Corrections or additions?
This review by Nicole Plett was prepared for the December 13, 2000
edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Click! Captures Marvels
The big ground-floor galleries of the New Jersey State
Museum are currently offering a wintertime site for dreamers. With
the ongoing exhibition of found photographs, "Click! The Marvelous
in American Vernacular Photography," visitors can wander the
dreamspace of photographic representation. Curators Donald Lokuta
of Kean University and Robert Yoskowitz of Union College have taken
the surrealist Andre Breton’s interest in the "marvelous"
in all its broadest and multifarious possibilities. Working with
curator Margaret O’Reilly, Lokuta and Yoskowitz have brought together
three big rooms of small photographs that drench the viewer in a
of diverse images. Representations span a range from silly snapshots
to haunting horrors. Their power is truly the stuff that dreams are
Dating from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, the 90 "ordinary
photographs of ordinary people" featured in this exhibition were
found, we’re told, in shoe boxes offered at flea markets and yard
sales and retrieved from family attics. Taken for the most part by
anonymous photographers, the lenders to the exhibition include the
M.F.Y. Collection, the Sarah Morthland Gallery in New York, and three
In its time, the gelatin silver print photograph was as high-tech
as you could get. How does it happen then that its practitioners
to tap into such a fount of primal imagery? All the prints on exhibit
are the work of amateurs or plodding journeymen, and many take on
an aura of the marvelous simply by being torn from their native
Yet whether the result of a lucky accident or inspired planning, the
photo-interested viewer will gravitate to memorable compositions that
are strikingly reminiscent of such recognized photo masters as Man
Ray, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Diane Arbus, and Andre Kertesz.
Whereas photography began in the 1830s as the plaything of gentleman
scientists and entrepreneurs, all that changed in 1888 when George
Eastman introduced the box camera. Much like today’s
cameras, the Brownie box camera made photographers out of everybody.
You shot a roll of film, sent the entire contraption back to Kodak,
and received photographs and reloaded camera back by mail. As Margaret
O’Reilly reminds us in her introduction to the show’s illustrated
catalog, "snapshot" was originally a hunting term that means
shooting from the hip. Yet for the 175 years since the development
of photography’s technology, it has remained an apt term to describe
the way the camera owner roams the world seizing upon this and that.
The show includes one authentic round (lens-shaped) image from the
Brownie era in the 1892 print by an unknown maker of a "Girl from
The curators have clustered the images into four categories that
unite them in terms of concepts they call "Targeting,"
"Accidentals," and "Grafting." Although the terms
do not covey much in the way of intention or substance, they do add
to the intensity of the viewer’s experience by presenting us with
groups of comparably astonishing output. The result is a wonderland
of provocative images, whimsical compositions, and enigmatic puzzles.
Do faces tell the whole story, we ask ourselves, or
are these hapless photographs just a little behind the times with
so many beautifully framed portrait shots taken from the back? No,
we conclude; a back can speak at least as eloquently as a face.
Some images galvanize our attention by their bold presence. Such a
picture is the 1919 photograph titled "Right Hand of Champion
Jess Willard," a life size portrait of the famed fighter’s weapon.
Others persuade by their pure labor intensity, such as the 1935 print
montage of "Druggists and Visitors to the 37th Annual NARD
a composite of some 750 individual portraits.
In the disaster category, we view "The Hindenburg", 1936,
neither as a triumphant vessel nor a burning wreck but as a haunting
shadow cast onto a sandy beach. Crime makes a gritty showing with
"Looted!," a comically serious portrait of a crime scene,
already tamed by the graphic artist whose hand-penned headline is
designed to shock tomorrow morning’s readers. Crime hangs like a
over "evidence" photographs such as a flash shot from the
1950s of a policeman examining a hank of rope and a hatchet used for
nefarious purposes. Darker still is a 1935 untitled print of a child’s
tricycle beside a curb, crushed, presumably, by a passing car, with
a tiny cap, toy gun, and tin star strewn ominously on the pavement.
If we still harbor any illusions that photography ever represented
"reality," look at the Life magazine-worthy portrait of
and Mrs. Eban and Javits," four distinguished men and woman at
dinner. The image is destined for publication, yet, but with a fifth
diner, a woman seated on the couples’ left, mercilessly cut out.
In a lovely category of "Accidentals", you’ll find a charming
photograph of a child at a piano. Although the print is so sharp you
could play the notes of her sheet music, the playful child seated
on the piano stool appears to the camera simply as an elusive blur.
In their catalog notes, the curators hit the nail on the head when
they identify "the element of joy" present in so many of these
found family snapshots. "They left us a sense of delight from
their appearance frozen in time," they write. "The figures
presented to us were the `stars’ to their friends of family."
Such a "star" is the tiny image of a woman in the snow —
a woman alone in a universe stripped of all form save for the tiny
cabin on a hill in the middle distance. A mere two inches wide and
three inches high, this portrait has everything the subconscious could
wish for. Dream on.
— Nicole Plett
609-292-6464. "Click! The Marvelous in American Vernacular
curated by Donald Lokuta of Kean University and Robert Yoskowitz of
Union College, through December 31. Museum is open Tuesday through
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. Closed Monday
and state holidays. Free.
"Sauce for the Goose," the annual holiday fine art and craft
sale continues through Saturday, December 23. Proceeds benefit
art scholarships. Sale hours are Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30
p.m.; Sunday, noon to 4:30 p.m.
Expression, an exhibit of oils and pastels by Helen Post, on view
through December 31. Artist’s reception is Friday, December 22, from
7 to 9 p.m.
A holiday exhibit of original watercolors by the Russian-born
Gennady Spirin from two new picture books: "Philipok" by Leo
Tolstoy, and "Joy to the World, a Family Christmas Treasury."
His exquisitely detailed watercolor also graces the playbill and
for McCarter Theater’s new production of "A Christmas Carol."
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To January
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
Topics addressed include early arrivals, family life, social
work and business pursuits, religious traditions, and anti-Semitism.
On view through March.
Dining room exhibit of works by Pennsylvania resident artist Susan
Ketcham. She has been an instructor at the Doylestown Art League Day
Workshops and a member of the Doylestown Art League. Her solo exhibits
have been in Doylestown, Phillips Mill, and Philadelphia. Part of
the proceeds benefit the Medical Center. On view 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
daily, to January 18.
609-683-4480. The new student-run professional gallery features,
an exhibition of photographs by Ricardo Barros, featuring a series
of environmental portraits of artists currently being developed as
a book. All profits from sale of works go directly to PHS art
Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 3 to 5 p.m.; and by appointment
from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Show runs to January 5.
Numina, a Latin word that means "sacred space," is a gallery
space salvaged from a neglected and under-used space overlooking the
school’s visual arts studios. Faculty advisor John Kavalos, in his
fifth year teaching at PHS, says his own high school education
him of the art education he desired. "The visual arts faculty
at PHS does not want our students to have that disadvantage. We want
to satisfy all of their needs to fulfill their obligations to their
love of art — in any and every possible way."
Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Witnessing to the Word," a group
show featuring the work of sculptor Patrick Birge, potter Patrick
Caughy, and painter Patrick Ellis. The artists met through a
of theological schools. 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 January
First day for "The Familiar and Not So Familiar," an exhibit
of works by digital artist Roman Verostko that includes traditional
landscapes and still lifes to futuristic visions of space and nature.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery
will be closed for the holidays, December 23 to January 2. Show
to January 27.
Language: Small-Scale Sculpture after 1950," an exhibition that
complements the newly-dedicated Richard Serra sculpture on the
campus, selected from the permanent collection by professors Peter
Bunnell and Hal Foster, and museum director Susan Taylor. Artists
include Alexander Calder and Kenneth Snelson, Leo Steppat, Jasper
Johns, Barry Bertoia, Poly Bury, Anthony Caro, George Segal, Jonathan
Shahn, Claes Oldenburg, and Christopher Wilmarth; to December 30.
On extended view in the Bowen Gallery, Richard Serra’s "Weight
and Measure" etchings. The museum is open Tuesday through
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. Free.
Also: "American Drawings from Copley to O’Keeffe," to December
30; "Contemporary Photographs," to January 7; "Dutch
in the Golden Age, an exhibition of Old Master drawings, to January
Library, 609-258-5049. "Art Deco Paris: 1900-1925," a portrait
of the spirited, affluent Parisian society manifest in the printmaking
technique known as "pochoir." The show features 100 color
prints, including a folio by Matisse, reflecting the era of jazz,
tango, high fashion, and modern art. On view to April 8.
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. To April 8.
732-846-5777. "Herend: Hungarian Porcelain at its Finest,"
an exhibition of hand-painted porcelain pieces created since the
founding in 1839. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to
4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Show runs to February 25. $5 donation.
215-340-9800. The Lenfest Exhibition of Pennsylvania Impressionism.
Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest bequeathed 59 paintings that tell the
story of the renowned art colony, centered in New Hope, in the early
20th Century. Museum hours Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.;
Saturday & Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9
p.m. Exhibit continues through February 11. Museum admission $5
Also, "In Line with Al Hirschfeld," a retrospective
Hirschfeld’s life, career, and the history of the performing arts.
Exhibit, with accompanying lecture, tour, and film series, runs
New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Museum hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Admission is
$3 for adults age 18 and up; free for children and students; admission
is free on the first Sunday of each month. Gallery is open throughout
the December holiday season, closed only on Christmas and New Year’s
Inaugural exhibitions include: "Michael Mazur: A Print
covering a 40-year span of the artist’s career, to February 16.
in Contemporary American Printmaking" from the rich resources
of the Rutgers Archives for Printmaking Studios, to February 18.
Arkful of Animals: Captivating Creatures," from the Rutgers
of original illustrations for children’s literature, to December 22.
"Realities and Utopias: Abstract Painting from the Dodge
to January 14. "Opening Up: A Half-Century of Artistic Dialogue
between Japan and the West" (ongoing). And "A World of Stage:
Designs for Theater, Opera, and Dance from the Riabov Collection,"
to March 31.
and Desire," a seasonal group show by TAWA artists, featuring
more than 70 multi-media works. Show continues to Thursday, December
21. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 9:30
a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
"What a Combo!," a shared show by Mel Leipzig and Vince
Leipzig is a professor of art at Mercer County Community College and
his paintings are in collections at the New Jersey State Museum, Yale
Art Gallery, Newark Public Library, and the White House Collection.
Ceglia is retired from 28 years teaching at MCCC and Trenton Junior
College; his paintings can be found at Penn State University, James
A. Michener Art Museum, and Educational Testing Service. To January
609-397-0275. An exhibit of works by members of the Hunterdon
Society. 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 January 5.
"Small Works Show" featuring drawing, painting, photography,
and sculpture by 18 gallery artists including Gail Bracegirdle, Alan
Klawans, Lisa Mahan, Marc Reed, and Annelies Van Dommelen. Gallery
hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To February
609-773-0881. Group show featuring clay by Hannelore Devlin, jewelry
by Diane Contine, and paintings by Gale Shanks Scotch, James Lucas,
Judith Shaw Hoctor, Alex Bacon, Cheryl Raywood, Edie Sharp, and Ty
Hodanish. Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday, noon to 6 p.m. To
Holiday show features watercolors by Lucy Graves McVicker and casein
paintings by Katherine Steele Renninger. Gallery hours are Wednesday
to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 14.
"The moods of nature have always been my primary concert,"
says watercolorist McVicker, who pursued graduate studies at Pratt
Institute and at Rutgers. Her works are in corporate collections that
include Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnson & Johnson. Renninger, a
of Moore College of Art, is known for her paintings that offer
carefully crafted glimpses of Victorian architecture and artifacts.
609-397-1006. "[Second] Skin," an exhibition of light boxes
and collages by Rebecca Rutstein. To December 31.
609-397-4978. "Kentemperere 2000," artist and curator Malcolm
Bray’s sixth annual show of innovative contemporary painting and
by 14 artists. Exhibitors include Jacques Fabert, Pat Martin, Barry
Snyder, Rachel Bliss, Diane Levell, Michael Hale, Stacie Speer-Scott,
Virgil Sova, Dolores Poacillo, Sandra Flood, Annelies van Dommelen,
and Tom Birkner. Hung upstairs above the antique showroom, the show
is open every day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. To December 31.
Open Monday to Wednesday, noon to 6 p.m.; Thursday and Sunday, 10
a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; open Christmas
Eve till 7 p.m.
609-397-3349. A shared show of multi-media artist Angela Del Vecchio’s
big moving paintings on a "Wheel of Chance" theme, and
by Bill McNamara. Gallery is open daily, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed
Tuesday. To January 2.
609-298-6970. Holiday show by gallery artists Hanneke de Neve, Ken
McIndoe, Thomas Kelly, and others. Thursday through Saturday, 4 to
8 p.m. To December 31.
"Silver & Gold," a holiday show featuring work on family and
angelic themes by Christine Parson, Brian Cezario, and Eric Gibbons.
Wednesdays from 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To
In the Hutchins Rotunda: "Classical Inspiration:
West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Absolute Music," a
shared show of recent works by artist Jordin Isip and multi-media
sculptor Helena Lukasova. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Thursday, 11
a.m. to 3 p.m.; and Thursday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. To December
Road, 609-921-3272. "Joel Popadics: Recent Traditional
Also, the Professional Artists Group’s holiday show. Gallery hours
are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. Both
shows remain on view through January 26.
"Handcrafted Gifts, Small Works," ceramic, fiber, metal
glass ornaments, and handmade objects of art, on exhibit through
Also group show of small works, paintings, and works on paper. Gallery
hours are Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
609-921-9000. In the Brodsky Gallery of the Chauncey Conference
an exhibit of watercolor, pastel, oil, acrylic, charcoal, and
works by New Jersey teenagers. Exhibit is open Monday through
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through December 28.
609-895-7307. A new series of oil on paper and mixed-media paintings
by Wanda Blake, a professional artist living in Morris County who
studied at Newark’s School of Fine and Industrial Arts. Curated by
Gary Snyder Fine Art. Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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