A simple and economic way to ease into the 2018 is to take advantage of the region’s prominent museums and galleries offering high quality exhibitions — all free of charge.
And like its namesake, the backward and forward looking Janus, January is seeing exhibitions coming and going.
#b#Princeton University Art Museum#/b#
Clarence H. White and His World: The Art and Craft of Photography, 1895-1925 closes on Sunday, January 7, and begins a national tour to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, Portland Museum of Art in Maine, and Cleveland Museum of Art.
The exhibition explores the work and influence of this founding member of the influential Photo-Secession groups. Included are White’s celebrated scenes of quiet domesticity, outdoor idylls, studies of nudes, magazine and book photo illustrations, and collaboration with prominent American — and New Jersey-born — photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
Making History Visible: Of American Myths and National Heroes remains on view through Sunday, January 14. A component of the Princeton and Slavery Project examining the university’s historical links to the institution of slavery, the exhibition installed at the museum’s entrance explores how visual art has — and continues to — shape social identity. Included is a suite of works by contemporary artist Titus Kaphar that instigate “conversations with historical genres as well as with artists who likewise grapple with a range of African American experiences.” Those other artists include Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, Glenn Ligon, Sally Mann, William Ranney, Faith Ringgold, William Rush, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, Charles White, John Wilson, and Hale Woodruff.
Hold: A Meditation on Black Aesthetics is currently on view through February 11. The exhibition featuring works created from the 1950s to today argue the creation of an artistic approach that offers “alternate ways of seeing, feeling, living, and being together in the world.”
Rouge: Michael Kenna also continues through February 11. The exhibition is a photo-meditation on the Rouge auto plant on the Rouge River in Dearborn, Michigan. Once famous as a symbol of American might, the plant now represents a changing and uncertain American. Contemporary photographer Kenna, however, uses the location to explore the juxtapositions between human-made and natural environments, darkness and light, action and inaction, and clarity and haze. The exhibition highlights the museum’s status of being the only institution in the world to have Kenna’s entire Rouge series in its collections.
The Artist Sees Differently: Modern Still Lifes from The Phillips Collection arrives in Princeton on Saturday, January 27. It features 38 paintings from The Phillips Collection in Washington, including rarely seen works by noted European and American artists, including Paul Cezanne, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Marsden Hartley, Milton Avery, and Georgia O’Keeffe. It will remain on view through April 29.
Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton campus, 609-258-3788, artmuseum.princeton.edu.
#b#The Zimmerli Museum#/b#
Subjective Objective: A Century of Social Photography draws from its vast collection of America, European, and Soviet Union art to explore how documentary photography’s objectivity could be influenced by the subjective reactions of individuals taking the images. The exhibition features work by some of the undisputed masters of photography, including Berenice Abbot, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, and contemporary photographer LaToya Ruby Frazier.
Absence and Trace: The Dematerialized Image in Contemporary Art, also on view through Sunday, January 7, “explores the evocative power of what is not visible, especially elements intentionally omitted by artists, to still have an impact on an individual’s experience with art,” says a museum statement. It uses works created over the past 50 years by five American artists: Polly Apfelbaum, Josiah McElheny, Marsha Goldberg, Ed Ruscha, and Lynton Wells. The exhibition also uses a series of photographs of Paris devoid of people and action to reinforce the idea of absence and “purposeful voids and erasures.”
Serigraphy: The Rise of Screenprinting in America, on view through February 11, examines how a group of Work Progress Administration (WPA) artists in the 1930s began experimenting with the screenprinting techniques use to make posters to create serigraphs, a new style of art that could showcase a variety of artistic approaches. The exhibition features the pioneering WPA artists Anthony Velonis and Elizabeth Olds.
Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017, on view through February 18, draws attention to both the Soviet Revolution and its various impacts on art — from daring creative freedom to Stalin’s repressive state-sanctioned social realism to the underground Soviet artistic expression challenging authoritarianism. The exhibition highlights the Zimmerli’s status as a major collector of Russian and Soviet Union-era art.
Place on Stone: Nineteenth-Century Landscape Lithographs, opening on Saturday, January 13, explores the invention and rapid artist use of lithographs in the 19th century. Selected from the Zimmerli’s graphic art collection, the exhibition features works by British and French artists, including Edouard Vuillard.
And It’s Just a Job: Bill Owens and Studs Terkel on Working in 1970s America goes on view Saturday, January 20. The photography exhibition features 31 photos taken by California-based photographer Bill Owens and oral historian Studs Terkel for a 1970s-era study of an American workforce facing changes in manufacturing, economy, employment opportunities, and identity. Terkel is known for his book “Working,” a series of oral histories capturing the lives of American workers. Owens is the creator of photographic studies, including “Suburbia.” This new exhibition is on view through July 29.
Zimmerli Art Museum. George and Hamilton streets, New Brunswick. 732-932-7237. zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.
#b#New Jersey State Museum#/b#
Embattled Emblems: Posters and Flags of World War I commemorates the United States’ entry into the world war 100 years ago and showcases posters and flags used to stir patriotism and support the cause. It is joined by Shifting Views: Artists Who Experienced World War I, featuring the work of 23 artists who served on both sides of the conflicts and whose expressions reflect first hand experiences and perspectives.
And Hearth and Home examines the how the various Native Americans in the Eastern Woodlands and other regions lived, worked, and adapted to the environment. The exhibition includes the New Jersey State Museum’s rare collection of house models made in the 1930s during the Works Progress Administration (WPA), complemented with actual artifacts used in native dwellings. The exhibits run through the summer.
New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton. 609-292-5420. www.statemuse-um.nj.gov.
Shadows and Ashes: The Peril of Nuclear Arms,through February 1, explores the effects of nuclear weapons and includes New York photographer Gary Schoichet’s portraits of Hiroshima survivors and Montclair sculptor Marion Held’s dresses and Raku ceramic commemorative masks.
Bernstein Gallery, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University. 609-497-2441. wws.princeton.edu/about-wws/bernstein-gallery.
#b#Arts Council of Princeton#/b#
Narrative Paintings by New Jersey artist and longtime ACP instructor Charles David Viera opens 2018 through February 3. The artist explains the exhibition as follows: “By bringing the storytelling aspect of my work to the forefront with these works, I create situations that can be interpreted a number of ways by the viewer and because of this, they tend to take on psychological meaning, sometimes intended, sometimes not.” An opening reception is Saturday, January 13, from 3 to 5 p.m.
Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. 609-924-8777. www.artscouncilofprinceton.org.
DrawCutShootPrintAssemble continues to Sunday, January 14. The exhibition of various works on paper — collagraphs, digital prints, watercolor, graphite drawings — features six noted artists who also are connected to educational and cultural institutions: Eliz Mackie, an instructor at the College of New Jersey; Karen Titus Smith, Arts Council of Princeton instructor; Madelaine Shellaby, former instructor at Stuart Country Day School; Robin Dintiman, Manhattan Graphics Center; Arlene Milgram, a teacher at Montgomery Middle School; and Jon Taner, Studio Montclair.
Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park, Trenton, 609-989-1191, www.ellarslie.org.
Look for the Thursday, January 25, opening of Eleven Years. That’s New York photographer Jen Davis’ series of self-portraits dealing with issues of beauty, identity, and body image. It’s on view through February 22.
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
Human/Landscape and Decomposing Vistas open on Saturday, January 27, from 7 to 9 p.m. “Human/Landscape” is built on the collection of four woman artists who in addition to being founding members of the Highland Park Artist Collective say they “share an interest in the natural world and an impulse toward personal narratives. Broadly, each artist uses the body/self as the vantage point for contemplating our relationship to the world.”
“Decomposing Vistas” is a solo exhibition consisting of painting and fiber pieces by Philadelphia-based artist Jenna Howell, who says the exhibition touches on “permanence and impermanence, the beauty of a pristine landscape, and the beauty in its decay.”
Artworks Trenton, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436, www.artworkstrenton.org.
There’s plenty to see, and the price is nice.