March 9, 2021   |   By Merrill Allen

New Exhibitions Now Open at Newport Art Museum


Merrill Allen
Director of Marketing
Newport Art Museum
76 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840
(401) 619-7999


Newport Art Museum Introduces “Abstract Ideas” and “Light and Presence: Richard Benson’s ‘The Touro Synagogue'”

(Newport, RI – March 9, 2021) – The Newport Art Museum is pleased to announce two new exhibitions on view through April 25, 2021. “Abstract Ideas” features an array of modern and contemporary American artists from the Museum’s permanent collection exploring ideas and emotions through abstraction. Eliciting feelings and sensations, abstract art prioritizes emotional experiences over tangible realities. With this exhibition, viewers are encouraged to let their eyes and minds wander and delight in the colors, shapes, and gestures of these evocative works. Featured artists include: James Baker, Donna Bruton, Ruth Dealy, Mary Dondero, Jemison Faust, Ralph Gibson, Corita Kent, Alan Metnick, Joseph Norman, Mahler B. Ryder, Aaron Siskind, and Hugh Townley among others.

“Light and Presence: Richard Benson’s ‘The Touro Synagogue,'” curated by Megan Horn, features Benson’s 1988 black and white portfolio of images that go beyond simply documenting architecture and allow viewers to experience the intimacy of the site. Designed by architect Peter Harrison and completed in 1763, the Touro Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in the United States. The synagogue has survived the British occupation of Newport during the American Revolution and major shifts in Newport’s economic history, and early on its congregation participated in advocating for religious freedoms in the United States’ Bill of Rights. Benson’s photographs of this Newport landmark make the presence of the past felt.

“Abstract Ideas” and “Light and Presence: Richard Benson’s ‘The Touro Synagogue'” join two other exhibitions now on view; “Digital Breath: Video and Sound Art in the Age of Global Connectivity” and “Donna Ferrato: Selections from ‘Living with the Enemy.’” Please visit for more information.

About the Newport Art Museum

The Newport Art Museum was founded in 1912 on the belief that art is a civilizing influence and an essential component to creating vibrant communities. Charter Members included Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Pulitzer-Prize winning author Maud Howe Elliott, Helena and Louisa Sturtevant, and Edith Wetmore. The first exhibition featured art works from local artists, as well as those with international reputations, including George Bellows, Mary Cassatt, and Childe Hassam.

By 1915, the organization’s founders had purchased a suitable building for their art classes and exhibitions—the John N.A. Griswold House on Newport’s famed Bellevue Avenue. This exceptional example of “stick-style” architecture was Richard Morris Hunt’s first commission in Newport and was completed in 1864.

In 1920, a second gallery building designed by the New York architectural firm, Delano and Aldrich and dedicated to the memory of artist Howard Gardiner Cushing, opened just to the south of the Griswold House. The Sarah Rives lobby and Morris Gallery were added in 1990 providing the Museum additional gallery space as well as a climate-controlled collection storage area.

In 2005, the Art Museum embarked on a decade-long renovation of the historically significant Richard Morris Hunt building. Today, the Art Museum’s beautiful 3-acre campus includes the Griswold house, the Cushing Building, and the Museum School housed in the Coleman Center for Creative Studies. Visitors from around the world enjoy the Art Museum, its public programs and special events each year.

The permanent collection includes over 2,700 fine art objects with a focus on American artists from the 18th century to the present. Rotating exhibitions are installed annually and over the years have included artists as diverse as Winslow Homer, James McNeill Whistler, William Trost Richards, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Andy Warhol. Recent temporary exhibitions have featured artworks by Diane Arbus, George Condo, Lalla Essaydi, Shara Hughes, William Kentridge, Sally Mann, Rania Matar, and Tony Oursler, to mention a few.

Highlights of our historical collection include paintings by Gilbert Stuart and John Smibert, George Inness, Fitz Henry Lane, Lilla Cabot Perry and twenty-five works by William Trost Richards. In addition, the Museum owns works by Winslow Homer and George Bellows, iconic sculptures by William Morris Hunt and Paul Manship, and a number of works by John La Farge. The Museum also owns photographs by Aaron Siskind and wallpaper by Andy Warhol, as well as prints by Philip Guston, Corita Kent, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Philip Pearlstein, and Ad Reinhardt, as well as glass art by Dale Chihuly and Toots Zynsky.

The Museum is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, Thursdays April – December until 7 pm, and Sunday from noon to 5 pm. The Museum is closed to the public on Mondays. Museum membership levels and benefits, art school classes and registration, exhibition schedules, public programming, and more can be found at Phone: (401) 848-8200.