University of Connecticut

Events Calendar

Saving The Nut Museum And Other Nutty Adventures In Art History

Thursday, February 17, 2022
5:30pm – 7:00pm

Storrs Campus
Virtual on Zoom

"Saving the Nut Museum, and Other Nutty Adventures in Art History" with Christopher Steiner.

In this virtual event, guest curator and Connecticut College Art History Professor Christopher Steiner will introduce the exhibition, Remembering the Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian. The Nut Museum opened in 1972 on the ground floor of Elizabeth Tashjian's Victorian mansion in Old Lyme. The museum featured Miss Tashjian’s original artwork devoted to nuts, her collection of nuts, and, for her museum visitors, a capella performances of her songs about nuts. Beginning in 1981, Miss Tashjian appeared regularly on late-night television talk shows, including twice on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In response to her new-found celebrity status, Miss Tashjian transformed herself from an academically-trained painter into an avant-garde visual and performance artist. This talk explores the unique trajectory of Elizabeth Tashjian’s life and her eclectic artistic career -- from academic painter at National Academy of Design to a performance artist on the stage of her Nut Museum.

Register in advance for this Zoom webinar event:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

SPEAKER BIO: Christopher B. Steiner is Lucy C. McDannel ’22 Professor of Art History and Anthropology, and Director of the Museum Studies Program at Connecticut College. His classes cover topics on the traditional and contemporary arts of Africa; on the visual representation of race and ethnic identity in art and film; on the history of museums, as well as on current museum controversies; on kitsch or "bad" art emerging from the margins, cracks and corners of the canonical art world; and on the history and practice of studio and vernacular photography.

His field research in West Africa focused on the construction of value and meaning in art through transnational exchange, resulting in numerous articles and his award-winning book African Art in Transit (Cambridge University Press, 1994). Steiner serves on the Advisory Council of both the Florence Griswold Museum and the Fairfield University Art Museum. He has been a curatorial consultant for numerous museum exhibitions and collection-management projects. At the Lyman Allyn Art Museum he was curator of The Nut Museum: Visionary Art of Elizabeth Tashjian (2004); Spirits of the Forest, People of the Herd: African Art in Two Worlds (2014); and “It’s Only a Paper Moon”: Souvenir Photography in America, 1870-1950 (2017). At The Benton he was curator of Souvenirs d’Afrique: Arts of Africa from the Collection of Janine and Josef Gugler (2019). Currently, he is working on a book about the Nut Museum.


Benton Events (primary), Art History, Mansfield Downtown Partnership, UConn Master Calendar

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