Yale Bulletin and Calendar

January 26, 2001Volume 29, Number 16

Richard ("Chip") Benson

Benson reappointed to second
term as dean of School of Art

Richard ("Chip") Benson has been reappointed dean of the School of Art for a second five-year term, effective July 1.

In making the announcement, President Richard C. Levin noted that the faculty committee which reviewed Benson's performance as dean voiced "unanimous support for his efforts to strengthen the School of Art."

"He is an exemplary citizen of the University," said Levin of Benson. "The School of Art and the University are fortunate to have the services of such a brilliant teacher and outstanding leader."

This past fall, Benson oversaw the School of Art's move from its long-time York Street location to its new site at 1156 Chapel St. and to an adjacent new building at 353 Crown St. He worked with University administrators, planners and architects on the $26 million renovation of the Chapel Street building, now called Holcombe T. Green Jr. Hall in honor of the 1961 Yale College graduate whose gift made the renovation possible. The renovation is part of Yale's $250 million plan to expand and refurbish its arts area complex with the goal of creating an integrated arts community.

A member of the Yale faculty since 1979, Benson is a renowned printer and photographer whose numerous honors and awards include a five-year MacArthur Foundation Award -- given to "the nation's most promising scientists, scholars, writers and activists"-- and two Guggenheim Fellowships. He also received the Rhode Island Medal, presented by the governor of that state for excellence in the arts.

Benson is an expert on producing fine prints for both vintage and contemporary photographs and is particularly interested in the historical and artistic relationship between printing, photography and the computer. Over the past five years, he has been working to adapt the traditional reproduction technologies of the past into new digital forms.

His publications include "A Maritime Album" (coauthored with John Szarkowski), "Hart Crane's, The Bridge," "Lay This Laurel" (coauthored with Lincoln Kirstein), "Coppelia, The New York City Ballet" and "Classic Photographs of New York City: Views of Lower Manhattan." He selected the photographs, designed and wrote the commentary for "A Yale Album: The Third Century," a pictorial history of Yale over the past century released last fall by Yale University Press in conjunction with the University's Tercentennial celebration. (See related story.)

Much of Benson's work over the past 30 years has been the making of reproductions for innovative photographic books. These reproductions are included in "A Portrait: Georgia O'Keeffe, Photographs by Alfred Steiglitz," four volumes of "The Work of Atget," "Photographs from the Collection of the Gilman Paper Company," photographer Lee Friedlander's "The American Monument" and "Passage, Photographs by Irving Penn." His digital printing/reproduction projects are "Two Lives," featuring the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Steiglitz; "Native Nations," a collection of works by Edward Curtis; and "Cyclops," featuring the work of Albert Watson.

Benson briefly attended Brown University before enlisting in the U.S. Navy and studying at its Optical Repair School in Great Lakes, Illinois. After his discharge, he studied at the Art Students League in New York, took figure drawing from Robert Lamb in Providence, Rhode Island, and then learned stone carving at the John Stevens Shop in Newport, which is renowned for its tombstones and carved inscriptions. Then owned by his brother, the shop -- started in 1705 and believed to be the nation's oldest business in continuous operation at the same site -- had also been owned by Benson's father.

Between 1966 and 1972, Benson worked at the Meriden Gravure Company in Meriden, Connecticut. In the mid-1960s he also began his own printing and photography studio, which he operated until he assumed the deanship at the School of Art.

As dean, Benson leads the first American art school affiliated with an institution of higher learning. Yale's School of Fine Arts was established in 1864 and formally opened in 1869. Today, the school offers professional instruction in four areas -- graphic design, painting/printmaking, photography and sculpture -- leading to a Master of Fine Arts. In addition, the School of Art offers an undergraduate major for students of Yale College. In a typical year, some 800 applicants vie for the 50 to 60 slots in the entering class of the graduate program.


Dean David Kessler awarded Public Welfare Medal for leadership on health issues

Psychologist Karen Wynn cited for pioneering study . . .

New director of Beinecke Library named

Fossil sheds light on rare branch of birds' evolutionary tree

Yale-funded center helps bring start-up companies to city

Lilly Endowment grants will help fund initiatives at the Divinity School, ISM

Directors, actors take part in symposium on Irish film

'A Yale Album' captures century of history in photos

Benson reappointed to second term as dean of School of Art

Talks trace the evolution of the 'democratic soul'

Nuns' library donation reveals new aspects of artist's life

Beinecke exhibit explores 18th-century views of theater


Illustrator is inaugural Theodore Fellow

Exhibition will feature paintings by Gelernter

Historian David Kennedy to discuss World War II

Grant supports nurse's effort to prevent diabetes in teens

ITS announces appointment of new CMI director

Art gallery appoints its first deputy director

Musicologist Claude Palisca, scholar of Baroque opera, dies

Bulletin Home|Visiting on Campus|Calendar of Events|In the News|Bulletin Board

Yale Scoreboard|Classified Ads|Search Archives|Production Schedule

Bulletin Staff|Public Affairs Home|News Releases| E-Mail Us|Yale Home Page