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Reblogged from: Friends of the Davison Art Center. (Go to the original post…)

Written by FDAC Board Member Sharifa T. Lookman ’17

This summer I have had the opportunity to research and live on campus. In addition to realizing Connecticut’s extreme humidity (who knew this was the same state that snows us in all winter!), I am enjoying the east coast’s international collections and thriving art culture. Most recently, I visited the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and enjoyed a special traveling exhibition Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis, on view in Hartford through September 20.

Peter Blume (1906-1992) was a Russian born artist who emigrated as a child to New York City, where he later studied art as a young adult. His studies took him to Italy for year, but he returned to the city and established himself as a practicing artist.

Having just spent four months abroad in Florence myself, I was intrigued by Blume’s time in Italy. Upon looking at his works it became clear to me that a lot of his influence came from the Italian Renaissance, particularly in his piece Recollection of the Flood. True to Renaissance tradition, Blume created multiple iterations of the work in the form of cartoons and studies. His understanding of composition and human form evolves throughout his studies, and his figures exhibit Giotto and Michelangelo-esque understandings of the human figure by showcasing bulky forms and almost over exaggerated anatomical mass. In Study for Recollection of the Flood Blume situates his figures in space, blocking them in using light and dark tones. The artist depicted working on a fresco in the background mimics Blume’s own artistic process as he sketches his composition into the wall fresco. It is supposed that the studio in the painting is actually based off of Blume’s own workspace, further identifying the artists with Blume himself. This process of painting depicted also references the Renaissance fresco painting technique, in which the artist would sketch in their composition and cartoon in a red pigment called sinopia, which would become the under painting.

Blume further imbued his painting with an Italian influence in the content itself. In 1966 the Arno River in Florence flooded, damaging much of the city’s architecture, archives, and art. In the following decade efforts were made by conservators to restore the damaged artwork and frescos. Blume depicts the aftermath of this event in Recollection of the Flood. In the foreground Blume portrays survivors of the flood in a state of homelessness and despair, while in the background he illustrates artists perhaps repairing damage to an existing fresco or creating a new one, emphasizing hope and revival.

More involved analyses of these pieces have been done that push past just the flood itself. Here I have isolated the notion of the flood to emphasize the work’s Italian and Renaissance sensibilities, in both content and technique. I posit that Blume’s Recollection of the Flood and its studies are not just imitations of the Italian Renaissance, but rather can be interpreted as contemporary portrayals of Italy’s people and values. By capturing the art and techniques of Italian Renaissance as well as the attitude of contemporary Florence, the works reminded me more of my time spent in Italy than I believe even a Michelangelo would. It was unexpected, however, to be so vividly reminded of this time while perusing an American Modernism exhibition! I found this these works of Blume’s to be an unexpected and yet honest taste of Italy and its history in our very own humble Connecticut.

Reblogged from: The WesPress Blog. (Go to the original post…)

This week’s selection for Throwback Thursday is “Circuit” from James Dickey’s Collection The Eagle’s Mile (1990). The poem was republished in
The Selected Poems (1998). Wesleyan also published Buckdancer’s Choice (1965), Poems: 1957–1967 (1967),
and The Whole Motion: Collected Poems, 1945–1992 (1992)

JDickey Blog Post


Beaches, it is true: they go on       on
And on, but as they ram and pack, foreseeing

Around a curve, always    slow-going headlong

For the circle
                                        swerving from water
But not really, their minds on a perfect connection, no matter
How long it takes. You can’t be
On them without making the choice
To meet yourself no matter

How long. Don’t be afraid;
It will come     will hit you

Straight out of the wing, on wings or not,
Where you have blanked yourself

Still with your feet. It may be raining

In twilight, a sensitive stripping
Of arrow-feathers, a lost trajectory struck
Stocking-still through them,                                            
                              or where you cannot tell

If the earth is green or red,

Basically, or if the rock with your feet on it

Has floated over the water. As for where you are standing

Now, there are none of those things; there are only
In one shallow spray-pool      this one

Strong horses circling. Stretch and tell me, Lord;
Let the place talk.

                                                                                                            This may just be it.


JAMES DICKEY (1923–1997) was born in Atlanta and died in Columbia, South Carolina. He is most widely known as the author of the novel and screenplay Deliverance. He was also the author of several other novels and fifteen books of poetry. His many honors included the National Book Award and a Melville Cane Award for Buckdancer’s Choice (1965). He was invited to read at President Carter’s inauguration in 1977, and served as judge of the prestigious Yale Younger Poets series. 

Reblogged from: Special Collections & Archives at Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

As part of my internship at SC&A I created finding aids for three collections. The most notable among these is the finding aid for a collection that I processed during my internship dealing with Wesleyan President James L. McConaughy, his wife Elizabeth, and son James Jr. The collection entitled, McConaughy Family Papers, details important aspects of former President McConaughy’s life. James L. McConaughy was just 37 years old when he was elected President of Wesleyan in 1925, making him the youngest ever president of Wesleyan. Despite his youth McConaughy’s career at Wesleyan was very accomplished. McConaughy oversaw the construction of many prominent buildings on campus including the Alumni Athletic Building, the Harriman Dormitory, the Olin Library, the Hall Laboratory, and the Shanklin Memorial Library. New art classes were introduced during his tenure; intercollegiate athletics became popular as did singing, debating, and university forums. McConaughy took a year leave to become President of the United China Relief Fund in 1942. He subsequently resigned from Wesleyan in 1943 after 18 years of service to the university. McConaughy moved on to his other career interest, Republican politics. After serving as lieutenant governor from 1939 until 1941, McConaughy successfully ran for governor of Connecticut in November of 1946. As governor McConaughy promoted issues that were of importance to him including employment reform, benefits for the elderly, supporting servicemen, and housing improvements. He introduced a sales tax to pay for improvements in these areas. His promising political career came to an abrupt end when he died suddenly on March 7, 1948.

Correspondence in this collection details McConaughy’s resignation and departure from Wesleyan, his travels as President of the United China Relief Fund, and his Connecticut gubernatorial victory. Copies of his speeches and addresses ranging from his time as President of Wesleyan to his addresses as governor of Connecticut are also included. Furthermore, various items document his time at Wesleyan including documents from his inauguration to a tribute by the board of trustees upon his resignation. Newspaper clippings further detail his life as an education professional to his political career to his untimely death.

Documents within the collection pertain to his wife Elizabeth as well. Newspaper clippings detail her life as Connecticut’s First Lady. Many of her notable short stories (a few of which appeared in The New Yorker) are also included within the collection. Their son James L. McConaughy Jr.’s career as a journalist (including stints at the Washington Post, Time, Life, and Esquire), his tragic death in a plane crash in 1958, and the Wesleyan award created in his honor through  correspondence, newspaper clippings rand various articles in this collection. Other items include wills, genealogical records, and estate papers pertaining to McConaughy relatives, many of whom lived in the 19th Century.

Another collection documents the life of Eldon Benjamin Birdsey, entitled, Eldon Benjamin Birdsey Notebook. Birdsey was born in Lyme, CT on July 26, 1848. A graduate of Wesleyan (1871), Birdsey became the first prosecuting attorney of the Middletown city court in 1879 until 1883 when he was elected to serve as the probate judge for the Probate District of Middletown. After leaving public office, Birdsey continued to practice law serving the citizens of Middletown County. In 1885 he was elected as a trustee of Middletown Savings Bank of which he served as the attorney for the bank and later a director of the bank. Birdsey was married to Caroline E. Chase with whom he had one daughter, Laura Chase, born March 23, 1878. Birdsey died on December 6, 1917.

This collection consists of a single notebook created by Eldon Benjamin Birdsey. The notebook was made for J.W. Hewitt, a classics professor at Wesleyan and friend of Birdsey. The notebook includes various entries dealing with Birdsey’s philosophy on life, observances of nature, his own poetry, quoted poetry, and Middletown. The notebook also includes rewritten correspondence from Birdsey to friends of Birdsey. The correspondence ranges in date from 1898 to 1913. The notebook also includes materials added after the death of Birdsey including his obituary and a chronology of important events in his life.

A final collection details the academic career and life of Stephen Beekman Bangs, entitled, Stephen Beekman Bangs Letters to Sylvester Smith. Stephen Beekman Bangs was born on March 15, 1823. He was a Wesleyan student before leaving the University during his senior year due to poor health. He later graduated with a B.A. from New York University in 1843. Bangs became a minister and was part of the New York Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1844). He died on March 21, 1846 in Milford Connecticut.

This collection consists of letters dating from 1840 to 1841. This correspondence is from Stephen Beekman Bangs to his friend and Yale student Sylvester Smith. Topics of conversation include Bangs planning visits to see Smith in New Haven, Bangs’ preference of the city of New Haven over Middletown, discussion of activities and classes at Wesleyan, Bangs’ poor health and temporary leave of absences from the University, and discussion of mutual friends and acquaintances.

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

Economics and government double major David Schwartz ’17 is reaching new heights with aerial photography. David, who is founder and president of the Wesleyan Radio Control/ Drone Club, has photographed many campus scenes and events from a drone. Read more about David in this Q&A: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/20…/…/28/schwartzdrone/

Reblogged from: The WesPress Blog. (Go to the original post…)

Robert Ryan: An Actor’s Actor
Special screenings of films featuring Robert Ryan
Sept. 4–10 @ Anthology Film Archives 

 Jones comps.indd

A six-film Robert Ryan retrospective
in conjunction with The Lives of Robert Ryan (Wesleyan UP)

  • ACT OF VIOLENCE (Fred Zinnemann, 1948)
    September 4, 7:00 PM; September 6, 4:15 PM; September 8, 9:00 PM
  • ON DANGEROUS GROUND (Nicholas Ray, 1952)
    September 4, 9:00 PM; September 7, 7:00 PM; September 10, 7:00 PM
  • THE NAKED SPUR (Anthony Mann, 1953)
    September 5, 4:30 PM; September 7, 9:00 PM; September 9, 7:00 PM
  • BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK (John Sturges, 1955)
    September 5, 9:15 PM; September 6, 9:00 PM; September 8, 7:00 PM

From September 4–10, Anthology Film Archives in New York will celebrate publication of The Lives of Robert Ryan with the retrospective series “Robert Ryan: An Actor’s Actor.” The series collects six of the most arresting screen performances by this gifted artist and activist, whom Martin Scorsese called “one of the greatest actors in the history of American film.” Select screenings will feature discussions with author J.R. Jones, film editor for the Chicago Reader, and Robert Ryan’s son, Cheyney Ryan, professor of law and philosophy at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at Oxford University.

The son of a Chicago construction executive with strong ties to the Democratic machine, Robert Ryan became a star after World War II on the strength of his menacing performance as an anti-Semitic murderer in the film noir Crossfire. Over the next quarter century he created a gallery of brooding, neurotic, and violent characters in such movies as Bad Day at Black RockBilly BuddThe Dirty Dozen, and The Wild Bunch. His riveting performances expose the darkest impulses of the American psyche during the Cold War.

At the same time, Ryan’s marriage to a liberal Quaker and his own sense of conscience launched him into a tireless career of peace and civil rights activism that stood in direct contrast to his screen persona. Drawing on unpublished writings and revealing interviews, Jones deftly explores the many contradictory facets of Ryan’s public and private lives, and how these lives intertwined in one of the most compelling actors of a generation.

Jones has recently spoken about The Lives of Robert Ryan at the Arthur Lyons Film Noir Festival in Palm Springs and at the Printers Row Lit Fest in Chicago. At the Music Box Theatre in Chicago, he presented a screening of Ryan’s boxing classic The Set-Up and took part in a discussion with Lisa Ryan, the actor’s daughter. The Lives of Robert Ryan is the featured book for July on Turner Classic Movies.

J.R. JONES is film editor for the Chicago Reader, where his work has appeared since 1996 and won multiple awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia. A member of the National Society of Film Critics, Jones has also published work in the Chicago Sun-Times, New York Press, Kenyon Review, and Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000, edited by Peter Guralnick.

CHEYNEY RYAN is Human Rights Program Director at the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict at Oxford University, where he is engaged in a multi-year project exploring the relation of pacifism and nonviolence to contemporary just war theory. He has also taught at Harvard Law School, Northwestern University, and University of Oregon, where he is a professor emeritus. His most recent book is The Chickenhawk Syndrome: War, Sacrifice, and Personal Responsibility.

ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES is an international center for the preservation, study, and exhibition of film and video, with a particular focus on independent, experimental, and avant-garde cinema. AFA maintains a reference library containing the world’s largest collection of books, periodicals, stills, and other paper materials related to avant-garde cinema. It screens more than 900 programs annually, preserves an average of 25 films per year, publishes books and DVDs, and hosts numerous scholars and researchers.

Praise for The Lives of Robert Ryan:

“A masterly biography that portrays an actor devoted to his craft and dedicated to his personal convictions.” –Richard Dickey, Library Journal

“J.R. Jones in his excellent biography shows what a fascinating career [Ryan’s] was—complicated, contradictory, accidental. . . . As Jones demonstrates at considerable length, [Ryan] was a man of liberal principle and moral courage.” –Philip French, Sight & Sound 

“J.R. Jones’s meticulous, revealing book on Robert Ryan places the actor’s life and career against the turbulent politics of the Cold War and the red scare in Hollywood. Jones is especially adept in moving between the life and the work, the films and their contexts. He introduces political history throughout, in ways that are both relevant and revelatory.” –Foster Hirsch, author of The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir

“As self-effacing yet as solid and as ethically engaged as Robert Ryan himself, J.R. Jones offers a comprehensive and sensitive chronicle of one of the giants of American movie acting.” –Jonathan Rosenbaum, author of Movie Wars

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

Eleven Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows delivered brief research proposal presentations July 23 in Fisk Hall. The fellows, six from Wesleyan and five from Queens College, City University of New York, spent the past two months developing their research projects with the assistance of their peers, Wesleyan faculty and Wesleyan librarians.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program provides minority students and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, with support to pursue graduate degrees in the arts and sciences.

Research topics range from deconstructing African feminism to the role of political theater for a post-combat audience to trauma in Japan caused by the Atomic Bomb.

Read more about the students and their projects: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2015/07/27/mellonmays/

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

Wesleyan’s Department of Economics hosted a conference titled “Teaching Finance at Liberal Arts Colleges” July 21-23 on campus. The Association to Advance Liberal Arts Colleges (AALAC) provided Wesleyan with a grant to support the event. 

Pictured, front row, from left: John Caskey, Swarthmore; Tom Bernardin, St. Olaf College; Matt Botsch, Bowdoin; Ben Keefer, Carleton; Liang Ding, Macalaster; Abigail Hornstein, Wesleyan; Michelle Zemel, Pomona; and Caleb Stroup, Davidson. Back row, from left: David Chapman, University of Virginia; Chris Hoag, Trinity; Xiao Jiang, Denison; Ted Burczak, Denison; Karl Boulware, Wesleyan; GianDomenico Sarolli, Drew; Michael Kelly, Lafayette; Martin Gosman, Wesleyan; Bill Gentry, Williams; and Greg Phelan, Williams.

Read more: http://newsletter.blogs.wesleyan.edu/2015/07/24/financeconference/

Reblogged from: peer advisor. (Go to the original post…)

pre college nerves

About three years ago, I remember how anxious I was the summer before college. My mind kept racing with thoughts on whether I would like college, would I fit in, where was I living, etc. As many of you embark on your four-year journey at Wesleyan, you should keep in mind some of these helpful tips to sooth your pre-college worries


  1. Talk to Current College Students

Whether it is your older sibling, your college friend, or a student at Wesleyan, you can always reach out to students that have been through the college experience. The WesAdmits 2019 Facebook page is great resource to post some questions and reach out to current Wesleyan students. Additionally, you can email your friendly Academic Peer Advisors or Orientation Interns. There are many resources for you to use so make sure you take advantage!


  1. Make a Plan

What clubs are you going to join? What are some goals you have for the upcoming year? What questions do you want to ask your academic advisor? Writing out your concerns or questions is a good way to find out what you need or want to know. The Wesleyan website has a list of all the clubs and activities available to all students. In addition, your Wesleyan email holds all the emails of Wesleyan students, advisors, faculty and staff. You can also contact your Academic Peer Advisors to help you write out a plan.


  1. Learn the skills for living away from home

Are you nervous about those housekeeping task you’ll have to do for yourself once you get to school? Ask anyone who knows those tasks such as laundry, cooking, cleaning to teach you. This is also a great way to bond with a friend or family members before shipping off to Wes.


  1. Learn the Wesleyan Fight Song

If you know all the lyrics to this song, you’ll be more prepared then everyone else. Find it here! http://www.wesleyan.edu/about/know/traditions.html


  1. Put it all in perspective

Hey, you were accepted into Wesleyan University. That’s a big deal. You are smart and ready for college life. Things are going to be different from high school and sure sometimes it is hard, but if you really want to be here, the Wesleyan community welcomes you with open arms.


I hope this blurb was helpful and if you have any questions for me or any other Peer Advisor make sure to contact us! Here’s the link to our info: http://peeradvisor.blogs.wesleyan.edu/about-us/

Reblogged from: ITS System Announcements. (Go to the original post…)

The Portfolio and Human Resources System will be down on Saturday, 7/25/2015 from 7 AM until 10 AM for maintenance.

Steve Machuga



Reblogged from: The WesPress Blog. (Go to the original post…)

Today’s Throwback Thursday selection is “One Moon in Binoculars,” from Heather McHugh’s 1988 collection Shades.


McHugh tbt


One Moon in Binoculars

How could this homely instrument
have power to pull
the whole moon closer,
hold ten textures in
the intimacy of a glance?
The silvers tremble severally
splashed and sanded,
spine-wise, spidery,
in sharp and shadowed
pocks upon the plain. The view

is black and white, but brighter than TV,
clearer than sand in a glass of vodka,
shivering, with each
detail distilled
down to the pebbles
of ocular grain. To cast an eye
across its wild serenities
is to be glad

you cannot see that otherworldly flag
(our worldly flag, that is). They stuck it
flat and stiff up there, because
there is no wind. They made
an outdoor ad, a small design
upon the grand. We might as well

have called the moon American, and raised
a dollar sign above the silver land.



HEATHER MCHUGH is the author of many poetry collections, including Upgraded to Serious, Eyeshot (shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize), The Father of Predicaments, Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968–1993 (finalist for the National Book Award), Shades, To the Quick, and A World of Difference. She is also the author of a collection of literary essays and three books of translation. She edited the Academy of American Poets’ anthology New Voices: University and College Prizes, and served as the 2007 guest editor for the Best American Poetry series.

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