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Art in the Workplace

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Participate Please

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This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the November 14, 2001

edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

An Artistic Stew from the Carribean

We are a tribal people

Full of contradictions. . . .

Latinos from the Caribbean:

. . . the everything

that makes the ajiaco stew

so thick

so good.

Caribbean Stew" is one of the poems written by

Alejandro Anreus that he plans to read at the opening reception for

"The Political Is the Personal: Perspectives from the Latin


Diaspora" that takes place Wednesday, November 14, from 6 to 8

p.m. in the art gallery at the College of New Jersey. The exhibition

of works by seven Latino artists, with roots in four Caribbean


will be on view at CNJ through December 12.

The exhibition theme stems from these artists’ experience with the

political climate of the countries from which they or their families

were displaced, voluntarily or involuntarily, says Judy Masterson,

gallery director. Art works range from traditional easel paintings

to installations, and the emotions fueling them also represent a


nostalgic to bittersweet to anger and despair.

Historically, the word "diaspora" refers to the dispersion

of Jews, or Jewish communities, outside of Israel, from the sixth

century BCE until the present. In general, it alludes to a dispersion

of an originally homogeneous people — or an originally homogeneous

entity, like language, or culture. For purposes of this exhibition,

"diaspora" describes one’s willing or unwilling separation

from the ancestral or native land and culture, and the inevitable

mix with a new culture.

Just hearing the names of the islands — Cuba, the Dominican


Haiti, and Puerto Rico — can trigger an association quiz. What

do you think of when you hear Castro, Trujillo, Duvalier? Dictator,

colonization. Many of the artists for whom "the political is


have spent most of their lives in the U.S. Eugenio Espinosa, for


left Cuba with his parents when he was 11.

Memories, true and false, are the stuff of Espinosa’s work. The images

he builds on his 13-inch round wood panel reliefs, or tondos, include

his recollections of Cuba and his family fleeing after Castro’s ascent

to power. With many others, Espinosa’s parents had supported the 1959

revolution, but all too soon they grew disillusioned and reluctantly

decided to leave family and friends for the chance of a fuller life.

The artist refers to the "myth-like power of childhood


for which he says his circular format serves as a kind of window,

or focusing device. He tries in each tondo to recover, reclaim, or

invent events in his early life that he could not explore at the time.

The series, he says, may grow to 100 works. Espinosa builds the


of a work with a water-based medium, adds powder to thicken, then

outlines the figures that will stand out in relief.

"We’ve tried over the years to bring diverse exhibitions to


says Lois Fichner-Rathus, chair of the art department in College of

New Jersey’s school of art, media, and music. "We thought Latino

artists had been underrepresented, and while we wanted to do a show

of their work, we didn’t want a politically-correct parade, a



Drawing on their own contacts and those of Anreus —

until recently a curator at Jersey City Museum and now art history

professor at William Paterson University — co-curators


and Masterson began looking at Latino art, soon noticing an


of political issues that reflected the artists’ ancestry and


"They didn’t want to forget what were for them the triggering

issues, and they wanted to keep the world conscious,"


says. "We flipped the old feminist saying, `The personal is the

political,’ to describe what was going on in these works, as well

as to encompass the element of memory that figures in art."

Marina Gutierrez chose to participate in this show precisely because

it addresses Latino history in a focused manner; it’s "something

more than just Spanish surnames," she says. The daughter of a

Slovakian mother and Puerto Rican father, she is represented by two

installations, "Room for Recollection" and


Gown." Both works share enclosed symbolic objects in structures

that are made largely of chicken wire.

The roofed, six-sided, transparent "Room" structure might

be seen as an industrial version of the traditional thatched-roof

dwelling of the Taino, Puerto Rico’s indigenous people. Cage-like,

it is also airy, and contains messages — aluminum sugar cane


and paper money, for instance — in each of its wire panels.


Gown" addresses gender and the female experience.

In large, layered paintings that incorporate photography and graffiti

among other elements, Juan Sanchez conveys life in the city. He wishes

to engage and affect society, he has said, and his mixed-media work

commemorates Puerto Rico’s 100-plus years of struggle and resistance

to colonialism.

Sanchez’s work typically includes religious references. The crucifix,

the Roman arch, and stained glass are common motifs of his, as well

as familiar elements in art history. He often uses the flag of Puerto

Rico as a visual comment on colonization and political independence.

As the third artist in this exhibition to focus on Puerto Rico, Gloria

Rodriguez divides her time between the island of her birth, Brooklyn,

and New Jersey. Her "acrollages" are combinations of collaged

images and acrylic paints that begin with a photograph, interesting

to her for some reason, positioned on a blank canvas. She then


or "wraps" it in abstract forms and complex patterns to such

an extent that the final image can suggest the surreal.

Rodriguez considers her work to be "spiritual," and about

"culture," not "religion." Attempting to update


people think about how Mary or Jesus should be looking," she has

depicted Christ as a young Latino man wearing a crown of thorns.

Art scholar and curator, journalist and poet, Anreus readily relates

to these artists and their work. He too is an exile. Although he left

Cuba at age 10, his memories are strong, as they had better be: he

can’t even visit while Fidel Castro is still alive because his human

rights activism here would be held against him. Besides, he says,

at this point, "it’s no longer home."

Anreus, who says he thinks bilingually, uses Spanish for his


writing, English for his poetry. "Unless you come with a full

language package, you adopt the culture of your new country,"

he says, adding wryly that for his acquisition of English, he must

thank Castro. As for how much longer the dictator may last, Anreus

notes, "He comes from good stock. His father came from the same

town as Franco’s father. He’ll be around for much longer than people


Elia Alba’s three-part installation involves 3,000 pairs of small,

handmade shoes in shades of red — none more than about five inches

long. Alba, with roots in the Dominican Republic, has configured the

shoes she sewed and dyed as "floor shoes," seeming to march

forward in regimented fashion; as a "shoe curtain," with the

shoes suspended on breakable, transparent thread; and in a "shoe

mound," with the connotations of being discarded that a mound

might suggest.

Alba points out that most workers in the garment industry today are

Latinos; her mother has worked there for more than 20 years. This

installation links what she regards as the parallel concepts of


and labor. Both can encompass repetitive, continuous, and at times

unrewarding work. However, in their end products, both parenting and

the garment industry can include magical qualities as well.

Freddy Rodriguez’s paintings look nothing like


Caribbean or Latino art — as he is well aware. He wants it that

way. There was a time when he produced "colorful lush paintings

of flowers and the sea," but his current work is minimalist and

geometric. It provokes such questions as "What makes a Caribbean

artist Caribbean? Is it the history or the symbols or the colors?

Can it be abstract?"

Born in the Dominican Republic and later sent to America by his family

for his own safety, Rodriguez welcomed the language and cultural


Drawing on his childhood and the political realities of his homeland,

his work came to manifest the influence of the New York art scene,

with the resulting art forms as bi-cultural as his life. Earlier,

Rodriguez made collage-based works with text and organic imagery.

He moved from that toward greater abstraction, and the paintings in

this show involve linear forms combined with rhythmic, vibrant colors

on planes of illuminated background color that is hardly


The effect gives rise to the thought: "When Mondrian met the


Fourteen students in Masterson’s and Fichner-Rathus’s "Museum

Studies" course have played major roles in "The Political

Is the Personal" exhibition. Working in teams, they interviewed

the artists and wrote the catalog essays. Giving the white


to works of art as they were delivered, students then worked with

Masterson to mount the exhibition. Still another student designed

the striking show invitation: a stark black ground with cobalt


of the Caribbean islands, including those of the seven artists.


the team theme, the music department will provide music at the


14 opening reception.

In diorama-like constructions, Edouard Duval Carrie, a native of


has suspended symbolic articles in brightly-colored resin that frames

a central iconic image. The artifacts — such as small, doll-like

figures, seashells, and wind-up toys — are metaphors for issues

in Haitian society, politics, and religious practices. Carrie sees

voodoo as "the soul and backbone of Haiti," and aims in his

art to assure it is not forgotten.

Carrie’s family was forced to flee Haiti during the 1960’s regime

of Francoise (Papa Doc) Duvalier, which was followed by the rule of

his son, Jean Claude Duvalier. Cultural, educational, and economic

turmoil marked this period, as did corruption, mounting illiteracy,

and poverty — and these conditions are mirrored in Carrie’s work.

"I had to paint the atrocities of those dictators," he says.

"I am a chronicler of my times."

In his poem "To Dante, on exile," Anreus surely speaks for

himself — but for many others too:

. . . I envy you

your exile, so austere, so grave,

so principled.

No room in it for dialogue

or double talk

or second thoughts.

No allowance for betrayals

or gestures of good will

towards a tyrant.

— Pat Summers

The Political is the Personal: Perspectives From the Latin

American Diaspora , College of New Jersey, Art Gallery, Holman

Hall, Ewing, 609-771-2198. Opening reception for the group show


a poetry reading by Alejandro Anreus and music. Exhibition continues

to December 12. Free. Wednesday, November 14, 6 to 8 p.m.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday

7 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m.

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Area Galleries

Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, 609-333-8511.

"Still Life Manipulations," Sabatier photographs by Marilyn

Anderson, and "Windows, Water & Wonders," hand-painted and

digital photographs by Rhoda Kassof Isaac. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

and Sunday, 1 to 5. To November 25.

Montgomery Cultural Center, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. "Celebration in Paint" featuring artists

of the Raritan Valley Arts Association; to December 28. Also, a shared

exhibit of work by Lorraine Williams and Colin Throm, to November

29. Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell,


"Big Skies," a shared show featuring landscape paintings by

David Shevlino and Lisa Grossman. Shevlino’s landscapes are inspirited

by the New England and Delaware Valley, whereas Grossman depicts the

flatlands of the Midwest. Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6

p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To November 17.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. The 27th annual juried members show,

juried by Lynne Allen, director of the Rutgers Center for Innovative

Print and Paper. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m.

to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To December 21

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Art in the Workplace

Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206, Lawrenceville,

609-252-6275. "Up the River," an exhibition of works by more

than 40 Bucks County Impressionists and Modernists, members of the

New Hope and Bucks County art colony now regarded as national


Catalog by Brian Peterson of the Michener Museum in Doylestown.


hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and weekends and


1 to 5 p.m. To November 25.

Artists represented include Edward Redfield, Daniel Garber, Walter

Schofield, Charles Ramsey, Louis Stone, Charles Evans, and Lloyd Ney.

Stark & Stark, 993 Lenox Drive, Lawrenceville,


Garden State Watercolor Society, fifth annual associate member juried

exhibition; jurors Gary Snyder and Seow-Chu See. Open Monday to


9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To November 29.

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Art by the River

Artists’ Gallery, 32 Coryell Street, Lambertville,


Landscape photographs by Sandra C. Davis and landscape paintings of

Brittany by Paul Mordetsky. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m.

to 6 p.m. To December 2.

Robert Beck Painting Studio, 21 Bridge Street,


609-397-5679. "Road Work: Paintings of American Culture,"

an exhibition of new work by Robert Beck. Through November.

Hanga, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope, 215-862-7044.

James T. Lang, lithographs, colographs, and mixed-media works. Noon

to 9 p.m. daily.

Old English Pine, 202 North Union Street, Lambertville,

609-397-4978. "Apropos," Malcolm Bray’s seventh annual show

of innovative contemporary painting and sculpture. Artists include

Rachel Bliss, Malcolm Bray, Jacques Fabert, Michael Hale, Diane


Bonnie MacLean, Dolores Poacelli, Barry Snyder, Patricia Traub, and

Annelies van Dommelen. Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., to



Tin Man Alley, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope,


"Monster Mash," a show of creepy snarling, and bug-eyed


by Dave Burke and Stephen Blickenstaff.

Thursday to Monday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To November 26.

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Art in Town

Chapin School, 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206.


to Abutilon Theophrasti et al," a show of ceramics by Connie


a Hopewell artist and teacher. To December 21.

Marsha Child Contemporary, 220 Alexander Street,


"The Secret Garden," oil paintings and watercolors by


Valeriy Skrypka. Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To



Firebird Gallery, 16 Witherspoon Street, 609-688-0775.

Exhibit of works by Leonid Gervitz, a graduate of the Odessa Art


who spent 24 years working and teaching in the Russian realist


at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Russia. Tuesday to

Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday to 9 p.m.; Sunday

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To December 1.

Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,


Paintings by Calvin Cobb Hart. Part of sales benefit the Medical


On view in the dining room daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. To November


Triumph Brewing Company, 138 Nassau Street, 609-924-7855.

"Artista Cuba," contemporary Cuban folk art from the


of Jorge Armenteros who has been studying and collecting Cuban art

since 1996. Works from the fine art world as well as rustic art made

of found materials. "At its best, Cuban folk art is vivid,


sensual, and inspiring. In it, you will find a purity of appreciation

for light, color, and life’s simple pleasures," says Armenteros.

Williams Gallery, 16-1/2 Witherspoon Street, 609-921-1142.

"Sights and Sounds of Manhattan and Princeton," a group show

featuring art by Michael Berger, Laury Egan, David Leibowitz, Allan

Tannenbaum, and Rolf Weijburg." Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday,

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To November 20.

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Campus Arts

Art Museum, Princeton University, 609-258-3788.


of Stone: Roman Sculpture in the Art Museum" and "Pliny’s

Cup: Roman Silver in the Age of Augustus;" to January 20.

"Camera Women," a selective survey of the history of


from the perspective of the woman photographer, organized by Carol

Armstrong. Drawn from the museum’s collection, it includes works by

Julia Margaret Cameron, Anna Atkins, Gertrude Kasebier, Tina Modotti,

Sherrie Levine, Cindy Sherman, and others. To January 6.

Also "What Photographs Look Like," the annual teaching show

for Art History 248, to November 11; "Seeing Double: Copies and

Copying in the Arts of China," an exhibition of Chinese art, to

November 4. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to

5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the collection every Saturday

at 2 p.m.

Lawrenceville School, Gruss Center of Visual Arts,


609-620-6026. Annual faculty exhibit featuring Brian Daniell, Jamie

Greenfield, Amanda Kamen, Ed Robbins, Allen Fitzpatrick, Leonid


William Vandever, and others. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday,

9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; except Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon.

To November 16.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Unlimited Possibilities: Jacob


Works on Paper, 1950 to 2000." The internationally-known


printmaker, painter, and stained glass designer is professor emeritus

at the Pratt Institute. Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:30

a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. To December 7.

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Route 206,

Lawrenceville, 609-895-5589. "Leland Bell: Works from the 1950s

to 1991," an exhibition of works by the New York School artist

who died in 1991. "Bell was a powerful artist who was also an

influential teacher and popular lecturer," says Rider professor

Deborah Rosenthal. "He clearly articulated the role of tradition

in art, particularly contemporary art. Bell strongly affected a


generation of artists, many of whom became his close friends."

Gallery hours at Monday to Thursday, 2 to 8 p.m.; Friday to Sunday,

2 to 5 p.m. To December 11.

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Area Museums

Hunterdon Museum of Art, Lower Center Street, Clinton,

908-735-8415. "Degrees of Figuration," a diverse exploration

of the human figure by five artists: Bill Leech, Tom Nussbaum, Keary

Rosen, Linda Stojak, and Charles Yuen. Also "Frank Sabatino,"

abstract wall sculptures created from rare woods and found objects.

And "Karl Stirner," welded iron abstract sculpture. Museum

hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 6.

Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Artists of the Commonwealth: Realism in


Painting, 1950 to 2000," an exhibition featuring the work of


recognized realist artists and educators who were born and trained

in Pennsylvania, or who spent their professional careers there.


artists include Diane Burko, Sidney Goodman, Alice Neel, Philip


Nelson Shanks, Andy Warhol, Neil Welliver, and Andrew Wyeth. To



Also: "Taking Liberties: Photographs of David Graham." The

Bucks County photographer, sometimes called a


has worked for 20 years exploring the nation’s heartland with his

view camera, and lovingly recording the creative and offbeat ways

that Americans mark their territory. To January 27.

Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday &


10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m. $6.

Zimmerli Art Museum, George and Hamilton streets, New

Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Exhibitions include: "From Whistler to

Warhol: A Century of American Printmaking," to November 25.


Motherwell: Abstraction as Emphasis," to December 9. "Boxed

In: Plane, Frame, Surface," to December 2. "Mother Goose’s

Children: Original Illustrations for Children’s Books from the Rutgers

Collection," to December 9. Museum hours are Tuesday through


10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission

$3 adults; under 18 free; museum is open free to the public on the

first Sunday of every month. Spotlight tours every Sunday at 2 and

3 p.m.

Continuing exhibitions include: "The Uncommon Vision of Sergei

Konenkov (1874-1971)," to November 14. "Japonisme: Highlights

and Themes from the Collection," ongoing.

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Art In Trenton

Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436.


Hill: Art from the Hill," an exhibition celebrating Mill Hill

residents and their artwork. Works in all media by a group that


Ann and Jim Carlucci, Victoria Cattanea, Peter Crandall, Andre


Lisa Fullemann, Pierre Jaborska, Lisa and Peter Kasabach, and many

others. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.;

Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. To December 15.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,


"The Three M’s: Marge, Marguerite, and Molly," featuring works

by Trenton artists Marge Chavooshian, Marguerite Dorenbach, and Molly

Merlino. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To January 6.

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Fall/Winter Exhibition. Open Tuesday through Sunday,

10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday is Members Day. Adult admission

is $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7 Friday and Saturday; and $10


Annual memberships start at $45. To February 24.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,

609-292-6464. "George Washington and the Battle of Trenton: The

Evolution of an American Image," an exhibition that documents

the historic context of the American Revolution, the "Ten Crucial

Days" of the Trenton campaign that was the turning point, and

the subsequent commemoration of George Washington’s heroic image by

American artists. To February 24.

Also "American Indians as Artists: The Beginnings of the State

Museum’s Ethnographic Collection," to December 15. "The


Landscape," to November 11. "Natural Selections: Sculpture

by Elaine Lorenz," to December 30. "Art by African-Americans

in the Collection," to August 18, 2002. Museum hours are Tuesday

through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Website:

On extended view: "New Jersey’s Native Americans: The


Record"; "Delaware Indians of New Jersey"; "The Sisler

Collection of North American Mammals"; "Of Rock and Fire";

"Neptune’s Architects"; "The Modernists"; "New

Jersey Ceramics, Silver, Glass and Iron"; "Washington Crossing

the Delaware."

Upcoming Exhibitions: "George Washington and the Battle of


The Evolution of an American Image," November 4 to February 24,

2002. "Images of Americans on the Silver Screen," December

1 to April 14, 2002. "Historic Trenton: Exploring the History

of the Capital City."

Rhinehart-Fischer Gallery, 46 West Lafayette, Trenton,

609-695-0061. Albert Wilking’s "expressionist primitive"


paintings. His inspiration comes from personal experiences, dreams,

and visual, physical, and spiritual insights. Gallery hours are


to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To December 2.

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Theater Guide

New Jersey Theater Alliance has published the 2001-2002

edition of "Class Act," a resource guide with educational

and outreach programming highlighted. To receive a free copy, call

973-593-0189 or (e-mail:

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Mercer Street Friends is accepting donations of turkeys

from now until Thursday, November 15. They may be brought to

offices at 1321 Brunswick Avenue or 151 Mercer Street, Trenton,


through Saturdays. Call 609-396-1506.

East Brunswick Public Library is collecting new hardcover

and paperback books as well as monetary contributions for the


to Keep" program to give books to disadvantaged children in


County. Donations may be brought to any library in Middlesex Country

through Saturday, December 15. Call 732-390-6789.

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Participate Please

The Arts Council of Princeton seeks a visual or performing

arts teacher to work one afternoon a month, in conjunction with the

Home Front program, introducing homeless children to the arts. Call

Jessica at 609-924-8777.

The Barron Arts Center for the Arts seeks volunteers


with model railroading to assist with an exhibition that will be held

at the center, 582 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge, from the end of November

through December. Call 732-634-0413.

CancerCare of New Jersey is recruiting members for a free

support group. "Living with Cancer" invites patients,


and friends to share experiences and concerns. The group will meet

at Momentum Fitness, 377 Wall Street, Princeton. Call Lois Glasser,

800-813-4673, ext. 107.

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