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Newsletter | April 13, 2024

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Trivia question

When minimalist sculptor Carl Andre died in January, obituaries described how he became a polarizing figure in the art world with the death of his wife, fellow artist Ana Mendieta, in 1985. The two were home together in their apartment in New York City when Mendieta plunged 34 stories to her death. Andre claimed the death was a suicide; police charged him with second-degree murder. He was acquitted, but suspicion followed him for the rest of his life. In Hartford, though, he had been a controversial figure for years before that incident, thanks to a prominent outdoor installation he created for the city in 1977. It remains today. What is it?

For the answer, see the end of this newsletter.


Opinion: Helping CT’s young people look both ways crossing the media highway – Hartford Courant*

William Bevacqua wrote the essay above in support of Connecticut History Day, a student competition overseen by the The Connecticut Democracy Center. Bevacqua is president and CEO of the Center, which also operates the Old State House.

When Ted Williams came to Hartford his bat talked, he didn’t - Hartford Courant*

April 9: Abraham Ribicoff, Governor & Barrier-Breaker - Today in Connecticut History

April 7: WWI War Fever Heats Up Hartford - Today in Connecticut History

* Requires paid subscription, usually after a certain number of free articles.

Events calendar

Virtual Lunch and Learn: Justices of the Peace and the American Revolution

Tuesday, April 16, noon to 1 p.m. This free online presentation by Hannah Farber will focus on civil litigation in the early American republic. It will use surviving dockets to show how different types of magistrates–farmers, ministers, urban merchants, and Patriot enforcers–administered justice for their neighbors amid the disruptions of the Revolutionary War. Get tickets here to receive the Zoom link. Questions? Email Jen Busa at jbusa@connecticutmuseum.org.

Discover Cedar Hill: Highlight Tour

Saturday, May 4, 10 to 11 a.m., at Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Avenue, Hartford. “Explore Hartford’s rural cemetery with Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation Director Beverly Lucas. The one-hour tour showcases the art, history, and natural beauty that makes this urban oasis so special.” Free admission, but reservations are recommended.

If you’d like to add your event, send the “who, what, when, and where” to Kevin@HartfordHistory.net.

Trivia question answer

Carl Andre rock installation at the corner of Gold and Main street in Hartford in April 2024

"Stone Field Sculpture" consists of 36 glacial boulders arranged in parallel rows of varying length on a sliver of land between Gold Street and two of the city's most historic properties, the Center Church and the Ancient Burying Ground. As Andre placed his boulders, controversy grew. Then-Mayor George Athanson spoke for the critics: “It’s just a bunch of rocks. Little kids could do that.” Andre, he complained, had brought “international ridicule” to Hartford. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, along with the National Endowment for the Arts, budgeted $100,000 for the project. It was reported that Andre walked away with $87,000.

Above: Carl Andre’s 1977 work "Stone Field Sculpture," seen this week from Gold Street, facing Main Street. In the background: Center Church and, on the other side of Main Street, the Travelers t0wer. Photo: Kevin Flood, HartfordHistory.net


"Carl Andre, 88, austerely minimalist sculptor, is dead," New York Times, January 24, 2024 (Gift article; no subscription required.)

"Carl Andre, austere sculptor and minimalist pioneer, dies at 88," Washington Post, January 25, 2024. (May require subscription.)

"Carl Andre," biographical sketch on Public Art CT

"Open-air culture," Hartford Courant, September 27, 2015.

More trivia questions at HartfordHistory.net

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