Corrections or additions?
This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the March 21, 2001
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Artful Learning at Numina Gal
Miriam Schaer’s art is well-served at Numina Gallery,
Princeton. Works by the Brooklyn-based artist are on view there
Friday, April 6, and for a wide range of reasons, it is worth the
Described as both a "book artist" and "sculptor,"
Schaer makes three-dimensional art works, each with a message. In
some pieces, this takes the form of a book, which is meant to be read.
In other works, such as the embellished hanging hostess aprons, the
message is hand-embroidered.
Schaer’s materials include bras, girdles, toddler dresses, and leather
gloves. To these, she collages printed matter, paint, ink, color Xerox
transfers, religious icons, found objects. She draws on poetry by
Emily Dickinson, Sarah Teasdale, William Carlos Williams. Since
one-of-a-kind artist books during her student days at Philadelphia
College of Art, Schaer has taught book structures and printmaking
widely, to all grade levels, both in this country and Spain. She is
an artist-member of the Lower East Side Print Shop, New York.
As preliminaries to this exhibition, Numina’s director and publicist
visited the artist’s home-studio. Soon afterwards, they reviewed
to select the pieces they wanted to show. In turn, the artist came
to Princeton and first saw the gallery space, where her show,
would be the third exhibition in its history.
During the week of the snowstorm-that-wasn’t, gallery staff mounted
the show. Doing so involved all the usual steps, such as placing and
re-placing works on the floor while deciding where best to hang them;
considering the lighting that would be needed to illuminate most
and moving the track lighting around in the process. Predictably,
workers were interrupted by phone calls and visitors and kibitzers.
But they finished the job well before the opening reception.
Drawing the usual friends of the gallery, fans of the artist, and
both art-establishment and press reps, as well as a few of the
the Friday evening opening reception was one that a few area galleries
could learn from. It had started, of course, with mailing of crisp
color postcards and press releases with repro-ready photos, and moved
on to posters displayed near the gallery along with effective signage
at entrances and stairs. In the best New York fashion, those walking
into the artsy area encountered a draped, large-screen monitor running
a performance-art production that showed another facet of Miriam
Well-dressed gallery reps greeted visitors, spoke with authority about
the work on view, and generally exhibited welcoming behavior. A lavish
spread of munchables ranging from attractive cheese and grapes, to
chocolatey cookies fueled guests for the ascent to the second-floor
gallery. A kind of mezzanine-aerie with one long, open wall, it
the main-floor studio art room for a spacious effect that’s more
Schaer’s works mounted on three walls show up well in the bright
and two chest-high shelves holding colorful and decidedly
pieces — one, the blue title work — are suspended by clear
monofilament from the ceiling. This permits viewers’ easy circulation
and a chance to see the work from all sides. And to touch it, for
this is tactile and interactive exhibition, with both touching and
reading invited: "These books are one-of-a-kind works of art,
meant to be read. Please handle with appropriate respect."
Reception over, weekend beginning: the gallery team could start
about a little down time, fun, homework. Yes, homework. Numina is
run by Princeton High School students who pretty thoroughly counteract
prevailing notions about today’s teens.
Numina — a Latin word for sacred space or faceless gods —
is located at 151 Moore Street, in Princeton High School. Like a
who happens to be a woman, and not a "woman doctor," Numina
is not "a high school art gallery." Rather, it’s a gallery
that happens to be housed in a high school. Going further, it is
independent of the school, with whatever is spent on its operation
coming from art sales, donations, grants.
The "in but not of" distinction isn’t easy: on one hand,
custodial staff built the shelves and other gallery furnishings,
only for material costs; on the other hand, asked to connect a caller
to Numina Gallery, the operator at the school’s central number
"Do you know what department she’s in?" Telephone connection
to the gallery is still a work in progress.
Three PHS seniors, Sarah Affel, Julia Kantor, and Michael Golisano,
are Numina’s prime movers. All students of art history or studio art
with teacher John Kavalos, they head up gallery operations, a job
description that necessarily include doing yeoman’s work in the cause
of art, on top of leading teenage lives.
Now let’s go back to that show-hanging session. One afternoon between
3 and 5 p.m. — the gallery hours of operation, for reasons that
have now been made clear — maybe eight kids work at Numina. It’s
a diverse and congenial group, all engaged with readying the
a couple move a ladder around to adjust track lights in the ceiling;
another considers how to light the work on one suspended shelf; yet
another sweeps the floor. Sarah Affel, gallery director, moves from
one activity to another, keeping things happening.
What’s the best way to light pieces on a shelf?, Michael Golisano
calls out. Affel reminds him. She moves on to a couple more kids
employing long straight pins to hang Schaer’s very atypical aprons,
reminding them to fasten the bottom to the wall — otherwise, there
will be too much shadow. On a fixed shelf near railing that separates
gallery space from air space, she adjusts another sculptural object,
one of a few displayed there. All this savvy and comfortable authority
from "a mere slip of a girl" in her gym clothes.
Enter publicist Julia Kantor, with tales of exhibition postcards gone
astray in the mail and a hang-up by a New York Times editor,
put off by her saying the gallery is in PHS. At this, Kavalos comments
that such information might wait till later in such contacts, and
asks if the school’s name also appeared on the press release. Julia’s
point is that, as part of the gallery’s address, the structure housing
the gallery, the school must be mentioned. (Flash forward: The handout
available at the reception says only "151 Moore Street.")
A story in himself, artist-teacher Kavalos earned his
BFA at Syracuse University, where he studied with leading American
artists Helen Frankenthaler, Anthony Caro, and Larry Poons. He earned
his MFA at Tyler School of Art. As a painting fellow at Yale, he also
studied with Philip Guston, and ultimately abandoned his doctoral
studies at NYU at the dissertation level. Before starting at PHS five
years ago, he taught and was a visiting artist through New Jersey’s
State Council on the Arts and the NEA. He still teaches part-time
at Cooper Union in New York City.
Kavalos comes across as with-it and laid back, if those two conditions
can co-exist. Best of all to one who has watched some teachers and
coaches give all the credit to their students — until their own
egos get in the way — Kavalos is low-key and non-directive. He
refers questions to the gallery’s triumvirate who answer without
They talk the talk, too: Julia, on the artist: "She loves the
space" and "They work really well," said of the pieces
on view; Sarah, crisply, on the lighting requirements. Of writing
press releases and artist profiles, Julia mentions a journalism course
some time ago and credits the "really rigorous English education
all through high school." Interestingly, their description of
the gallery as an "alternative space" alludes to its having
been an abandoned space, one not originally intended to be used as
a gallery. More unused spaces should have such alternative functions.
Besides senior thesis and staff shows, one more professional-artist
exhibition is scheduled at Numina this year. Work by Tony Gonzales,
a photography professor at Cooper Union, opens Friday, April 20. And
somehow, with all of that going on, gallery staff-succession will
be worked out so the current student team can graduate. Not many high
school graduates emerge with diplomas and significant art gallery
work experience at the same time.
— Pat Summers
151 Moore Street, 609-806-4280, extension 3170. Open Monday to Friday,
3 to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Show runs through April 6.
"Annual Small Works Show." The juried show is on view in the
WPA Gallery, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To March 30.
Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "Old Traditions, New Beginnings,"
a major exhibition celebrating 250 years of Princeton Jewish history,
jointly presented and exhibited at the Jewish Center of Princeton.
This is the first-ever exhibit on the history of Princeton’s Jewish
community, scheduled to coincide with the Jewish Center’s 50th
On view through March.
Dining room exhibition of watercolors by Charles E. Person, and
and pastels by Patrice Sprovieri. Person, a retiree, paints a range
of subjects to reflect his diverse background: carpenter, teacher,
and police office. Sprovieri is the recipient of a Pastel Society
of American scholarship grant. Part of the proceeds benefit the
Center. On view daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. To May 16.
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Reflections," works by sculptor
Lynda Juel. A graduate of University of Minnesota, Juel’s playful
yet serious pieces include brooms and vacuums, empty dresses and
that comment on the everyday life of women. Gallery hours are Monday
to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Saturday to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2
to 9:30 p.m. To March 30.
1200 Stuart Road, 609-921-2330. "Within the Material World:
Artists From India," a group show featuring 14 contemporary
from India. Curated by Steve Pacia of Bose Pacia Gallery in New York,
the show’s diversity of styles and languages belong to the spirit
of India that recently celebrated 50 years of political and cultural
independence. All profits from sale of the artwork will be donated
to the earthquake relief effort in India. Gallery hours are Monday
to Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. To March 30.
"Ancient Cultures Revisited: Etchings by Jorg Schmeisser, Painted
Panels and Sculpture by Sally Spofford," a presentation of works
reflecting civilizations in Cambodia, Central America, Greece, Japan,
Morocco, Russia, and Turkey. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To March 24.
609-921-9000. In the Brodsky Gallery of the Chauncey Conference
a collection of woodcarvings by New York artist Irene Gennaro. She
says her colorful carvings, ranging in size from 20 to 70-inches tall,
make reference to the human form and to organic forms in nature.
is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To March 30.
609-252-6275. "Gold Medal Impressions," a photographic
by photographer Richard A. Druckman. In the exhibit of 100
Druckman explores athletes and the Olympic experience from the 1984
Los Angeles games to the 2000 games in Sydney, Australia. Gallery
hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and weekends and
1 to 5 p.m. To April 8.
Corbusier at Princeton: 14 to 16 November 1935," an exhibition
of sketches and works related to the French architect’s Princeton
residency; to June 17. Also, "A Tapestry by Karel van Mander,"
to June 10. "Seeing Double: Copies and Copying in the Arts of
China," an exhibition of Chinese art, to July 1. On extended view
in the Bowen Gallery, Richard Serra’s "Weight and Measure"
etchings. 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 are every
Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Graduate School continues its centennial observance with the
"A Community of Scholars: Graduate Education at Princeton,"
an exhibition of more than 100 photographs, documents, and artifacts
that chronicle the evolution of graduate studies at Princeton; to
April 8. Also, James Madison Exhibit commemorates the alumni’s role
in drafing the U.S. Constitution, to April 14. Monday through Friday,
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to
Library, 609-258-5049. "Art Deco Paris: 1900-1925," a portrait
of the spirited, affluent Parisian society of the early 20th century
through "pochoir" (or stencil) prints. The show features 100
color prints, including a folio by Matisse, reflecting the era of
jazz, tango, high fashion, and modern art. Library is open Monday
through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday to 8 p.m.; Saturday and
Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 8.
ACM Siggraph’s Traveling Show, "TechnoOasis," an exhibit of
digital paintings, drawings, photographs, sculptures, and Web-based
projects by artists throughout the world. Gallery hours are Monday
to Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to
3 p.m. To March 28.
609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Mercer County Artists 2001," the
annual juried show. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesdays
from 7 to 9 p.m; Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.; and Saturday from 11
a.m. to 1 p.m. To April 6.
732-906-2566. "Trees," an exhibit by Sheila Eichenblatt,
paintings inspired by the Middlesex County area. Eichenblatt earned
her BS and MA degrees from New York University and studied at the
Pratt Institute and the Brooklyn Museum School. Gallery hours are
Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To April 20.
609-298-6970. A group theme show, "Bedtime Stories," featuring
works by Antonelle, Lombardi, Levine, Kelly, and others. Thursday
through Saturday, 4 to 8 p.m. To March 31.
A new gallery in the tradition of "Art’s Garage," featuring
the paintings of Hopewell artist Alan Taback. Taback began his career
as a plein-air painter, moved to portraiture, and has recently turned
to abstract figurative work. Open weekends, and by appointment.
An exhibit by wildlife artist Beatrice Bork. Working primarily with
watercolor and gouache, her art focuses on capturing an expressive
moment in nature by observing the daily struggles that are full of
action, drama, or humor. Shop hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m.
to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To March 30.
Road, 609-921-3272. Recent oil paintings by Don Jordan whose work
has been shown in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Jordan is
a member of TAWA and Artsbridge. To March 23. In the Upstairs Gallery,
"Explorations," a shared show of drawings, paintings, and
wall pieces by Mary Kramarenko and Stefanie Mandelbaum, to March 29.
"Aisling Gheal" by Micheal Madigan. The title is Irish for
"Bright Vision." He earned his MFA at Indiana University of
Pennsylvania. Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. To April 1.
"Terza Rima" by mixed-media artists Liz Adams and Stefanie
Mandelbaum, who also work collaboratively under the name, Unified
Field. Adams uses paper molded and treated to resemble beaten metal
in a series reflecting on technology. Mandelbaum creates abstract
canvases. "Terza Rima’s" key work is a large, mixed-media
watercolor constructed in three related parts.
Branch, 908-725-2110. "Mixed Moxie: Creative Highlights from
Artists." Jurors Idaherma Williams, Cori Haveson, and Jim Jeffers
selected 55 pieces of varied media from students across the country.
Best of show awards presented in categories of mixed media,
and photography. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m.
to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To April 7.
Trenton, 609-394-4023. "Through the Years in the Trenton
an exhibition of works by Tom Malloy, artist and Trenton resident
since 1923. In the main lobby gallery that is always open. To March
"Ellarslie Open XIX," the annual juried showcase of work by
regional, state, and nationally-known artists. Tuesday through
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 4 p.m. To April 15.
Recent sculpture by Gary Wertheim. Gallery hours are Monday to
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To March 29.
609-586-0616. Fall-Winter Exhibition. In the Domestic Arts Building:
"James Dinerstein: New Sculpture," recent works in cast
"Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture."
Show continues to April 8. Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to
9 p.m., year round; Sunday is Members Day.
609-292-6464. "TAWA: Eyes on Trenton," a juried exhibition
of works in all media that focus on the city of Trenton. Juried by
longtime TAWA and New Jersey State Museum member Molly Merlino,
Margaret O’Reilly, and registrar Jana Balsamo, the show features 65
works by 53 artists; to May 10. Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to
4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Free.
Also on view, "Americans on the Silver Screen," an exhibit
of movie posters, press books, and lobby cards dating from 1934 to
1970 that explores the role of movies in creating and perpetuating
stereotypes of ethnic Americans. "Reflections of Cultures: African
Art and Craftwork from the Collections," wooden carvings,
textiles, metal work, and a recreation of a Nigerian village in
carvings. On extended view: "The Modernists;" "Fine and
Decorative Arts Collections;" "New Jersey Ceramics, Silver,
Glass and Iron;" "New Jersey’s Native Americans: The
Record;" "Delaware Indians of New Jersey;" "The Sisler
Collection of North American Mammals;" "Of Rock and Fire;
New Jersey and the Great Ice Age;" "Dinosaur Turnpike: Treks
through New Jersey’s Piedmont;" "Amber: the Legendary
and "Washington Crossing the Delaware."
205 West State Street, Trenton, 609-394-9535. Watercolors by Gail
Bracegirdle. Portion of sales benefit museum programs. Gallery hours
are Tuesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4:30 p.m.
To April 14.
Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "The Art of Baron Laszlo Mednyansky in
Context: Works from the Salgo Trust for Education." An exhibition
of works by the turn-of-the-century aristocratic artist who disguised
himself as a pauper to paint grim images of the underbelly of society.
Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday,
1 to 4 p.m. Show runs to September 16. Donation $5.
215-340-9800. "The Photography of Alfred Stieglitz" Georgia
O’Keeffe’s Enduring Gift," a major retrospective of the influential
modernist’s owm works drawn from a major collection given by O’Keeffe
to the George Eastman House in Rochester. To May 20.
Stieglitz was an eloquent proponent of art photography, as artist,
writer, publisher, gallery director, and entrepreneur. The show spans
a multitude of genres, from cloud studies and landscapes, to gritty
and poetric depictions of New York City, to the famed extended
series of his wife, Georgia O’Keeffe.
Also, "Carved, Incised, Burnished and Gilded: The Bucks County
Framemaking Tradition," featuring 50 objects that tell the story
of the region’s well-regarded group of frame artists led by Frederick
Harer and Ben Badura, to March 18. Museum admission $5 adults; $1.50
students. Museum hours Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
& Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m.
New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. The newly expanded and renovated museum
features: "American Impressionism: Treasures from the Smithsonian
American Art Museum," to May 20. "The Exotic Flower:
of Femininity in Late 19th-Century French Art," to May 20.
Sum is Greater than the Parts: Collage and Assemblage from the Dodge
Collection," to May 6. "Confrontations: Selections from the
Rutgers Archives for Printmaking Studios, to June 17. "Switch
on the Night: The Amazing Art of Leo and Diane Dillon," to April 1
"Traffic Patterns: Images of Transportation in American Prints
between the Wars," to June 3 "Opening Up: A Half-Century of
Artistic Dialogue between Japan and the West," to April 15.
"A World Of Stage: Designs for Theater, Opera, and Dance from
the Riabov Collection," to March 31.
Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. $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 2:45 p.m.
609-397-0275. "Marks of Industry" by Ryan Brown. Using a
with powdered charcoal, Brown focuses on objects of transportation
common to people living in a city or industrial area to show the
of aging. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 1 to 9 p.m.; Friday
1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To April 20.
"Regrouped," a shared show featuring works by Stacie Speer
Scott and Annelies van Dommelen. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday,
and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To April 1.
609-773-0881. March group show includes sculpture by Beverly Ardos
Fredericks, oil painting by Ty Hodanish, and watercolors by Monica
Sebald-Kennedy. Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m.
To April 1.
"Crilley 2001," an exhibition of new oils by Joseph Crilley
with paintings of Italy, England, and Nova Scotia, as well as Bucks
and Hunterdon County. Many works depict familiar country scenes,
local street scenes, and architectural landmarks such as the New
Train Station. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to
6 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To April 1.
609-397-1006. "The Logik of Josh Owen," an exhibition of
furniture and lighting designs. Owen is a 1994 graduate of Cornell
who earned his MFA in furniture design in 1997 at the Rhode Island
School of Design. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12 to
5 p.m. and by appointment. To April 30.
"Kings and Queens," the new gallery’s debut exhibit features
works by Van Arno, Rich Borge, Ron English, Ward Sutton, Eric White,
and Ulana Zahajkewycz. Gallery proprietor Jonathan LeVine says he
strives to link nostalgia with modern taste including toys to harness
your imagination. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11 a.m.
to 7 p.m. To March 25.
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