INITIAL CAP = It’s a homecoming to be sure. The widely celebrated artists of the New Hope community are coming home to the new New Hope location of the James A. Michener Art Museum. More than three years in the planning, the 5,000-square foot satellite facility celebrates its official public opening on Saturday, November 22.
Located less than 12 miles from the original museum site in Doylestown, the new location is at Union Square, in the heart of the historic arts colony of New Hope, is designed to extend and continue the Michener Art Museum’s tradition of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the art of the Bucks County region.
"New Hope has always been the spark plug for creativity in Bucks County," says museum director Bruce Katsiff, who will direct both the Doylestown and New Hope museums. "With its proud history and reputation as a home for arts and culture, it was an ideal place for the museum to locate."
While artists have been working in New Hope (once known as Coryell’s Ferry) from as early as the 1700s, it was in the late 19th century when the renowned landscape painter William L. Lathrop bought a home there that a community of artists truly began to take root. Lathrop and his wife Annie would entertain students and fellow artists at their Phillips Mill home, and soon more and more artists began to settle in New Hope, attracted by the affordable property, bucolic landscapes and sweeping river views. The area’s reputation for laissez-faire and tolerant Quaker neighbors was — and continues to be — a further inducement for artists to live and work there.
The original James A. Michener Art Center first opened its doors in 1988, on the site of the former Bucks County Jail in Doylestown. It was named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Doylestown native who helped endow the institution along with his wife, Mari Sabusawa Michener. In 1990 it was renamed the James A. Michener Art Museum. The original site has undergone three major expansions, and now totals 33,000 square feet with 11,000 square feet of gallery space, including five permanent and three changing galleries, as well as an outdoor sculpture garden.
New Hope developer George Michael initiated the project. In spring, 2001, he approached Katsiff with a proposal to build a Michener satellite at Michael’s Union Square office and retail development, on the site of a former Union Camp paper bag factory. Katsiff returned with his list of requirements to make the space suitable for museum and AAM standards, and Michael agreed, with the added incentive of a 20-year rent-free lease for the museum. The package is reported to represent a $2 million gift from the Michael family.
Still significant funds had to be raised for a second facility. A fundraising campaign was launched in 2002, with the goal of raising $1 million dollars to fit out the space and cover the projected operating deficit. In less than one year, the necessary funds were raised from public and private donors including the Delaware River Port Authority, Pennsylvania Redevelopment Authority, William Penn Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Private donors included numerous individuals and businesses in New Hope, Solebury, Lambertville, and surrounding communities.
The inaugural exhibition at New Hope will be "Coming Home: Impressionism and Modernism in the New Hope Arts Community," a survey of works by the impressionists and modernists who settled in the New Hope area during the early twentieth century, establishing the town’s reputation as a significant American art colony. "Coming Home" will feature paintings by leading New Hope area artists including Edward Redfield, William Lathrop, Daniel Garber, Walter Schofield, George Sotter, Robert Spencer, Fern Coppedge, Charles Rosen, Harry Leith-Ross, C.F. Ramsey, Charles Evans, R.A.D. Miller, Lloyd Ney, and others. The inaugural exhibit will run through April 21, 2004.
"We are delighted to be bringing these important works back to the community where they were created," Curator of Collections Constance Kimmerle says. "This exhibition, which spans several decades and various artistic styles, was an opportunity for us to highlight the richness of the area’s artistic heritage." Accompanying the inaugural show will be "Drawing Home: Works on Paper," an exhibition of works by many of the same artists, organized by associate curator of Exhibitions Erika Jaeger-Smith.
Also on display at the Museum’s New Hope location will be a longtime favorite from the Doylestown site, "Creative Bucks County: A Celebration of Art and Artists." This interactive, multimedia exhibition highlights the artistic achievements of 12 internationally known artists from Bucks County, including Pearl S. Buck, Oscar Hammerstein II, Dorothy Parker, and S.J. Perelman.
"Creative Bucks County" presents a moving tribute to its 12 subjects and to the pursuit of art-making. At the heart of the space is an inlaid wood floor, that serves as a pantheon of praise in the form of statements by 12 artists of various nations and eras. "It seems to me that the best art is political and you ought to be able to make it unquestionably political and irrevocably beautiful at the same time," writes Toni Morrison. Also represented here are the thoughts of John F. Kennedy, Marcel Proust, Willa Cather, Octavio Paz, and others.
Surrounding this central core, each of the 12 Bucks County artists is assigned a unique installation, such as Henry Mercer’s immense hand-crafted "Archaeology" cabinet, yet employing all the latest in electronic technology. Each station includes a special drawer, just a couple of feet off the ground, for children to open and explore.
S.J. Perelman’s signature item is a wooden newsrack holding a multitude of magazines, prominently featuring The New Yorker. For Dorothy Parker, Perelman’s neighbor in the exhibition space, her signature item is her Bucks County living room, not a conventional living room, but a space painted in 10 different shades of red. To hear the author and humorist reciting her own poetry, you pick up a telephone here and listen.
Charles Sheeler, a major American modernist, was a leading figure in the development of the unique American style known as "Precisionism." Emphasizing simple lines and contours, Sheeler reduced familiar architectural forms to their underlying abstract components. Between 1910 and 1926, Sheeler rented a small stone farmhouse in Doylestown that he used as a summer studio and weekend retreat, and by 1917, the rural barns of Bucks County had become a major source of inspiration. Look for Sheeler’s burned canvas stretchers and his enormous view camera.
Edward Hicks, the most important American primitive painter of the 19th century, and a Quaker, was born in Langhorne and lived for many years in Newtown. He is known for more than 100 renditions of his subject, "Peaceable Kingdom," his vision of a new Garden of Eden. His installation offers a multitude of illuminated views of his heartfelt works.
The Michener Museum in New Hope also features "Study for New London Facets," a large, abstract post office mural created by New Hope artist Lloyd Raymond Ney under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury Department in 1940. The four-panel, black-and-white study will be a highlight of the museum’s new lobby space. In addition, the Museum has commissioned area woodworkers Mark Sfirri and Phillip Lloyd Powell to create two public benches for the interior.
The Museum will celebrate the opening of its New Hope location with a series of special events from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, November 22 and 23. Live music and performances, family activities, and refreshments will be available, and the Museum will be open for viewing both days; all outdoor events will be free to the public.
The James A. Michener Art Museum, New Hope , Union Square complex, Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-340-9800. www.michenerartmuseum.org.
New Hope gallery hours (through December): Tuesday-Thursday 11 – 5; Friday and Saturday 11-8; and Sunday 12 – 6. New Hope admission only $4.95 or $6 for same-day admission to both museums; members and children under six free. Students and children ages 6 to 18, $2; seniors, $3.95.
Art in Town
Chapin School , 4101 Princeton Pike, 609-924-7206. "It’s a Small World," an exhibit of fanciful oil paintings by Susan B. Howard. Open by appointment during school hours. To December 19.
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. Admission is free.
Hills Gallery & the Williams Gallery , 195 Nassau Street, 609-252-0909. "Japanese Printmaking Today: Four Contemporary Artists" features Susumu Endo, Kenishi Tanaka, Yoshikatsu Tamekane, and Katsunori Hamanishi. Open Mondays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays, 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To December 5.
Art in the Workplace
Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb , Route 206, Lawrenceville, 609-252-6275. "The Fascination of Sun and Shore: Impressionist Painters of the Jersey Shore, 1870-1940." Curated by Roy Pedersen, the show features works by 30 artists, members of two successive generations who made contributions to the uniquely American brand of Impressionism. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends and holidays, 1 to 5 p.m. To December 7.
E.T.S., Brodsky Gallery , Rosedale Road, 609-921-9000. "Fiber Revolution: Quilts as Art, a touring exhibition of works by fiber artists. "Art quilts are highly collectible artwork," say the organizers. "These quilts are not meant to lie folded at the foot of the bed, but rather hung on the wall like an oil or watercolor painting." Daily 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. To November 20.
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 Lawrenceville.
Johnson & Johnson , Administration Building Atrium, Grandview Road, Skillman, 732-524-6957. Photographs by members of the Princeton Photography Club are on view in the Atrium of the Administration Building through January. By appointment, Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Princeton University Art Museum , McCosh 50, 609-258-3788. "The Centaur’s Smile: The Human Animal in Early Greek Art" features more than 100 Centaurs, Satyrs, Sphinxes, Sirens, Gorgons, and other fantastic creatures in ceramic, stone, bronze, gold, and terracotta. Curated by classicist Michael Padgett, the exhibition explores the role of the "human animal" in early Greek art. Accompanied by an illustrated catalogue, the exhibit will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, next year. To January 11. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Highlights tours every Saturday at 2 p.m. Free admission.
Also "Stranger Than Fiction: 19th-Century Photographs from the Permanent Collection," to December 8. "The Italian Renaissance City: Selections from Princeton University Collections," with rare books and maps that highlight aspects of the city that fascinated Renaissance artists and architects. A symposium is planned in conjunction with the show; to January 11.
Also "The Arts of Asia: Works in the Permanent Collection" and "Recent Acquisitions in Asian Art: 1998 to 2003," both shows to January 6. Also "The Book of Kings: Art, War, and the Morgan Library’s Medieval Picture Bible," exhibiting the greatest illuminated French manuscript of the 13th century, to June 6, 2004.
Bernstein Gallery, Princeton University , Woodrow Wilson School, 609-258-5566. Exhibition featuring the work of the late Jacob Landau of Roosevelt, New Jersey. Show features oils, works on paper, and lithographs. Gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On view to January 23.
College of New Jersey , Art Gallery, Holman Hall, Ewing, 609-771-2198. "Homer’s Odyssey," an exhibition of 24 works inspired by Robert Fagles’ English translation of Homer’s epic by members of the Princeton Artists Alliance. Curated by Lee Ann Riccardi, the art exhibit will be complemented by six weeks of special events. The show has its own website: www.tcnj.edu/~odyssey. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. To December 3.
Princeton Theological Seminary , Erdman Hall Gallery, 20 Library Place, 609-497-7990. "In Search of the One: An Exhibition of Wildlife Paintings based on Scriptural Imagery" by Tyler Hatch. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. To December 5.
Rider University Art Gallery , Student Center, 2083 Lawrenceville Road, 609-895-5588. "Two for the Show," an shared exhibit of paintings by Princeton artists Charles Taggart McVicker and Lucy Graves McVicker. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. To December 14.
Peddie School , Mariboe Gallery, Peddie School, Hightstown, 609-490-7550. Paintings and interactive works by Michael Maxwell. The artist has studied visual art, neuro-linguistic programming, and anthropology. His work explores the relationships between the art experience, cognition, and states of consciousness through a variety of media including video, performance, installation, and painting. This show will include recent paintings as well as interactive works that explore various cognitive states. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To November 30.
Bordentown Gallery , 204 Farnsworth Avenue, Bordentown, 609-298-5556. A new gallery in Historic Bordentown City owned by John and Nina Schroeder. The gallery carries traditional landscapes, seascapes, and still lifes as well as limited-edition prints by featured artists who include watercolorist Phil Aklonis, painter Gerald Lubeck, and folk artist Nancy Lubeck. Open Wednesday to Saturday, noon to 5 p.m.; Fridays until 8 p.m.
Extension Gallery , 60 Sculptors Way, Mercerville, 609-890-7777. "Memento Mori," recent works in sculpture by Lauren Kalman. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To December 4.
Gallery of Fine Art , 201 South State Street, Newtown, 215-579-0050. "Surfaces: Collages and Paintings by Mavis Smith." Show features 30 works including egg tempera painting and collage. Smith’s inventive style in the medium of collage is well known and highly respected. Using intricately placed magazine clippings, she creates figurative compositions with rich modulations of color and form. To November 30.
Gourgaud Gallery , Cranbury Town Hall, Schoolhouse Lane, Cranbury, 609-395-0900. Exhibit of recent paintings by Indian artist Jayant Parkikh. Gallery open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sundays noon to 3 p.m. To November 28.
Hopewell Frame Shop , 24 West Broad Street, Hopewell, 609-466-0817. Solo show of wildlife studies in watercolor and gouache by Beatrice Bork. Open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. To December 24.
Montgomery Center for the Arts , 124 Montgomery Road, Skillman, 609-921-3272. The annual open juried exhibition, "Visual Feast" featuring abstract and representational works on the theme of food and dining. Juror is Donna Gustason of the Hunterdon Museum of Art. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. To November 30.
The show’s first prize winner is Nicole Fournier of Jersey City with "Burner," a color digital print framed in a stainless steel stovetop. Second prize went to Ann Snyder of Villanova, Pennsylvania, for the pastel still life, "Market Fish." And third prize went to Dave McGrath of Long Branch for the pen and ink drawing, "Outdoor Cafe."
Morpeth Gallery , 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell, 609-333-9393. "Plainscapes" by Lisa Grossman, an exhibit of recent paintings of the wild grasslands and soaring skies of the Flint Hills in eastern Kansas. A Pennsylvania native, Grossment studied at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh before moving to the midwest, where she now lives in Lawrence, Kansas. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To November 30.
"I was awed," says Grossman of her first encounter with the Great Plains. "I felt I could breathe at last, like I was at the center of everything and yet far from anything. I felt at home, and it was the first time in my life I felt that way."
"I see my work as a sustained meditation on open spaces," says Grossman, "as a celebration of their sublime power and beauty, as an expression of my deep concern for their survival."
Plainsboro Public Library , 641 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro, 609-275-2897. "Rejects: Constructed, Deconstructed, and Reconstructed" by Plainsboro artist Bob Justin. Art chat takes place November 30.
Printmaking Council of New Jersey , 440 River Road, North Branch Station, 908-725-2110. The 29th annual juried members show, juried by Curlee Raven Holton of Lafayette College. Prints, photographs, and alternative print media. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. To January 24.
Art by the River
Artists’ Gallery , 32 Coryell Street, Lambertville, 609-397-4588. Shared show by New Hope artists Lisa Mahan and Leonard Restivo. Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To November 30.
New Hope Outdoor Sculpture Exhibition , Union Square, West Bridge Street, New Hope, 215-862-3396. Sculpture exhibition features the outdoor installation of seven large-scale works at sites around town. Host sites include Union Square, New Hope Solebury Library, the Wedgwood Inn, New Hope Historical Society, Golden Door Gallery, and New Hope Mule Barge.
Peggy Lewis Gallery , Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street, 609-397-0275. One-man show of landscape paintings by Roger Smith. A trained psychiatrist in private practice, Smith began painting as a self-taught youngster and did not return to his oils until 2000. 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. To December 24.
Art In Trenton
Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum , Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632. Three-man exhibition features paintings by Jeff Epstein and Thom Lynch, and whimsical bronze sculpture by Dana Stewart. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To January 4. @LT = Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-586-0616. Outdoors, the Fall/Winter Exhibition. In the Domestic Arts Building, "Amazing Animal Exposition" features works by Botero, Butterfield, Grausman, Otterness, Petersen, and Woytuk; Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture Awards Exhibition; both shows to April 18. Also "In Search of the Other in the Extraordinary," photography by Bryan Grigsby, to January 4.
Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday is Members Day. Adult admission is $5 Tuesday to Thursday; $8 Friday and Saturday; and $12 on Sunday. Individual memberships start at $70.
The Old Barracks Museum, Barrack Street, Trenton, 609-396-1776. "Furniture, Curios and Pictures: 100 Years of Collecting by the Old Barracks," a new 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.
New Jersey State Museum , 205 West State Street, Trenton, 609-292-6464. "George Tice: Urban Landscapes," an exhibit spanning the career of the photographer who has been working in urban and suburban New Jersey since 1967. Tice’s photographs are in major collections and he is the author of 12 books, including the now-classic "Urban Landscapes" of 1975, just re-issued in a new edition. Show runs to November 30. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays and state holidays.
Hunterdon Museum of Art , 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton, 908-735-8415. "Correspondences: Poetry and Contemporary Art" featuring artists and poets Nancy Cohen, Edwin Torres, Jamie Fuller, Laurie Sheck, Diana Gonzalez-Gandolfi, Pablo Neruda, Gerald Stern, Robert Mahon, Sheba Sharrow, and others. Also "Sally Spofford: Ceremonial Vessels & Ritual Objects." Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To January 4.
James A. Michener Art Museum , 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown, 215-340-9800. "Alan Magee: Three Decades of Paintings, Sculpture and Graphics," a retrospective show curated by Bruce Katsiff and organized in cooperation with the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. Show runs to January 25. $4 additional fee. Museum admission $6 adults; $3 students.
Winter hours: 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. Closed Monday. Museum admission $6 adults; $3 students and children.
Zimmerli Art Museum , Rutgers University, George and Hamilton streets, New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. "Vivat, St. Petersburg! Images of the City and its Citizens from the George Riabov Collection of Russian Art." Show celebrates the 300th anniversary of the city’s founding with rare prints and watercolors. On view to February 1.
Also "Soviet Artists, Jewish Imagery: Selections from the Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art," to November 21. "The Illustrator’s World: The Art of Maginel Wright Barney," to January 4. "Themes in Focus: Cartoon-ography," to January 4.
Museum hours are 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.