators’ heritage.

As material manifestations of the different Pueblos’ values and experiences, these pots bear witness to the remarkable histories of their peoples. From the establishment of fixed and settled villages to the successive waves of conquest and all that this implies, the earthenware vessels created by New Mexico’s native populations have been buffeted by the winds of change. Yet despite subtle shifts in their silhouettes and decorative elements, the pots on view in the Bellarmine Museum of Art’s Fire & Earth: Native American Pottery from New Mexican Pueblos exhibition remind us that Pueblo pottery has never strayed too far from its ancient forebears, both cultural and aesthetic; a testament to the strength of these peoples’ roots and the depth of their cultural legacies.


Excavation: Recent Photographs by Stanley Greenberg

The Bellarmine Museum

April 12 - June 14, 2013

[T]he city did not grow, as the economists taught, by quasi-natural laws, but was a willed artifact, a human construct in which many conscious and unconscious factors played their part ... [t]he principal document and witness to this process [is] the physical fabric of the city.
- Joseph Rykwert

As the eminent architectural historian Joseph Rykwert so eloquently reminds us in his The Seduction of Place: The History and Future of the City (2002), cities are wholly man-made constructs.

There is nothing pre-determined or natural about urban agglomerations: It is we who determine the shape, the essence, and, ultimately, the destinies of our cities. But it is they that bear witness to our existence. It is the cities themselves, then, that hold the key to unlocking the secrets of humanity’s forgotten pasts, which in turn affords its inhabitants a more nuanced understanding of their present and, in an ideal world, a more purposeful vision for their future. This fundamental precept lies at the heart of Excavation: Recent Photographs by Stanley Greenberg.

The brainchild of critically acclaimed architectural photographer, Stanley Greenberg (b. 1956), Excavation unveils vestiges of New York City’s many incarnations by entering into an intimate dialogue with this commanding city. By mindfully walking every street in Manhattan and documenting his discoveries, Greenberg has created a photographic record of an urban history whose co-author – Manhattan itself – has an indisputable pedigree. The resulting works are as visually compelling as they are intellectually challenging, as historically important as they are critically relevant.

Such imagery is entirely characteristic of Greenberg’s work, which explores that which is hidden in plain sight: from metro New York’s intricate water systems to urban construction projects frozen in time by his lens, the photographer consistently provides us with new tools for engaging with the built environment. Excavation continues in this rich line of visual and cultural inquiry, revealing for the viewer vestiges of a now-lost Manhattan, which in turns informs how we interact with the city as we know it today. Greenberg’s evocative photographs bear witness to his conviction that, “... the city is a huge organism, only some of it visible, and we inhabit it, change it, get changed by it.”

Stanley Greenberg has authored four photography books: Invisible New York: The Hidden Infrastructure of the City (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998); Waterworks: A Photographic Journey Through New York’s Hidden Water System (Princeton Architectural Press, 2003); Architecture Under Construction (University of Chicago Press, 2010) and Time Machines (Hirmer Verlag, 2011). His honors include a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation and grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Greenberg has exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York, where he lives and works today.

The Bellarmine Museum of Art is indebted to Stanley Greenberg for his willingness to share this rich and engaging body of work with us. We are equally grateful to our sponsors, Whole Foods Market, Moffly Media, Fidelity Investments, the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities for making exhibitions like this possible in the first place. Thanks are also due to the Robert Lehman Foundation, Morris Media Group, and to Maritime Motors (Fairfield), whose support helped to underwrite our programming. Last but certainly not least, we thank our parent institution, Fairfield University, for their on-going commitment to the arts.


Colleen Browning: The Early Works

The Bellarmine Museum

January 24 - March 24, 2013

In collaboration with the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery

Remembered for her capacity to endow scenes from every day life with touches of "magic realism," painter Colleen Browning (1929-2003) is the focus of this monographic exhibition, mounted jointly with Fairfield University's Walsh Art Gallery. The Bellarmine Museum showcases Browning's early works on paper, together with several signature oils, while the Walsh displays some of her strongest post-1960s paintings.


The Essential Line: Drawings from the Dahesh Museum of Art

The Bellarmine Museum

October 11, 2012 - January 18, 2013

This exhibition of works on loan from the Dahesh Museum of Art celebrates the act of drawing in the 19th century, when the creation of preliminary works on paper was the cornerstone of proper academic training and art-making. Embracing a broad range of subjects, the stunning pieces in this show are united by their creators' emphases on careful draftsmanship and extraordinary skills. Highlights include drawings by Thomas Couture (French, 1815-1879), Rosa Bonheur (French, 1822-1899), Frederic Lord Leighton (English, 1830-1896), Lawrence Alma-Tadema (British (born in the Netherlands), 1836-1912), and Alexandre Cabanel (French, 1823-1889).

The roots of the academic art tradition can be traced back to 1563, when the Accademia del Disegno was founded in Florence under the aegis of Cosimo I de’ Medici (1519-1574). This institution, which consciously followed the written descriptions of the lost academies of ancient Greece and Rome, catalyzed the creation (under Pope Clement VIII Aldobrandini -69) of the Roman Accademia di San Luca in 1577 as well as the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, inaugurated in 1648 by France’s Louis XIV (1638-1715). These canonical institutions in turn inspired a host of imitators during the 18th century, which witnessed a veritable mania for state-sanctioned academies. Indeed, by the close of the Age of Enlightenment, Europe boasted more than a hundred such bodies; a five-fold increase over the nineteen that existed in 1720. Despite their vast geographic spread (they stretched from St. Petersburg to London), these academies" like their venerable forebears in Florence, Rome and Paris" shared a steadfast commitment to disegno, a term referring to the hybridized mastery of both design and drawing that could be attained only through carefully studying and copying accepted exemplars. To ensure the centrality of disegno to artistic practice, rigid curricula were instituted in Europe’s many academies. Neophytes would begin with the intensive study of individual physiognomic details before advancing to copying the Old Masters (generally through prints and engravings). Having mastered these fundamentals, students were permitted to make renderings of classical statues and plaster casts from antiquity and the Renaissance, after which they would proceed to drawing from life (a critical exercise that even seasoned academic artists would turn to throughout their careers). Only after successfully completing each of these steps would young painters launch into serious assays in oil; a progression that typically took between five to eight years to complete.

Drawing continued to serve as a critical tool in practioners’ creative arsenals well into the 19th century, despite the incursion of significant new movements, including Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism. Its on-going relevance may be ascribed to the fact that such works served many different ends. Drawings were used not only as preparatory materials for highly finished paintings or prints but also as sketches in which artists either conceived new works or developed nascent ideas. They were tangible records of abstract thoughts, expressed in concrete visual terms, as well as the immortalization of new sources of inspiration (recalling that photography was only invented in the mid-19th century). Endlessly flexible, the act of drawing could be harnessed in the service of elevated classical themes as well as low-brow humor through caricatures or proto-cartoons, in addition to all genres in between. The results could be highly finished, stand-alone works or the loosest of sketches, intended for no eyes other than the artists’ own. Whatever the case, the resulting images remain critical cultural and historical documents as well as compelling aesthetic objects, as The Essential Line: Drawings from the Dahesh Museum of Art confirms. These works not only reveal a wealth of incredible technical skill "hard won after years of strictly disciplined practice and training" but also remind us of the great range of styles and approaches that are possible under the misleadingly corseting label of “academic art.”


Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits

The Bellarmine Museum

June 14 - September 28, 2012

Painter Everett Raymond Kinstler (b. 1926) sees the world in hues. Unfettered by conventional color designations, Kinstler paints his subjects as he perceives them, rather than as he knows them to be. His shadows, then, are neither brown nor black but instead pulse in shades of indigo and violet, while the artist's highlights dance unabashedly up and down the chromatic spectrum, from dusky peach to the palest of blues.

Like a true master of his craft, however, Kinstler does not stop at mere technical wizardry. Rather he harnesses his virtuosity in furtherance of what he considers the chief ends of art: the conveyance of emotion, the unleashing of imagination and the craft of communication. The results are staggering; an ersatz world, conjured only in oil on canvas, suspends our disbelief while simultaneously speaking to our hearts, minds and souls. Experience Kinstler's mastery for yourself at the Bellarmine Museum's Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits exhibition (which was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA), now through September 28, 2012.

bell_kinstler_bynealKinstler, who splits his time between New York City (where he has had a studio at the National Arts Club for more than sixty years) and Easton, CT, has produced more than 2,000 portraits in his career; a career that is far from over for the octogenarian, who continues to paint every day. Highlights among the thirty-three works on view at the Bellarmine include Kinstler's paintings of President Bill Clinton, Tony Bennett, Dave Brubeck, Benny Goodman, Katharine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Liv Ullmann, and Tom Wolfe. "Everett Kinstler's portraits not only capture, with dazzling bravura, the physical traits and characteristics of his sitters, they also convey the essence and character of those he paints," notes the Bellarmine's director, Dr. Jill Deupi. She continues: "It is this capacity to 'connect' that makes Kinstler, like the great John Singer Sargent (1856-1925) before him, a true master of the genre."

One of our nation's finest portraitists, Kinstler was awarded the highly coveted Copley Medal from the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in 1999. Additionally the artist has received honorary doctorates from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco (2010), the Lyme Academy College of Art (2002) and Rollins College (1983). His memberships include: National Academy of Design (N.A.), Allied Artists of America, American Watercolor Society, Pastel Society of America (Hall of Fame), Audubon Artists, Copley Society of Boston (life), and National Arts Club. Kinstler's works are represented in prestigious art institutions across the country, including the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery (which acquired over 100 of his works for its permanent collection), the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the White House. A large number of his paintings are also held in private collections.

Everett Raymond Kinstler: Pulps to Portraits features an exhibition catalogue with over 60 images, including comic and pulp pages, paper-back book covers, easel paintings, portraits, and the artist's most recent movie series, plus an essay by William H. Gerdts, art historian and Professor Emeritus of Art History at the CUNY Graduate Center. It is available for purchase at the museum for $20. An illustrated exhibition brochure is also available, free of charge, in the galleries. Exhibition programming includes Gallery Talks with Everett Raymond Kinstler at 5 p.m., Wednesday, June 20, 2012, and 5 p.m., Thursday, September 20, 2012. The Bellarmine Museum also presents Hold That Pose! Portraiture for Children, a Family Day, for ages seven and up from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 9, 2012. The documentary, Everett Raymond Kinstler: An Artist's Journey (2004, 56 minutes), will be shown on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 at noon, Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at noon, Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at noon, and Tuesday, September 11, 2012 at noon.


ekphrasis ii: sarah z. sleeper (mfa '12)

The Bellarmine Museum

July 11 - September 28, 2012

ek•phra•sis. n.'ek-frə-səs\. A literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art.

Holding the ancient technique of responding through the written word to visual works of art ("ekphrasis") at its core, this show provides an exciting platform for graduate students in Fairfield University's MFA in Creative Writing program. This year Sarah Sleeper (MFA '12) responds in prose to four works by Everett Raymond Kinstler, four works on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and one piece in the museum's permanent collection.


Immortality of the Spirit: Chinese Funerary Art from the Han & Tang Dynasties

The Bellarmine Museum

April 12, 2012 - June 6, 2012

For the ancient Chinese, life in the afterworld was as important as one's existence on earth. For this reason the dead were laid to rest in tombs intended to replicate earthly palaces in all their splendor. They were also adequately provisioned by surviving family members with mingqi, or "spirit articles," for the deceased's journey into the afterlife.

Fairfield University's Bellarmine Museum of Art will explore this fascinating subject in its new exhibition, "Immortality of the Spirit: Chinese Art from the Han and Tang Dynasties," which features thirteen pottery funerary objects from the Han (206 BCE - 220 CE) and Tang (618 - 907 CE) Imperial dynasties. A small catalogue, co-authored by Mr. Swergold and Dr. Ive Covaci (Adjunct Professor of Art History at Fairfield University and a specialist in Asian Art), is available in the galleries.

The earliest Chinese tomb figures and furnishings date back to the Neolithic period (10,000 - 2,000 BCE). The popularity of such objects increased during the lengthy Han dynasty before reaching its zenith under the highly cosmopolitan Tang Dynasty. Considered one of the "golden ages" of Chinese civilization, the Han Dynasty (206 BCE - 220 CE) was an era of relative peace, prosperity, and Imperial expansion, which was marked by great advances in poetry, music, calligraphy and the visual arts. Trade also flourished in the outward-looking Han Empire, which fell in 220 CE. Centuries of disunity followed until the 7th century, when the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907 CE) ushered in another long period of stability and prosperity. Its capital, Chang'an (modern day Xi'an) was the largest and most sophisticated city in the world at that time, with a population (including immigrants from as far away as Persia and Syria) of some one million people in the mid-8th century. Art and culture flourished under the dynasty's extensive court patronage, and a new interest in naturalism was expressed in painting and sculpture, including funerary objects.

Clay tomb figurines proliferated in the Han Dynasty, replacing an earlier tradition of human and animal sacrifice. Despite this humane shift, the basic principle remained the same: everything needed in life was also needed in death, including horses, chariots, farm animals, guards, attendants, entertainers, and vessels for lavish banquets, as the pieces on display in the Bellarmine - including a Seated Story Teller and a Figure of a Dancer (both Han) - illustrate. These replicas, like all mingqi, were deliberately made to appear distinct from the "real thing" by alterations in material, color, size, technique, or function. It is by understanding this broader context that visitors to the Bellarmine can gain a deeper appreciation of the objects showcased in "Immortality of the Spirit ..." and the cultures that created them.

While personal possessions and items used in daily life could be interred with the dead, the majority of grave goods were created specifically for funerary purposes. Indeed burial figures and furnishings were exhibited during lavish funerary rites before being sealed in the tombs for which they were intended. These objects, like the tombs themselves, communicated the social status of the occupant. The wealthier the family, the more elaborate the tomb and the finer - and more numerous - the funerary objects that accompanied the deceased on his or her journey into the next world. Tombs were also seen as gateways to everlasting life. Thus, symbols of immortality commonly appear on Han and Tang funerary objects, such as the cloud-filled mountain landscape representing the abode of the immortals on the fine Hill Jar (Han Dynasty) exhibited in the museum's show.

The market for funerary goods was such that workshops had to rely on molds in order to keep pace with demand. Fine details on tomb figures and vessels were sometimes shaped by hand, but often decoration (such as that of the Green Glazed Jar, or Hu (Han Dynasty), at the Bellarmine) was also molded. Though the shapes of ceramic vessels, in particular, often echo metal prototypes, burial figures were made from a variety of media, including clay, jade, bronze, gold, silver, wood, textile, or stone. Clay objects, like the ones showcased at the Bellarmine, could be painted, unpainted, or glazed. Remarkable in this context is the stunning Sancai Glazed Horse (Tang Dynasty), on view in the museum's galleries. Sancai (or three color) glaze was applied to objects by dipping, pouring, and painting. Heads and extremities of figures were often left unglazed, so that details could be painted directly onto the earthenware. The presence of such objects in tombs was a mark of high status, and hence restricted to imperial and elite tombs.

The work of Tang artisans, in particular, reflects the influence of the many cultures with which they came into contact both in their capital city of Chang'an and elsewhere. It is not unusual, for example, to find exotic symbols, motifs and shapes more closely associated with the arts of India, Persia, Syria and even Greece in Tang art. The Pair of Sancai Glazed Grooms (Tang) on view at the Bellarmine, for example, have Persian facial features; apt reminders not only of the international flavor of this dynasty but also of the historical fact that the Tang emperors consolidated and maintained their martial power by importing horses - and horsemen - into China.

Artifacts like those in the Bellarmine Museum of Art's exhibition provide great insights into daily life during the Han and Tang Dynasties. They also remind us of how carefully orchestrated the burial rites and rituals were for a society with clearly delineated class hierarchies: the poor typically were buried with little more than small coins while the wealthy were accompanied by elaborate figures.

This exhibition has been made possible through the generosity of Jane and Leopold Swergold, who have lent both their objects and their expertise to this project. Further support was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: because democracy demands wisdom.


From Italy to America: Photographs of Anthony Riccio

The Bellarmine Museum

February 1, 2012 - March 30, 2012

For Anthony Riccio (b. 1952), a picture truly is worth a thousand words. For the past four decades, the New Haven, Connecticut, native has documented, in word and image, the experiences of Italians and Italian-Americans not only in Southern Italy - from Campania to Sicily - but also in two culturally rich immigrant communities in America, Boston's North End and New Haven's "Little Italy."

"From Italy to America - Photographs of Anthony Riccio" features twenty-six black and white photographs by Mr. Riccio in addition to audio clips excerpted from his lengthy interviews with his subjects as they reminisced about the changes they experienced and witnessed in their lives.

Through the often poignant, always engaging photographs and interviews of his subjects, Mr. Riccio delves deeply into the lives of those whom he documents. In Boston's North End, for example, he immortalizes the zampognari (singers with pastoral wind instruments) as they perform during the Christmas season. His New Haven images show people at work and play and also capture individuals engaged in moments of quiet reflection who share memories that define them both as individuals and as part of the larger Italian-American community. U.S. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, whose district includes New Haven, CT, observes: "Anthony Riccio produces such a rich and emotional narrative of the Italian American Experience - both through his interviews and photographs that are timeless. I am sure this work will advance his lifetime project and give us insights that will not be lost."

Mr. Riccio's images of rural Southern Italy - an area that saw many of its inhabitants leave in search of the American dream - equally transport the viewer to another world, where captivating vistas and lively images of children are counterbalanced by the hardscrabble realities of an agrarian existence. His evocative view of an olive grove, with the cloud-shrouded hills of Faggiano looming in the distance, for example, is a bucolic counterpoint to his image of Naples, the abject buildings of which suggest a clear lack of financial prosperity. Italian American artist, educator and author writer B. Amore notes: "These are rare photographs of a people at one with village life on the point of change. The intimacy and directness of gaze could only be captured by a photographer like Anthony Riccio, who works with great respect for his subject matter and an authentic interest in his own heritage."

"From Italy to America - Photographs of Anthony Riccio" has been made possible through the generous support of Nestlé Waters North America, and its S. Pellegrino® Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, which is sourced in the Italian Alps, and the National Endowment for the Humanities: because democracy demands wisdom.


James Prosek: Un-Natural History

The Bellarmine Museum

October 21, 2011 - January 27, 2012

Artist, writer, and activist James Prosek made his authorial debut at age nineteen, when he was still an undergraduate at Yale University, with Trout: an Illustrated History (Alfred A. Knopf, 1996).

This work established his reputation as a naturalist as well as a gifted artist, whose remarkably detailed watercolors reflect a seemingly boundless depth of talent. Prosek's paintings, which range from the compellingly realistic to the inventively fanciful, have been shown with the Gerald Peters Gallery (New York, NY and Santa Fe, NM); Meredith Long Gallery (Houston, TX); Wajahat/Ingrao (New York, NY); the d.u.m.b.o. arts center (Brooklyn, NY); Reynolds Gallery (Richmond, VA); the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum (Ridgefield, CT) and Yale's Whitney Humanities Center (New Haven, CT). Prosek's prowess as an artist is matched by his talent as a wordsmith.

He has written for The New York Times as well as National Geographic Magazine, and won a Peabody Award in 2003 for his documentary about traveling through England in the footsteps of Izaak Walton, the seventeenth-century author of The Compleat Angler. Prosek's most recent book, Eels: An Exploration, from New Zealand to the Sargasso, of the World's Most Amazing and Mysterious Fish, was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice.

Prosek's work as both an artist and writer is marked by a critical probing of accepted taxonomies and naming conventions. He is particularly interested in exploring the ways in which language not only serves to organize the world around us, but also to reify extant hierarchies, thus fostering a sense of a “natural” order of things; an order that is, in fact, entirely illusory. The Bellarmine Museum of Art will explore these, and related, questions in James Prosek: Un-Natural History (October 21, 2011-December 21, 2011). Highlights of this dynamic exhibition, which provides a unique forum for cross-curricular initiatives at Fairfield University, include Prosek's captivating watercolors that illustrate these and other novel classificatory schemae as well as the artist's whimsical hybrid creatures, including Cockatool and Parrotfishe.


ekphrasis i: jeanne delarm-neri (mfa '12)

The Bellarmine Museum

June 15 - September 15, 2011

ek•phra•sis.n.'ek-frə-səs\. A literary description of or commentary on a visual work of art.

Poet and prose writer Jeanne DeLarm-Neri has created a series of new poems that respond to works in the Bellarmine Museum of Art's Permanent Collection. From a delicate 14th-century French ivory diptych to casts after masterworks from the Acropolis frieze, DeLarm-Neri engages with a broad cross-section of objects in the museum. In each instance, her writings give voice to a very personal aesthetic experience, which in turn provides visitors to the BMA with a new point of departure for their own interpretations and musings. DeLarm-Neri's poems will be displayed in the galleries next to the objects they address. They will also be posted on the BMA's website together with images of the relevant works.


Kells to Clonmacnoise: Medieval Irish Art in Context

The Bellarmine Museum

April 18 - May 24, 2011

This exhibition highlights the University's facsimile of the Book of Kells, and four reproductions of Irish medieval metalwork on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters. The Book of Kells is a lavishly decorated Irish gospel book, which contains colorful decorations on each calligraphic page, including several full page illustrations.

Produced ca. 800 A.D. at the height of Irish monastic influence in Europe, it is a unique record of one of the most vital periods of Christian history from which few liturgical objects survive. This period, the so-called "Golden Age" of Irish art, was an era of rich cultural exchange when Irish and Continental monks helped to spread Christianity throughout the British Isles. Arts, in all media, combined pre-Christian Celtic and Germanic traditions with new Christian forms. Irish monasteries throughout the British Isles were centers of production for sumptuous manuscripts and finely crafted liturgical objects, as this show will make clear.


Norman Gorbaty: Works in Dialogue

The Bellarmine Museum

January 27 - March 27, 2011

Over the span of his fifty year career as a graphic artist, Norman Gorbaty has produced a formidable body of work, including sculptures, paintings, and works on paper. A master of abstract empiricism, the artist's work is a testament to his pursuit of pure forms through observation and movement. Using emptiness as a symbol and minimalism as a style, Gorbaty transforms spaces into an evocative blend of mystery, freshness, and beauty. Works in Dialogue will run in tandem with Gorbaty's show of Judaica at the Thomas J. Walsh Gallery (To Honor My People), and will highlight the artist's smaller works on paper and his carved "stele."

Socratis Mavrommatis

Gifts from Athens: New Plaster Casts from the Acropolis Museum and Photographs by Socratis Mavrommatis

The Bellarmine Museum

November 2 - December 17, 2010

This exhibition highlighted photographs by Socratis Mavrommatis, a prominent Greek photographer who gifted 23 works to the university in 2008, and 8 new plaster casts, given by the Acropolis Museum in Athens to Fairfield in July 2010. Mavrommatis's work focuses on the Acropolis, with an emphasis on the beauty and changing nature of monuments and the Athenian landscape. The plaster casts, in contrast, are evidence of the grandeur and monumentality of the Parthenon and other Acropolis sculptures, and remain symbols of the art and mythology of Ancient Greece. This show also explored Athenian "gifts" in the broader sense - that is, of antiquity's enduring legacy in the development and evolution of Western civilization's multi-faceted culture.

Earlier Exhibitions at The Thomas J Walsh Art Gallery:


Fall: The Rise of a Landmark: Lewis Hine and the Empire State Building
Winter: Colleen Browning: Brush with Magic
Spring: Po Kim: Spirit of Change


Fall: Marlene Siff: Elements of Peace
Winter: Sylvia Wald: Seven Decades
Spring: SoloCollective - Jr/Sr Exhibition
Summer: History of Woman


Fall: Beyond the Rolling Fire: Paintings of Robyn W. Fairclough
Winter: Norman Gorbaty: To Honor My People
Spring: The Flowering of Punk Rock
Summer: Director's Choice: Five Local Artists


Fall: Joel Carreiro: Seeing Things
Winter: The Art of John "Crash" Matos
Spring: Platform - Jr/Sr Exhibition
Summer: Bramble & Bramble: Remnants, Glyphs, and Palimpsests


Fall: Art & Human Consciousness: The Art of Robert January
Winter: Marilyn Cohen: Layers of Time and Memories
Spring: Robert Vickrey: The Magic of Realism
Summer: Ernest Garthwaite, Wetlands: A Spiritual Refrain


Fall: A New Reality: Black and White Photography in Contemporary Art
Winter: Donald Vaccino: The Emperor's New Clothes
Summer: Thomas Weaver: Falling and Floating


Fall: The Creative Photograph in Archaeology
Winter: Multiple Visions: Traveling Art Boxes from Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay
Spring: Suzanne Chamlin: Painting the Landscape and Other Views
Summer: Emptiness: Sculpture by Michael River


Fall: National Sculpture Society Annual Awards Exhibtion
Winter: Faith Ringgold
Summer: Barbara Wilk: Mostly Landscapes and Birds


Fall: Indian Paintings of the New Millenium: Sunanda and Umesh Gaur Collection
Winter: Ethiopia: Religious Pageantry and Tribal Traditions (Barbara Paul)
Spring: Student Art Exhibtion
Summer: Night & Day: Women's Caucus of Art (CT) Juried Exhibition


Fall: Photographs of the Athenian Acropolis: The Restoration Project
Winter: A World of Stage: Russian Costume and Stage Design
Spring: 2004 Faculty Art Exhibition
Summer: Connecticut Women Artist Juried Exhibition


Fall: Across Time: The Photographs of Cynthia Brumback
Spring: 2003 Student Art Exhibition


Fall: Sal Sirugo: From the Intimate to the Infinite
Late Fall: What Now: Comtemporary Painting, Sculpture, Photography, and Multi-Media Installation
Winter: Shall We Dance: A Century of African-Americans in Dance
Spring: Claudia Schechter: People from Foreign Lands
Summer: The Esstential Moment: A Survey of the Paintings, Works on Paper and Sculpture of Joseph Peller


Fall: Michael DillonL Perfectus-Imperfectus (1980-2000)
Winter: The Mystical Arts of Tibet: Mandala, Photography and Dance
Spring: Studio Selects: A Juried Exhibtion
Summer: Contemporary Realism (Bettie and Samuel Roberts)


Fall: Wang Ming: Universal Dimensions
Spring: Realism: The Spirit of Soviet Art 1932-1980

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Fairfield, Connecticut 06824
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