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December 6, 2004

Photography Exhibit at Torrington Campus
Celebrates Arts Community

Photographs of sculptor Alexander Calder, poet Allen Ginsberg, novelist John Updike, and pianist Vladimir Horowitz are among 22 images by Inge Morath on display at the University’s Torrington campus through May 31, 2005.

Julia Bolus, Michael Menard,  and

Michael Menard, center, director of the Torrington campus, Julia Bolus, left, who works for the Estate of Inge Morath, and Davyne Verstandig, a lecturer in English at the Torrington campus, look at an exhibit of Inge Morath’s photos on display at the Torrington campus. The exhibit was curated especially for the campus.

Photo by Tina Covensky

The exhibit, Inge Morath: Litchfield County, curated especially for the campus, offers a slice of Morath’s extensive work and a glimpse into the world in which she lived.

A public lecture and slideshow about Morath’s work and life, presented by John Jacob, executive director of the Estate of Inge Morath, will take place on Dec. 9. in the lecture hall at the Torrington campus, beginning at 7 p.m.

Born in Austria, Morath worked with renowned French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in the early 1950’s, but became known in her own right for her photographic images. Her photographic essays were published in a number of
leading magazines.

She traveled extensively in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and later in the Soviet Union and China. She photographed many places associated with prominent people, including Pasternak’s home, Pushkin’s library, and Chekhov’s house.

In 1962, Morath married Arthur Miller and settled in New York and Connecticut. She died in 2002.

The set of images on display in Torrington is particularly appropriate to the campus as it seeks to establish itself as a cultural center for the area, because it records some of the most celebrated writers and artists of their time at work in their northwest Connecticut studios or homes.

The Torrington campus has long had close ties with the local community, but is increasingly becoming known as a center for the arts in northwestern Connecticut, says director Michael Menard. Many well-known artists and writers live in the area.

“This exhibit both promotes education in the arts through display of Morath’s work, and builds upon the momentum of intellectual energy here at UConn Torrington, helping to frame the campus,” says Menard, an enthusiastic proponent of the arts in Torrington, who was appointed director of the regional campus in July.

The emerging identity of the Torrington campus as a center for the arts goes back to 1993, when the Litchfield County Writers Project was launched there.

Building upon a tradition of artistic expression that began in the area in the 18th century, the Writers Project preserves, collects, studies, and communicates the life, art, and spirit of the writers of Litchfield County through speaker series, workshops, and educational outreach events. Visiting speakers have included such writers as Arthur Miller, Wendell Minor, Madeleine L’Engle, Burton Bernstein, and Honor Moore.

The Writers Project includes a collection of more than 600 books written by nearly 200 Litchfield County authors, most of them signed first editions donated to the University by the authors.

The Inge Morath exhibit was brought to the campus by Davyne Verstandig, chair of the Writers Project and a lecturer in English at the Torrington campus, and a group of area writers that includes Julia Bolus, a writer who works for the Estate of Inge Morath and is Arthur Miller’s literary assistant.

“As the estate developed the education program that is part of its mission, the family wanted to include universities and colleges,” says Bolus, co-curator of the exhibit together with Jennifer Larsen of the Estate of Inge Morath. “It seemed like a natural first choice to have this exhibit at UConn Torrington. Inge and Arthur had lived in the area so long, and Litchfield County was very much a part of their lives.”

Morath visited the campus on at least one occasion in the late 1990’s, when Miller gave a lecture on the writer Harrison Salisbury.

“Just as Morath used light to create portraits and photographic essays of great intimacy, depth, and richness,” says Verstandig, “so her work illuminates the Torrington campus and adds dimension by its presence.”

Additional arts events are planned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Torrington campus next fall, including a series of events under the aegis of the Writers Project, and a course taught by Verstandig and John Long, an adjunct professor, on novels and films by the writers of Litchfield County.

Exhibit hours are Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The exhibit will also be open on Saturday Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.