Amanda Douberley

You Should…Listen to Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar’s playlist for the exhibition Facing History: Social Commentary in Contemporary American Art (Amanda Douberley, Benton Museum)

In celebration of 20 years of UCHI and as part of our ongoing You Should… series, we’ve asked former fellows and other friends of the Institute to recommend something related to their work or process. Read them all here.

Four album covers arranged in a 2x2 square: Childish Gambino's This is America, War's Greatest Hits, Pete Rock and CL Smooth's Mecca and the Soul Brother, and Mos Def and Talib Kweli's Black Star.UConn Professor Jeffrey O.G. Ogbar’s playlist for the exhibition Facing History: Social Commentary in Contemporary American Art, on view at the William Benton Museum of Art through March 11, 2022. The show presents work by artists who confront the legacies of past injustices and underscore the enduring impacts of American history on contemporary society. The playlist pairs specific works of art in the exhibition with songs from the 1960s to the present. For example, Ogbar juxtaposes And One (2011) by artist Hank Willis Thomas—a jarring image where the culture of lynching and the commodification around professional sports collide—with Childish Gambino’s “This is America”—a track that provocatively interrogates race and violence in American culture. Or, he asks us to consider how jazz singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone’s “Four Women” informs our experience of A Means to An End… A Shadow Drama in Five Acts (1995) by visual artist Kara Walker, and vice-versa. Listen to the playlist on Spotify or in the exhibition at The Benton.

– Amanda Douberley
Assistant Curator/Academic Liaison
The William Benton Museum of Art

Headshot of Amanda Douberley, a white woman with short dark hair, standing in front of a bookshelf.Who is Amanda Douberley? Amanda Douberley is Assistant Curator/Academic Liaison at the William Benton Museum of Art, where she is responsible for connecting the Benton’s collections and exhibitions with teaching in departments across the university. She has curated numerous exhibitions at the museum, often in collaboration with faculty and other campus partners. Amanda holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin with a focus on 20th-century American sculpture and public art. Before coming to UConn in 2018, she taught in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

You Should…Pre-election Edition. Part II.

In advance of the upcoming election, we’ve asked members of the UCHI community to suggest a book, article, poem, painting, video, or piece of music that they think everyone should take a look at in this current moment.

Amanda Douberley says you should look at…

Rye Beach, New Hampshire (1863) by Martin Johnson Heade. It is the painting she is discussing with First Year Experience classes on virtual visits to the Benton this semester. Painted at the height of the American Civil War, it expresses all the turmoil, uncertainty, and ultimately hope that many of us are feeling right now.

A painting of a dark curving beach, the water almost black. In the yellow sky, red and black clouds loom.
Martin Johnson Heade (American, 1819-1904), Rye Beach, New Hampshire (1863). Oil on canvas, 8 3/8 x 22 ¼”, William Benton Museum of Art, Louise Crombie Beach Memorial Fund, 1967.26.

Manisha Desai says you should look at…

Kara Walker: Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Kara Walker’s pieces at New Britain Museum were spectacular. We have to keep that history in mind. You can also take a virtual tour of the exhibit.


Amanda A. Douberley is a historian of twentieth-century American sculpture and public art. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Art History, as well as English Language and Literature, from the University of Virginia. She is assistant curator/academic liaison at the University of Connecticut’s William Benton Museum of Art.

Manisha Desai is Professor of Sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Committed to decolonizing knowledge and social justice, her research and teaching interests include Gender and Globalization, Transnational Feminisms and women’s movements, Human Rights movements, and Contemporary Indian Society.