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Museums at Fairfield University

Upcoming Exhibitions

Exhibitions are generally planned about two years in advance and will be listed here as soon as the exhibition dates and venue, as well as most other details, are confirmed.

Mizusashi: Japanese Water Jars from the Carol and Jeffrey Horvitz Collection

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

May 31, 2018 – December 14, 2018

mizusashi is a utensil used in the Japanese tea ceremony, a tradition with medieval origins that is still widely practiced today. In a tea gathering, a host prepares bowls of tea by whisking together powdered green tea and hot water drawn from a kettle. The mizusashi, typically an earthenware or stoneware jar, holds the water used to replenish the kettle and rinse the bowls. The first utensil to enter the room and the last to leave, the mizusashi is a locational and aesthetic anchor for the gathering and can take a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and appearances. This selection of 20th- and 21st-century mizusashi highlights two important trends—the perpetuation of longstanding tea traditions alongside the artistry and technical excellence that define modern Japanese ceramics.

Image © Katsumata Chieko

Guns in the hands of artists exhibition

#UNLOAD: Guns in the Hands of Artists

Walsh Gallery

June 1 – October 13, 2018

The Fairfield University Art Museum, in partnership with #UNLOAD and the Guns In The Hands of Artists Foundation, is proud to announce the opening of the exhibition, #UNLOAD: Guns in the Hands of Artists. Each piece in the exhibition was created using decommissioned guns, taken off the streets of New Orleans via a gun buyback program and distributed to internationally-known artists. Painters, glass artists, sculptors, photographers, poets, and other artists used the decommissioned firearms to create works of art that address the complex issue of guns and gun violence. The exhibition originated in mid-1990s New Orleans, where a spiking murder rate led artist Brian Borrello to conceive of the first iteration of Guns in the Hands of Artists exhibition by bringing the discussion over the role of guns and gun violence in our society into the realm of art -- art as the language for dialogue and possibly change without the often partisan and polarized politics that surround the issue. Borrello and gallery owner Jonathan Ferrara mounted this exhibition at Positive Space The Gallery in September 1996 in the Lower Garden District of New Orleans. In 2014, Ferrara reorganized the exhibition to feature work by internationally recognized artists. Through their own medium, each artist has used the decommissioned firearms to create works that express a thought, make a statement, open a discussion, and stimulate thinking about guns in our culture.



This exhibition is a part of #UNLOAD, an arts-based initiative in Connecticut that seeks to drive consensus around the divisive issue of gun violence. Visit the unloadusa.org website for more information about the many events taking place across the state in 2018 that will engage our communities in vibrant dialogue about this important issue. #UNLOAD and the Fairfield University Art Museum believe in the power of the arts to ignite change in society.

In collaboration with the Guns in the Hands of Artists Foundation, #UNLOAD, and the Quick Center for the Arts, the museum hopes to engage partners and collaborators in taking a hard look at the serious public health consequences of gun violence in America. Please check back here often as additional programming is in the works. We hope that the exhibition and the events presented in conjunction with it will offer unique opportunities to engage in the conversation about guns in our society, using art as the catalyst for dialogue. 

Alfred James Tulk Exhibition

The Collections of Alfred James Tulk: Liberia, 1931-33

Bellarmine Hall Galleries

September 14 – December 14, 2018

Many important collections of West African art trace their origins to the state of Connecticut. This exhibition highlights objects acquired in the early 1930s by Connecticut artist Alfred James Tulk of Stamford.

Born in London in 1899, Alfred Tulk studied art at Oberlin Art College and then Yale University, from where he earned his BA in 1923. Tulk is best known for his public mural paintings, stained glass windows, and mosaics, many of which he completed during his tenure at the Rambusch Decorating Company in New York City. Between 1925 and 1954, he painted over 300 large murals for theatres, churches, hotels, restaurants, and private homes in the United States.

In 1931, Alfred Tulk and his wife, Ethel Tulk, traveled from their home in Connecticut to rural Liberia, where they spent one year living and working in Ganta at the American Methodist mission station established there in 1926 by Tulk’s close friend, medical missionary Dr. George W. Harley. While in Liberia, Tulk assembled a small but important collection of masks, statues, and other objects of daily use and material culture a number of which have been re-assembled for this exhibition. He also created a portfolio of portrait drawings and oil paintings which he created in situ of local subjects from the region around Ganta. The exhibition will include several of Tulk’s own artworks, as well as some of his field photographs, his map of Liberia, selected correspondence, and a copy of his original handwritten field diary.

While focusing on Alfred J. Tulk as collector, the exhibition also seeks to contextualize the objects he acquired within the cultural context of their origin and use. Associated both with ritual functions and daily activities, these objects provide a unique lens onto the cultures of northeastern Liberia during the early decades of the twentieth century. Because Tulk brought back a mix of both “authentic” and “trade/tourist” art, the collection allows us to explore in the exhibition narrative issues such as commodification and the art market, the changing socio-economic landscape of rural Liberia in the early twentieth century, and the adoption of new materials (such as aluminum) in “traditional” aesthetic forms.

The exhibition is curated by Dr. Christopher B. Steiner, Lucy C. McDannel '22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology at Connecticut College,and will include works lent by The Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology, of Harvard University, the collection of Louis T. Wells, the collection of Margaret Wells, and other private collection

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