The fall visual arts season marks both a change of season and a change in the art scene, especially at the Rider University Gallery.
Rider University art instructor and gallery director Harry Naar retires at the end of this calendar year and leaves behind a legacy of important exhibitions by regional masters.
He also leaves the fate of the gallery in question, especially since Rider University seems to be diminishing its commitment to the fine arts. And while there is talk that the university plans to hire an interim gallery director to finish out the academic year, and potentially beyond, it is unclear at this time.
What is clear though is that the two final shows are sure to attract regional attention.
First on the schedule is Mel Leipzig: Octogenarian. A longtime Trenton resident and retired art instructor at Mercer County Community College, the 83-year-old Leipzig is a nationally known visual artist. The New York Times rates him “among the top New Jersey realists,” and the Philadelphia Inquirer calls him “one of the most individual American portrait painters of his generation.”
Leipzig’s exhibition of new works opens Wednesday, September 26, 5 to 7 p.m. An artist’s talk is Wednesday, October 3, at 7 p.m. Through October 23.
It will be followed by Harry I. Naar: Watercolors. It is a fitting finale for the artist who as curator has mounted exhibitions of numerous other regional and state artists, including Bernarda Bryson Shahn, Michael Graves, Aubrey Kauffman, Marie Sturken, and numerous others.
“It takes skill and experience to paint and draw this way,” writes noted Princeton-based artist and educator Judith Brodsky about Naar’s exhibition and artistry. “The images of the natural world must be in the brain and in the fingers. One thinks of Renaissance artists who apprenticed as early as five years old to their artist fathers or to other artists to develop that skill.”
The opening reception is Wednesday, October 31, 5 to 7 p.m., with an artist talk set for Wednesday, November 7, 7 to 9 p.m. Through November 30.
Rider University, Luedeke Center, Lawrenceville. 609-896-5168 or www.rider.edu/arts.
Meanwhile a change is also taking place at the Bernstein Gallery at the Woodrow Wilson School of Princeton University.
Princeton artist Mary Hamill is the new curator. The recently opened Civil Right in Comics exhibition with comics and graphic novels on the lives of Martin Luther King and U.S. Congressman John Lewis is on view through November 15; Princeton artist Marsha Levin-Rojer’s Music Made Visible: Metaphors of the Ephemeral, created in conjunction with the residency of Gustavo Dudamel at Princeton University Concerts, opens December 1, features a panel discussion on January 9, and concludes on January 31; and Biodiversity Loss by sculptor and architect Maya Lin and the What is Missing? Foundation will be on view from March 1 through June 4.
Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. 609-497-2441, wws.princeton.edu/about-wws/bernstein-gallery.
Other Universities & Colleges
The Center for Women in the Arts at Douglass Library, 8 Chapel Drive, New Brunswick. 848-932-3726. iwa.rutgers.edu.
Housed at the Douglass Library, Rutgers University, the center is presenting the aforementioned Princeton artist Judith Brodsky’s exhibition The 20 Most Important Scientific Questions of the 21st Century, on view through December 14. The series was inspired by a New York Times science article that asked the same question. A free event featuring an artist lecture and discussion is set for October 30, 5 to 7 p.m.
JKC Gallery, James Kerney Campus, Mercer County Community College, Trenton Hall Annex, 137 North Broad Street, Trenton. 609-586-4800. www.mccc.edu/community_gallery_jkc.shtml
The gallery is hosting a series of photography exhibitions featuring regional and national artists.
Brooklyn-based photographer Kai McBride’s Sky’s Gone Out recently opened. The black and white series focuses on the photographer’s response to the 2001 World Trade Center attacks and his interest in the Empire State building and commercial airplanes in the cityscape. Through October 4.
Patrice Aphrodite Helmar’s Dirty Old Town follows. A New York City transplant from Alaska who exhibited at various national and international museums and galleries, Helmar says her new series explores “the dramatic potential and complexity of returning home: characters, archetypes, and dreamlike landscapes of 50 miles on a road to nowhere.” A reception and artist talk are scheduled for Wednesday, October 24, 5 to 7 p.m. October 16 through November 13.
Then JKC presents Gary Saretzky — Retrospective 1972 to Present. Well known for his photographs of musicians and artists, Lawrence-based Saretzky is also known for teaching at Mercer County Community College and the College of New Jersey and as an archivist for both Educational Testing Service and the County of Monmouth. His training includes study with MCCC instructor William Barksdale and work with noted photographers Peter Bunnell, Eva Rubenstein, and Duane Michals. An artist talk and reception are Wednesday, December 5, 5 to 7 p.m. November 28 through January 10.
Mercer County Community College Gallery, Communications Building, 1200 Old Trenton Road, West Windsor. www.mccc.edu/gallery
The West Windsor campus gallery marks its new season with a Visual Arts Faculty Exhibit reception on Wednesday, September 19, 5 to 7:30 p.m. The show features approximately 20 works by full-time and adjunct faculty, including Emily Buchalski, Ryann Casey, Michael Chovan-Dalton, Lucas Kelly, Tina LaPlaca, Paul Mordetsky, Kerri O’Neill, Lauren Rabinowitz, Kyle Stevenson, Michael Welliver, and Mauro Zamora. Through October 4.
TCNJ Art Gallery, Art & Interactive Multimedia Building, the College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing. 609-771-2633 tcnjartgallery.tcnj.edu.
Sight Specific: The Art of Community, now on view, focuses on the college’s Trenton Community created project involving Trenton artists Jonathan “Lank” Conner, Bentrice Jusu, Tamara Torres, and Andrew Wilkinson and TCNJ students. On Wednesday, September 19, the artists will join for a 4 p.m. panel discussion, a 5 to 7 p.m. reception follows. Through October 7.
An exhibition of new abstract works on paper or large scale painting by Chicago-based painter Caroline Kent follows with an artist’s talk and reception, Wednesday, November 7, 4 to 7 p.m. The artist has exhibited in museums and galleries in New York City and Omaha, Nebraska. Through December 9.
Lewis Arts Complex, Princeton University, 122 Alexander Street, Princeton, 609-258-1500, arts.princeton.edu/events/program/visual-arts.
Princeton University’s CoLab at the Lewis Arts Complex is presenting 5 Days in July.
Developed in collaboration with the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative, the project uses a dual screen projection of black and white archival film as part of concurrent series of national art exhibitions organized to “encourage broad participation in civic discourse and, through lifting up a multiplicity of voices, to spark a national dialogue about art, education, advertising and politics.”
Artist and Princeton University faculty member Jeff Whetstone is the site organizer. The visual work was created by Esther Podemski and Chuck Schultz and focuses on the 1967 Newark Riots/Rebellion, which “fueled one of the most violent periods of racial hostility, civil disobedience, and political ferment in modern times.” October 15 through November 2.
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton campus, 609-258-3788, artmuseum.princeton.edu.
Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment is one of the museum’s highlights this season. Curated by Princeton University’s Karl Kusserow and College of William and Mary professor Alan C. Braddock, the exhibition is billed as the first comprehensive eco-critical study of art history to examine how artists have reflected and shaped environmental understanding while contributing to the emergence of a global ecological consciousness. It features 125 works ranging from paintings to decorative art works gathered from more than 70 national collections and a 400-page catalog. October 13 through January 6.
Additional PUAM shows include Picturing Place in Japan, 20-plus works exploring brushwork and form and their connection to poetry and the sacred. October 20 through February 24.
And Worlds Within: Mimbres Pottery of the Ancient Southwest. September 28 through January 19.
Grounds For Sculpture, 126 Sculptors Way, Hamilton. 609-586-0616. www.groundsforsculpture.org.
Toronto sculptor James Carl’s woof has just opened in the Domestic Arts Building. It’s the first major United States exhibition for the artist and represents his jalousie series. The name comes from the colloquial French for the venetian blinds that the artist crafts in weaving pattern to produce unconventional forms and figures. Through March 17.
The exhibition complements Carl’s recent installation in the East Gallery, oof (based on the French for egg), an 80-foot-long hand-assembled computer-cut work that visually references the geometric forms of egg cartons. Through January 5, 2020.
Morven Museum, 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, 609-924-8144, www.morven.org.
The new first floor permanent gallery exhibition, Historic Morven: A Window into America’s Past, tells the 200-year story of the building through the people who lived there. And while it touches on the lives of the prominent men who lived there — from Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton to business leader Robert Wood Johnson to five New Jersey governors — the exhibit is designed to include the stories of the women, children, slaves, servants, and employees. It is the first major reinterpretation of the museum’s permanent history galleries since Morven first opened as a museum in 2004.
Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park, Trenton. 609-989-3632 or www.ellarslie.org.
The Trenton Museum Society and FVHD Architects are presenting Changing Face/Changing Place: A Look at the Architectural History of the Trenton Area, an exhibition marking two anniversaries: FVHD’s 100th and the Trenton Museum Society’s 40th.
FVHD’s history involves many original school buildings for Trenton, Lawrence and Ewing Township School Districts; the restoration of the 1719 William Trent house; the GM Fisher Body Plant; Mercer Hospital; Waterfront (now Arm & Hammer) Stadium; Ewing Township Municipal/Police Facility; several Trenton City branch library buildings; Trenton public housing and more.” An opening reception is set for Sunday, September 16, 2 to 4 p.m. September 15 through January 11.
The Trenton Museum Society is also mounting Pushing 40 Invitational, celebrating nearly four decades of fine arts exhibitions at the Ellarslie Mansion in Trenton’s Cadwalader Park. The opening reception is Saturday, September 15, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Through November 11.
Zimmerli Art Museum, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, 848-932-7237, zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.
Celebrity Culture: Photographs from the Collection of the Zimmerli Art Museum, currently on view, examines the relationship between photography and celebrity from the 20th century onward. Organized by curator Donna Gustafson, the exhibition includes images by photography-celebrities such as Weegee, Andy Warhol, ND Annie Leibovitz, as well as those by strong but lesser known artist such as Philippe Halsman, Elliot Erwitt, and Walter Iooss. Through December 30.
Self-Confessed! The Inappropriately Intimate Comics of Alison Bechdel is also on view. Creator of the groundbreaking syndicated comic strip “Dykes to Watch Out For” and a MacArthur Foundation grant recipient, Bechdel’s graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic” was a New York Times bestseller and the catalyst for a Tony-award winning musical. The exhibition uses drawings, large-scale self-portraits, set models, and ephemera to explore Bechdel’s work as a writer, artist, and “archivist of the self who continually mines and shares her own experiences in order to communicate something vitally human: the quest for love, acceptance, community, and social justice.” Through December 30.
And The Art of Turning Pages: Illustrations by Lulu Delacre for Sonia Sotomayor’s Life Story is on view as part of the museum’s ongoing exhibitions of publications for young audiences. Through March 17.
New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton. 609-292-5420. www.statemuseum.nj.gov.
Objects Count: A Decade of Collecting at the New Jersey State Museum puts the museum’s recent acquisitions on view and reflects the museum’s commitment to preserving the state’s scientific, historical, and artistic life. On view are a New Jersey Ice Age caribou’s antler, Native American tools, a painting by prominent New Jersey artist Ben Shahn, a South Jersey female pilot’s flight suit from the 1930s, and a lot more Garden State variety materials. Opens October 6.
Artworks Trenton, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436, www.artworkstrenton.org.
The downtown Trenton art center opens its season with a two-show reception on Saturday, September 22, 7 to 9 p.m. One is Out of Step: Art of the Counterculture – TPRFM. The letters stand for the show’s producer, Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market, and set the show’s tone: showcasing “artists who create art for the sake of art, and show a true punk, DIY ethnic in their work.” The other is Things I C – Ms. Sue Ms. Sue. It features photographs by the Trenton resident and longtime College of New Jersey radio station host who ties her photography with spinning music. Through October 20.
Artworks’ Art All Day Event and exhibition opening is set for Saturday, November 3, 6 to 8 p.m., and includes work by Trenton and regional artists participating in the annual afternoon of open galleries and artist studios. Also on view will be Doodles Diary by Robbinsville-based artist Alia Bensliman, works reflecting her reflect her reactions to “society, sociopolitical issues, taboos, religion, relationships, health, and human rights.” Through November 24.
Also on schedule is the December 8, 6 to 9 p.m., opening for the annual 10X10 fundraising exhibition, where more than 200 Trenton artists submit 10 inch by 10 inch work to be sold, and the organization’s second “Members Show.” Through January 5.
Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. 609-924-8777, artscouncilofprinceton.org.
While the center also deals with change and looks for a new executive director, the season opens with its annual members’ exhibition in the center’s main gallery. Through October 8.
Meanwhile across the street at the Princeton Public Library, the ACP has two exhibits. Princeton artist Trudy Borenstein-Sugiura’s exhibition Out of Character features works made from materials accumulated during her “lifelong love affair with paper” and “saved, catalogued and hoarded report cards, postcards, travel brochures, invoices, documents, medical records and books of travels, important personal events and several generations of my family’s ephemera.” And Poetry & Visual Art — A Perfect Pair features drawings by Brooklyn-based artist Mi Ju with poems by John Clare, Rita Dove, and Princeton-based poet Dara-Lyn Shrager. A gallery talk by Borenstein-Sugiura and Shrager is set for Tuesday, September 25, at 7 p.m. September 20 through January 7.
Then look for Colloquy. It’s a collaborative installation by Philadelphia and New York-area sculptors Anna Boothe and Nancy Cohen who have been working on the evolving project that has appeared in parts at the Accola Griefen Gallery in Chelsea, New York City, and at the Philadelphia Airport. October 13 through December 8.
West Windsor Arts Center, 952 Alexander Road, West Windsor. www.westwindsorarts.org.
[sin ‘Thedik] Landscape kicks off the season with the third installment of the annual STEAM series examining the relationship between science, technology, engineering, art, and math. This year’s exhibition looks at the intersection of engineering and art. The exhibition includes site-specific installations and examines the landscape as both a tradition and a physical environment affected and sometimes deformed by new digital space. Participants include contemporary American artists creating art with new technologies. An opening reception and gallery talk with the artists is Saturday, October 13, from 4 to 6 p.m. September 12 through November 2.
The annual Off the Wall 2018: An Affordable Art Exhibit, a juried fine arts and crafts event, is November 17 and 18.
Worth the Drive
National Museum of American Jewish History, 101 South Independence Mall East, Philadelphia. 215-923-3811. NMAJH.org.
The NMAJH is presenting The Art of Rube Goldberg, an exhibition focusing on the groundbreaking artwork on one of the most influential and prolific cartoon illustrators of the twentieth century. Goldberg (1883-1970) is best known for his drawings of whimsical inventions. He is also the father of the late Princeton artist Tom George. October 12 through January 21.