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'What's The Alternative?" At Benton In Storrs

The new exhibit at The William Benton Museum of Art in Storrs is not for children. There are dozens of images of nudity, sexuality, adult language and violence, including one unforgettably horrifying photo of a soldier in Southeast Asia with half of his head blown off.

This imagery was necessary, however, for political commentators in the 60s and 70s. Using photos, text and original artworks, they expressed outrage over a variety of societal issues: women’s and gay rights; the Vietnam war; government, church and corporate overreach; or just free-floating existential dread.

Veteran political cartoonist Dwayne Booth, aka Mr. Fish, who has used his art to shred players on both sides of the political spectrum, curated the show, “What’s the Alternative?” The exhibit uses items from UConn’s enormous Alternative Press Collection, which is housed in the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center.

Many cartoons, in the spirit of Mr. Fish, skewer across political lines. One depicts an “acting president” whose typewriter spews out repeated “bulls—t.” An issue of the paper Old Mole shows two corporate and military men frolicking as a rocket launches. Under them, worried average joes hold up the platform on which they stand. Another cartoon shows eight fat heads sealed in a jar, uttering vapid corporate-speak. A cover of the magazine Rat shows a father and son arguing about issues, agreeing on nothing. Another Rat cover shows a corporate bigwig, saying “War is Money,” but he is a skeleton.

Among the newspapers used in the show are The Seed, Vancouver Free Press, Georgia Straight, Avatar, Chicago Seed, The East Village Other and The Great Speckled Bird.

The Realist, a paper published from 1958 to 2001 that identified itself as “the fire hydrant of the underdog,” featured one of the key artworks, which could have been drawn today. Two men, one with a Soviet tattoo and the other with American flag underwear, stand in front of a naked woman, whose bottom depicts the world. The caption: “It’s his turn now and then me again.”

WHAT’S THE ALTERNATIVE?: THE ART AND OUTRAGE OF THE 1960S UNDERGROUND PRESS is at The William Benton Museum of Art, on the campus of University of Connecticut in Storrs, until Oct. 14. http://benton.uconn.edu.

On Other Walls

West Hartford Art League, 37 Buena Vista Road, presents “Paper Dolls,” an exhibit of collage and mixed media, from Sept. 13, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m., to Sept. 30. Artists are Vibeke Dressler, Tobey Gitelle, Cecilia McCulloch, Barbara Ross, Jane Shaskan, Susan Spaniol, Jennifer Glick, Jill Pasanen, Lonny Wilhelm and Diane Zibell. www.westhartfordart.org.

Art League of New Britain, 30 Cedar St., presents “Un Año después de Maria: Puerto Rico Before and After Maria” until Sept. 30. An opening reception is Sept. 15 from 5:30 to 9 p.m., following a panel discussion from 3 to 5 p.m. at New Britain Museum of American Art, 56 Lexington St. www.alnb.org.

“Andrea Wisnewski: Paper Cuts & Prints,” an exhibit by the Mansfield artist, is at Kerri Gallery, 861 Main St. in Willimantic, until Oct. 27. The opening reception is Sept. 14, 6 to 8 p.m. www.kerriquirk.com.

“Rhythms of Nature: David Dunlop, Deborah Quinn-Munson, Jeanne Rosier Smith” is at Susan Powell Fine Art, 679 Boston Post Road in Madison, until Sept. 30. www.susanpowellfineart.com.

Artists will show their work in the River Valley Art Tour of studios in Chester, Essex and Deep River, on Sept. 15 and 16 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists are Claudia Van Nes, Hayne Bayless, Rachel Carlson, Julie Bonilla, Kristina Quinones, Ben Parker, Peter Lindner, Matt Ruocco, Madalena Holtzman, Katherine Nilsson, Rosemary Cotnoir, Karen Lipeika, Jeanne Potoff, Maura Cochran, Jeanne O’Brien, Alicia Melluzzo, Betsy McManus, Pam Carlson, Jennifer Holmes, Melanie Carr, Jill Vaughn, Donna Colburn, Susan Chamberland ,Carol Young and Jeni Gray-Roberts. Map: www.rivervalleyartists.com/artstrail-map.

“Patricia Carrigan: The Space Between” is at Axel Ineriors, 33 North Ave. in Norwalk, from Sept. 15, opening with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m., to Nov. 10. www.axelinteriors.com.

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