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This article by F.R. Rivera was prepared for the August 18, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Art: River Crossing Not Required
It’s August, and we are getting out and about, so it seems a good time
to discuss New Jersey’s many art destinations. Chances are, if you
pull off one of the state’s major arteries, you will be within
striking distance of an art exhibition.
Those in search of art too often think first of New York; for many,
New Jersey is merely a place to pass through on their way to the
"genuine" in New York. New Jersey receives a bad rap in a number of
areas, but none is more undeserved than in its commitment to the
Let’s start by not comparing New Jersey with New York City. New Jersey
has no city that is remotely comparable. New York City eclipses
contenders as far away as the capitals of Europe; and it is a rare
city in the U.S. that would dream of taking on its museums. An errant
risk or two, however, in the service of a dream is a risk that can
lead to success.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, under the direction of Anne
d’Harnoncourt, decided to go head to head with New York’s Metropolitan
Museum of Art in bidding for blockbuster exhibitions. When
Philadelphia secured an important Delacroix show in the late 1990s, it
was the beginning of a string of successes that continued right up to
the popular "Manet and the Sea" exhibition last spring. The result:
scooping New York’s Met and bringing hundreds of thousands of art
lovers to Philadelphia.
No New Jersey museum has the standing of the Philadelphia museum. What
New Jersey does have is a family of smallish museums sprinkled round
the state. For reasons known best to the authors of their mission
statements, many of these museums compromise their commitment to the
fine arts by allowing the stage to be shared with the decorative arts,
fossils and bones, and even vintage waterfowl decoys. These museums
ought to rethink their priorities.
New Jersey’s museums – located in Trenton, Clinton, Montclair, Morris,
Newark, Jersey City, Oceanville, and Lincroft – do show contemporary
art, much of it homegrown. They also enjoy state funding, which
secures their continued viability. These museums are complemented by
the state’s numerous arts associations.
Scratch the surface of this vast network, however, and you will find
something like a "Little Orphan Annie" complex, which seems to say,
"I’m well-bred and not inclined to risk-taking as in the Philadelphia
When we move to the private sector, support for the arts is even less
and arts organizations are more vulnerable. Adventurous entrepreneurs
are so scarce as to be almost non-existent.
Each year the periodical "Art in America" publishes a directory of
museums and galleries in the U.S. In its 2004-2005 edition, only 23
private New Jersey galleries are listed, compared to hundreds of
entries for New York State. If New Jersey is Little Orphan Annie, then
New York state must be Daddy Warbucks. The question must be raised:
Why is that big shadow so intimidating that we can’t scare up a few
more dreamers willing to open a gallery here in New Jersey and get
into the art game?
Readers of my reviews will know that I am a booster of those galleries
associated with colleges and universities. Some offer outstanding
permanent collections, as well as scholarship and historical
perspective in their rotating exhibitions. These include Rutgers
venues like the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Museum, Mason Gross, and Paul
Roberson galleries; and Princeton University. Other galleries such as
those at Rider University, the College of New Jersey, Glassboro,
Richard Stockton, and William Paterson College, and a number of other
community colleges and private schools offer surveys of emerging –
sometimes outstanding – local talent that might go begging for lack of
In all, New Jersey has done a creditable job of shaking off its
parochial image. If we were able to do a heat-sensitive scan in our
state-wide search for the hottest art destinations, red and orange
would saturate Hudson County. Home to Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark
galleries, the region is sometimes called the "Left Bank". Red and
orange fading to yellow would register in Mercer County, home to
Trenton, Hamilton, and Princeton. The spectrum would cool as we moved
south and west.
As the New Jersey art infrastructure has matured, it has adopted some
valuable marketing tools. Most of us are familiar with "First Fridays"
(organized gallery-hopping on the first Friday of the month). Recently
the Monroe Center for the Arts in Hoboken initiated a program of
"First Sundays," opening its four floors of artists’ studios and two
galleries to the public.
Some of my recommendations for galleries outside the "U.S. 1" normal
coverage area are found below. Listings for nearby exhibitions may be
found in this newspaper’s Preview section.
908-735-8415, Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m, through October 3.
Christopher B. Koep: Paintings.
201-313-0303, Wednesday and Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 11
a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.. Alex Esposito:
"New Small Works: Which Came First?" through September 12; David
Poppie: "Swoop," through August 29; Tara Russo: "Colorwheels," through
September 29; Lorenzo Clayton: "Inner Equations," through January 2;
and Nancy Cohen: "Ephemeral Balance," through November 7.
College, Lincroft, 732-747-2266, Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. "Transcultural New Jersey Statewide
Initiative: Quilts, Fiber Arts and Cultures," exhibition of quilts
from diverse cultures, through September 5.
973-746-5555. Tuesday to Sun., 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum maintains
a permanent collection of more than 11,000 works in a variety of
media. The American art collection includes paintings, works on paper,
sculpture and costumes from the mid-18th Century to the present.
973-971-3700, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10
a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Features permanent and
changing exhibitions in the arts, sciences and history. "Springs,
Sprockets & Pulleys: The Mechanical Sculpture of Steve Geberich,"
through November 14. "New Jersey Arts Series: Antonio Carreno,"
through October 3.
973-622-1188, Tuesday to Friday, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to
3:45 p.m. Career development opportunities to new and emerging
artists. Showcases the work of more than 200 new and emerging artists
per year in 10 to 14 on-site, off-site, and traveling exhibitions.
609-652-8848, Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon
to 5 p.m. "Seaside Dreams: Works Past and Present Celebrating Atlantic
City’s 150th Year," through September 12; "Altars, Icons & Symbols:
Exploring Spirituality in Art," September 21 to January 3.
973-596-6550, Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. "My Ethiopia: Recent
Paintings by Wosene Workie Kosrof," through August 29; "Art of Coptic
Egypt 300-1000 A.D.," through November 28.
Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158 Nassau Street,
609-921-6748. "Lost Princeton," an exhibit that explores lost
businesses and houses. The historic house also houses a long-term
exhibition about Princeton history highlighting the Native American
occupation, the Revolutionary War, and Princeton in the 19th and 20th
centuries. Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Free
Dynasty Arts, 20 Nassau Street, Unit F, 609-688-9388. The recently
opened Chinese antique and art gallery features a silk-screen series,
"Last Dynasty," oil and watercolor, and limited edition prints. Artist
and owner, Lu Zuogeng, combines Chinese brushwork with Western
watercolor. Also, Chinese antique furniture of Ming and Qing
dynasties. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to
6:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
University Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,
609-497-4000. An exhibit of works by Monroe Township artist Judith
Stein. An art educator for 35 years, she uses oil, watercolor,
acrylic, and mixed media. Part of the proceeds benefit the medical
center. Gallery is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. On view to September
The Williams Gallery, 6 Olden Lane, 609-921-1142. "First Impressions"
features digital watercolors of Princeton by Michael Berger including
a rower on Lake Carnegie, Einstein’s house, the original Mercer Oak,
Nassau Hall, and a Princeton arch. Berger is one of the inventors of
Polaroid Corporations 35 mm instant slide film. Gallery appointments
are available Thursday through Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. through
Gold Medal Impressions, 43 Princeton Hightstown Road, West Windsor,
609-606-9001. Newly-expanded gallery of photographer Richard Druckman,
a freelance photographer for Associated Press. Six rooms and over 250
photographs of professional football, basketball, hockey, tennis, and
Olympic events. Photographs for sale are matted and framed and in a
variety of sizes and prices. Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Grounds For Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-586-0616.
Urban Horizons features paintings by Philadelphia artist Charlotte
Schatz and sculpture by Janet Indick. Both represent their personal
interpretation of industrial representation. Gallery hours are Tuesday
to Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the Toad Hall Shop and Gallery
through September 26.
Trenton Artists Workshop Association, Artworks Gallery, 19 Everett
Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436. "The 25th Gala Celebration Anniversary
Exhibition" focuses on 60 TAWA members art work of paintings,
sculptures, and photographs. Gallery open Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.
to 3 p.m. On exhibit through September 12.
Wheaton Village, 1501 Glasstown Road, Millville, 856-825-6800. Native
to Neo: Mexican Folk Arts from Oaxaca is a four-month project devoted
to the arts and crafts from Oaxaca, Mexico and the first exhibition in
the new Creative Community Connections Series, an initiative to
understand and embrace cultural diversity. Through November 12.
Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788. Medieval, Renaissance,
and baroque galleries are closed until the end of summer for painting,
cleaning, and a major reinstallation. They will reopen on Friday,
August 20. The museum’s lower galleries are open Tuesday to Saturday,
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m. Tours are given on
Saturdays at 2 p.m.
Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hopewell Campus, 609-252-5120. Outdoor sculpture
show features works by seven prominent East Coast artists: Hope Carter
of Hopewell, Kate Dodd, Richard Heinrich, John Isherwood, Joel
Perlman, John Van Alstine, and Jay Wholley. Exhibition is on view
during business hours and will remain in its location for two years.
The artists were selected by a panel composed of Alejandro Anreus,
veteran curator and scholar, Jeffrey Nathanson of the International
Sculpture Center, and visual artist Sheba Sharrow, working under the
guidance of Kate Somers, curator of the company’s corporate gallery in
E.M. Adams Gallery, 440 Union Square Drive, New Hope, 215-862-5667.
New paintings by owner Ed Adams, a licensed psychologist with a
private practice in Somerville.
Artists’ Gallery, 32 Coryell Street, Lambertville. Garden Perspectives
is a two-person exhibit by Gail Bracegirdle and Sandra Davis.
Bracegirdle, a representational watercolor artist, and Davis, a fine
art photographer, are both drawn to gardens for color, light, life,
energy, and beauty. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11
a.m. to 6 p.m. Through September 5.
New Hope Arts, Union Square, West Bridge Street and Union Square
Drive, New Hope, 215-862-3396. Second annual New Hope Sculpture
Exhibition featuring an indoor exhibition of more than 88 works by 43
nationally and internationally recognized artists and an outdoor show
of seven large-scale works installed throughout the town. Through
Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown, 908-996-1470.
Exhibit with a focus on water featuring Frank Federico, Carol Ross,
Nadine Synnestvedt, Anthony Ventura, Luiz Vilela, Jane Voorhees, Ann
Zeig, Rhoda Yanow, and Frank Zuccarelli. Open Tuesday through Sunday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through September 3.
Exhibit featuring urban scapes by artists Frank Federico, Marilyn
Halls, Claire Paisner, and John Reilly. Through September 30.
Coryell Gallery, 8 Coryell Street, Lambertville, 609-397-0804. Annual
summer group show of watercolors, acrylics, oils, pastels, and prints.
Featured artists include Joanne Augustine, Albert Bross, Marge
Chavooshian, Tom Chesar, Mike Filipiak, Elizabeth Ruggles, Lucy
McVicker, Robert Sakson, with pottery by Katherine Hackl and Ann
Tsubota. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. On view
to September 25.
Triumph Brewing Company, 400 Union Square, New Hope, 215-862-8300.
Catherine DeChico’s show, "Jersey Girls." She presents both her
intensely colorful paintings and evocative black and white photographs
of bathers at the Jersey Shore. Through September 12.
The Old Barracks Museum, Barrack Street, Trenton, 609-396-1776.
"Furniture, Curios and Pictures: 100 Years of Collecting by the Old
Barracks," a display in the exhibit gallery is included in the tour
admission fee. Open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the last tour is
at 3:50 p.m.
Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-393-8998. The new
gallery is owned and operated by the Trenton Downtown Association. The
first exhibit includes art by Bruce Berenson, Kristin Bodine, William
Hogan, Olu Festus, Denis Gallagher, Dora Golfetto, Rosemary Hutchins,
Carmen Cartiness Johnson, Charles Katzenbach Jr., Susan Winters, and
Siri Om Singh. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday,
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Through August 30.
American Hungarian Foundation Museum, 300 Somerset Street, New
Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "Everywhere a Foreigner and Yet Nowhere a
Stranger," an exhibition of 19th-century Hungarian art from the Salgo
Trust for Education. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and
Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $5 donation. Extended to September 12.
Monmouth Museum, Brookdale Community College, Newman Springs Road,
Lincroft, 732-747-2266. African-American Quilt exhibition is part of
the statewide art exhibit, "Transcultural New Jersey: An Arts and
Education Initiative." Artists represented include Gail Mitchell,
Soyoo Hyunjoo Park, Janet Taylor Pickett, Betsey Regan, Faith
Ringgold, and Karen Guancione. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to
4:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. On view Through September 5.
Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North Branch
Station, 908-725-2110. Small Impressions features traditional prints,
photographs, digital prints, and handmade paper. Wednesday through
Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To August 28.
James A. Michener Art Museum, Union Square Complex, Bridge Street, New
Hope, 215-340-9800. "Creative Bucks County: A Celebration of Art and
Artists," featuring 19th and 20th century painters, writers,
composers, and playwrights. Also "Pennsylvania Impressionists of the
New Hope School." $6; $2 youth. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
James A. Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,
215-340-9800. "The Artists Among Us," a permanent interactive exhibit
dedicated to the history and legacy of the artists who have made New
Hope an internationally recognized arts colony. Tuesday to Friday, 10
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5
p.m. Museum admission $6.50 adults; $4 students.
Also on display are 10 pieces of sculpture by Connecticut-based artist
David Hayes in the outdoor sculpture area. Most are large
multi-colored works of painted steel. Through October 1.
Also on exhibit is an exhibition of works by Sandy Sorlien,
"Photographs from Fifty Houses," a selection of photographs from her
2002 book, "Fifty Houses: Images from the American Road." Sorlien
appears for a lecture and book signing on Wednesday, September 22, 7
p.m. Through October 3.
Also, "Edward W. Redfield: Just Values and Fine Settings," an
exhibition of over 50 works created by the 20th century Pennsylvania
impressionist. The exhibit features works from early students
drawings, landscapes painted in France, and some pieces never before
on public view. Through January 9, 2005.
Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark, 973-655-7386.
Springsteen: Troubadour of the Highway is an exhibit devoted to the
New Jersey native and Rock and Rock Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen.
Music, lyrics, photography, video, vinyl albums, and related
memorabilia. On exhibit through August 29.
Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, 120 Long Beach
Boulevard, Loveladies. "Fiber Revolution: A Survey of Styles"
exhibition features the works of West Windsor resident Carol Sara
Schepps. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On view through August 26.
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