Art in Town

Area Galleries

Campus Arts

Art in the Workplace

Art by the River

Art In Trenton

Area Museums

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This article by Elaine Strauss was prepared for the July 14, 2004

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

Illuminating a Changing China

China is on the front burner. Every business leader eyes her billion

people as a profitable market. With her wealth catching up on her

venerable history, diplomats prepare for her increasing clout.

Demographers and sociologists document the growing pains inflamed by

the Chinese shift to the cities. American shoppers find Chinese

products unavoidable. And no less than six venues in Manhattan

recognize China’s importance through photographic exhibits scattered

throughout the city.

The International Center of Photography (ICP) has collaborated with

the Asia Society (AS) to assemble a high-profile show, "Between Past

and Future: New Photography and Video from China." A single ticket

admits holders to both ICP, on Sixth Avenue, and to AS, on Park

Avenue. In New York until Sunday, September 5, the show consists of

130 works by 60 Chinese artists, many of whom are seen for the first

time in the United States. After closing in New York the exhibition

travels to Chicago, Seattle, London, Berlin, and Santa Barbara.

The exhibit is as much a window into Chinese society as an expression

of artistic sensibilities. The memories of the artists whose work is

on display go back to the failed 1989 demonstration for democracy that

culminated in the killing of thousands in Tiananmen Square. The

government continues to worry about excessive self expression in the

media, on the Internet, and through cell phones.

Still, the artists included in the show display a certain freedom.

Wang Qingsong parodies a 10th century scroll about a disappointed

government official who finds a new life in the company of concubines.

Wang’s updated version is a panorama honoring a contemporary editor

who dared to defy a repressive government; scantily dressed women

replace the ancient concubines. The five episodes of the 31-foot long

image, "Night Revels of Lao Li," read like a comic book, with the same

characters reappearing in successive scenes. Wang’s version of the

scroll includes such basics of life in China today as a cell phone, a

guitar, Coke bottles, and heavy eye shadow.

Departing from the Communist advocacy of socialist realism, two large

scale autobiographical mixed-media pieces greet the visitor at the

entry level of ICP. Lin Tianmiao’s "Braiding" is a 12-foot tall image

of herself strewn with many small protuberances. From the back of each

protuberance hangs a thread. The threads have been braided together

into a tapering form that makes the work interesting to view from

back, as well as front. Set among the fine threads in which the braid

terminates is a video showing hands making the braid. The soft,

diffuse portrait contrasts with the solid braid that emanates from it.

Using 10 pairs of identical handmade cotton shoes, Yin Xiuzhen

provides a pictorial autobiography by sewing photos of herself from

age one (1964) to age 35 (1998) into the black footwear. She seems to

balance the combination of stability and change by inserting

constantly variable photographs into the unvaried cotton shoes.

"Between Past and Future" primarily comments about living in China.

Its artists are unhappy. While they might have thought of government

as the source of their woes 15 years ago, their unhappiness has been

deflected onto urban life. Characteristic urban architecture, big,

bleak and featureless, is described in one word-panel as "vertical

sprawl," and many of the works in the show capture its stultifying

uniformity. Artists protest the anonymity and alienation of the

cities. An angry pessimism prevails.

Song Dong’s video, "Crumpling Shanghai," shows multiple clips of the

city, each of which ends with a hand destroying the final image. In a

conceptual piece artist Hu Jieming constructs a small maze that

reaches from almost ceiling-height to the level of the observer’s

knees. The work consists of clear plastic sheets that might have been

shower curtains in another life. Imposed on the see-through plastic

are black and white images approaching 12 inches across; they appear

to be derived from still television or movie frames, or unmounted 35

millimeter transparencies. Observers enter the maze and wander among

the passageways of the piece. Simultaneously the observer experiences

a filtered connection to the world outside, and a separation from it.

Emerging from the maze depends on how many wrong turns one takes. The

museum guard outside reports that sometimes people get lost.

Several images give second-hand accounts of performance art, which, by

its nature, could not be included in the show. Song Dong’s "Water

Seal" consists of multiple prints that show the artist in the Lhasa

River in Tibet, repeatedly stamping the flowing water with an old seal

bearing the Chinese character for water. Without attempting to exhaust

the possible interpretations of the work, one can perceive it is an

exercise in futility, or as distinguishing between the meaning of a

word and its physical form.

Irony appears in Rong Rong’s "Trampling the Face," a visual report of

Cang Xin’s arranging 1,500 casts of a face on his courtyard floor in

order to give visitors a chance to demolish the objects by walking on

them. Cang Xin explained, "My decision to destroy the masks was based

on the realization that a damaged image could better convey the idea

of perfection and beauty than a perfect and beautiful image." More

puzzling than "Trampling the Face" is Sun Yuan’s "Shepherd," which

records 200 recently slaughtered sheep in a snow-covered field.

Among the photographs included for their own sake, there is a

remarkable absence of decisive moments, sympathetic portraits,

playfulness, and beauty. Liu Zheng’s portraits are devoted to

individuals on the far ends of society: two rich men celebrate New

Year’s Eve in Beijing; three professional mourners grieve at a country

funeral.

Color, when used, tends to be harsh. Liu Jian’s satirical "I Love

McDonald’s" is typical. The piece is unusual in its humor. Consisting

of six manipulated versions of a single image, the separate versions

of the image are distinguished from each other by the quirky

variations that have been imposed on the hair and headgear of the

customers delighting in the fast food.

The subtle color shadings of Sze Tsung Leong’s series, "Huashishang

Fourth Lane, Chongwen District, Beijing," are an oasis amid the

intensity of hue in most of the show. The partly-demolished old houses

in the foreground are more inviting than the new construction behind

them.

Zhang Dali does Leong one better in "Demolition: World Financial

Center, Beijing," a set of images with a common compositional scheme.

Zhang went to the building site and sprayed bold graffiti-like heads

on the old walls about to be destroyed. With a chisel he created an

opening within the graffiti. Through the opening new construction is

visible. His images invite extended consideration because of their

combination of visual and intellectual content. Zhang’s palette is

similar to Leong’s. The rosy brick of the doomed old buildings

contrasts with the faint blue of the new structures. The contrast

makes a sociological point. In addition, seeing both old and new

through the eye of Leong’s graffiti head gives a sense of history.

One single work in the ICP shows brings a lyrical sensitivity to the

preoccupation with China’s urbanization. In a black and white video 14

minutes long Yang Fudong juxtaposes a man from the city and a

traditional fisherwoman, and gives vent to his sense of beauty. The

veiled fisherwoman guides an urban visitor clad in white into her

boat. Their clothing is a metaphor for their contrasting worlds and

perceptions. They rarely look at each other, and they never speak.

However, they engage in related tasks; she poles the boat, he rows;

she cooks, he helps. Both are enveloped in the serenity of nature.

The landscape has a pared-down simplicity; mountains break the

horizon; reeds touched by the wind barely move; the water ripples in

slow motion. The tempo of the piece introduces the viewer to

timelessness. The sporadic English text must have been written by

someone familiar with haiku. "The reed flowers on the west hill have

bloomed," it begins. Unobtrusive music enhances the mood. Yang has

made a hypnotic video. During the time I was nearby, visitors who sat

down on the bench to view it stayed for many minutes.

I found a special importance in Yang’s piece. Perhaps my reception of

it was skewed by the comfort I drew from it. In an ocean of

provocative and disturbing items, this was an island of calm. Maybe

there’s a metaphor here: surrounded by instability and unattractive

change, it is still possible to discover a beauty that balances the

undesirable. Yet, Yang’s piece was the only one of its type.

Overwhelmingly, the artists of "Between Past and Future" have given

physical form to their critical reactions in a changing society. The

show is not pretty, but it is compelling.

– Elaine Strauss

Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China,

presented jointly at the International Center of Photography and the

Asia Society and Museum June 11 to September 5.

International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas at

43rd Street, New York, 212-857-0000. Gallery is open Tuesday-Thursday

10a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday until 8 p.m.,and Saturday and Sunday until 6

p.m

Asia Society and Museum, 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, NY,

212-288-6400. Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.,

with extended evening hours Fridays until 9 p.m.

Top Of Page
Art in Town

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

admission.

Nili Chernikoff Photography Exhibit, Princeton Jewish Center, 435

Nassau Street, 609-921-0100. "Dichotomies: Israel 2001-2002," a

photography exhibit by Ewing resident Nili Chernikoff. Sale from

photographs benefits the Jewish Center. Gallery is open Tuesday to

Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday until 3 p.m.; and Sunday from 9

a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed Saturdays. On view through July 18.

Handmade Paper and Print Making, Hills Gallery, 195 Nassau Street,

609-252-0909. "Where the East Meets the West: America and the Asian

Influences in the Art of handmade Paper and Print Making." Princeton

artist Margaret Kennard Johnson, and Japanese artists Katsunori

Hamanishi and Yoshikatsu Tamekane. Extended to July 15.

Exhibit of Evelyn Kammerman’s sculptures of abstract forms of Colorado

and Mexican alabaster, white and blue marble, and bronze. They range

in size from 15 to 24 inches. Through July 16. Open Tuesday to Friday,

11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Last Dynasty, 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.

The Williams Gallery, 6 Olden Lane, 609-921-1142. "Digital Magic"

features lithographs by Japanese print maker and computer artist

Susumu Endo. Viewings by appointment through July 31.

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Area Galleries

Jim Hilgendorf and Coleen Marks, Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street,

Hopewell, 609-333-8511. "The 29 Stations of the Yamanote Line" by Jim

Hilgendorf, and "Windows & Walls," by Coleen Marks. Both artists

feature classic street photography around the world. Gallery hours are

Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and by appointment. Through July

18.

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. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Cranbury in Cartoon, Cranbury Inn Restaurant, 21 South Main Street,

Cranbury, 609-655-5595. Paintings of Cranbury with a cartoon-like look

and feel by Plainsboro artist Robert Hummel. Picture Brainerd Lake

with sailboats in the water and cotton ball shaped clouds hovering

overhead. Lobby gallery open every day, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Through July

31.

Urban Horizons, Grounds For Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Exhibit 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.

Conspicuous Collection, Peggy Lewis Gallery, Lambertville Public

Library, 6 Lilly Street, 609-397-0275. An exhibit of favorite pieces

from the 50 year collection of Michael and Peggy Lewis. The couple

began collecting in 1945 with a penchant for outsider art and works of

local artists. Gallery hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 1 to 9

p.m.; Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday 1 to 5 p.m.; and Saturday, 10

a.m. to 5 p.m. Through August 7.

25th Gala Celebration Exhibition, 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.

Native to Neo: Mexican Folk Arts from Oaxaca, Wheaton Village, 1501

Glasstown Road, Millville, 856-825-6800. 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.

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Campus Arts

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.

Bible Exhibition, Princeton University, Firestone Library,

609-258-3184. "The Bible in English: Before and After the Hampton

Court Conference, 1604, marks the 400th anniversary of an important

event in the history of the English Bible. Exhibit hours are weekdays,

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday evenings, 5 to 8 p.m.; and weekends, noon

to 5 p.m. Through August 8.

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Art in the Workplace

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

Lawenceville.

Annual Watercolor Exhibition, Garden State Watercolor Society, Capital

Health System, 446 Bellevue Avenue, Trenton, 856-596-7747. Garden

State Watercolor Society presents its 35th annual members’ exhibition

to promote watercolor painting. Gallery hours are Sunday through

Saturday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Through July 16.

Edward Bekkerman, Abud Family Foundation for the Arts, 3100 Princeton

Pike, Building 4, Third Floor, Lawrenceville, 609-896-0732. Exhibition

of paintings, "Dreams," by Edward Bekkerman. The Abud Family

Foundation for the Arts was established in 2002 to promote primarily

Ibero-American art in all its forms. Gallery open Thursday to

Saturday, 3 to 6 p.m. Through July 16.

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Art by the River

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.

Charles Viera, Riverrun Gallery, 287 South Main Street, Lambertville,

609-397-3349. An exhibit of Viera’s black and white paintings of

childhood memories and observed situations. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 5

p.m.; Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Through July 19.

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

artists and an outdoor show of seven large-scale works installed

throughout the town. Through April, 2005.

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Art In Trenton

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.

Colour My World, The Gallery on Lafayette, 46 West Lafayette, Trenton,

609-695-0061. A photographic celebration of people, cultures, and

environment by award-winning travel photographer, David J. Simchock.

Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. On exhibit

through August 3.

Gallery 125, 125 South Warren Street, Trenton, 609-393-8998. Opening

of new gallery 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. The gallery’s summer hours are Tuesday

through Friday, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Through August 30.

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Area Museums

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. Museum hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to

4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. $5 donation. Extended to September 12.

Portrait of the Jersey Shore, Barron Arts Center, 582 Rahway Avenue,

Woodbridge, 732-634-0413. "Portrait of the Jersey Shore," an

exhibition of photography by Stephen Kaplan and Margie DeAngelo.

Gallery hours, Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 to 4

p.m. Through August 1.

National Juried Print Exhibition, Hunterdon Museum of Art, 7 Lower

Center Street, Clinton, 908-735-8415. 48th Annual National Juried

Exhibition. Juror is internationally-known printmaker Sergei Tsvetkov

whose recent work in also on view in a solo exhibition. Museum hours

are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Shows run to July 18.

Small Impressions, Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road,

North Branch Station, 908-725-2110. Invitational exhibit featuring

traditional prints, photographs, digital prints, and handmade paper.

The show’s juror is Emma Amox, professor of art at Mason Gross School

of the Arts. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4

p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Through August 28.

James A. Michener Art Museum, Union Square Complex, Bridge Street, New

Hope, 215-340-9800. New Hope satellite facility opens with the

relocation of the popular, interactive multi-media show, "Creative

Bucks County: A Celebration of Art and Artists," featuring 19th and

20th century painters, writers, composers, and playwrights. Also on

exhibit, "Pennsylvania Impressionists of the New Hope School." Museum

admission $6 adults; $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.

Closed Mondays.

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. It is a permanent

exhibition. 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. Admission $6.50; $4 students.

www.michenerartmuseum.org.

Also on display are 10 pieces of sculpture by Connecticut-based artist

David Hayes Through October 1.

Also, "Edward W. Redfield: Just Values and Fine Settings," an

exhibition of over 50 works created by the 20th century Pennsylvania

impressionist. Through January 9, 2005.

Springsteen: Troubadour of the Highway, Newark Museum, 49 Washington

Street, Newark, 973-655-7386. Exhibit devoted by 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.

Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, George and Hamilton streets,

New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. Beyond the Botanical: Organic Imagery in

Print, Recent Acquisitions from the Dodge Collection, and

Transcultural New Jersey: Crosscurrents in the Mainstream, The show is

part of the state-wide and year-long project. Show features works by

Emma Amos, Peter Arakawa, Siona Benjamin, Melvin Edwards, Benedict

Fernandez, Ming Fay, William J. Grant, Mija Kim, Raphael Montanez

Ortiz, Ludvic Saleh, and Kay Walkingstick. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10

a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Spotlight tours

every Sunday at 2 and 3 p.m. Admission $3 adults; under 18 free. Free

admission on the first Sunday of each month. Both shows run to July

31.


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