Art in Town

Campus Arts

Art by the River

Area Museums

Art In Trenton

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This article by Pat Summers was prepared for the August 21, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Newark’s Treasure Trove

First, is a word that crops up often, and positively,

in the history of the Newark Museum. This institution was the first

in the country to present exhibitions of industrial design and folk

art. And it was among the first to acquire works by contemporary artists,

African-American artists, photographers, and folk artists.

And while "first" is first, "largest" is the word

that follows as runner-up. The Newark Museum is the largest in the

state. Citing just one example of its stellar holdings, the museum’s

world-renowned Tibetan collection is said to be unrivaled in both

its depth and scope (U.S. 1, November 24, 1999).

Founded in 1909 by John Cotton Dana, a New Englander by birth who

was then director of the Newark Public Library, the museum was chartered

to collect and exhibit "articles of art, science, history, and

technology." Dana did not want to build an insular "temple

of art;" he held that when museums concentrated on the old, the

rare, and the expensive, they turned people off.

A museum, he believed, should be a useful place engaged in the life

of its community. Accordingly, the Newark Museum began by emphasizing

education and community outreach; today, it offers a classic museum

panoply of collections, exhibitions, and information — from the

numismatic collection to Tibet, from a planetarium to a sculpture

garden. This diversity assures something for everyone.

The Newark Museum consists of three floors in three "separate

but connected" buildings, one of them originally the home of Jeannette

and John Holme Ballantine, of the well-known brewing family. Built

in 1885, the brick and limestone mansion originally had 27 rooms.

Two floors, with eight period rooms and six galleries, are now open

to the public (as the museum’s decorative arts building). An addition

to the back of the house to accommodate American art became the "north

wing," site of painting and sculpture of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The "main building" on campus, built in 1926 by retailer Louis

Bamberger to house the museum, sits between the "south wing"

(erected in 1912 as a YMCA and appropriated by the museum in the early

80s) and the Ballantine House. Behind the south wing and main building

is the museum garden, an urban greensward boasting a giant copper

beech tree and dotted with contemporary sculpture. Both a fire museum

and a 1784 schoolhouse are located here too, and the garden hosts

such events as the popular summer jazz concerts.

Here and there during its history, the Newark Museum’s "community"

has encompassed Princeton. Its four-year renovation and expansion

that resulted in 60,000 square feet of facilities was designed by

renowned Princeton-based architect Michael Graves; it opened in 1989

and in 1992, Graves’ work won him the honor award from the American

Institute of Architects. Graves also supervised the reinstallation

and reinterpretation of the museum’s American art collection as "Picturing

America," providing new lighting and bold color.

A more recent Princeton connection at the Newark Museum

is the current, reprise exhibition of their works interpreting Homer’s

"Odyssey" by members of the Princeton Artists Alliance. It

opened July 31 and runs through October 27, with an artists reception

set for Sunday, September 8, 2 to 4 p.m.

Originally a resoundingly successful show curated by Pamela V. Sherin

at Bristol-Myers Squibb in 1999, it displays the 25 artist-members’

multi-media reactions to their reading of Robert Fagles’ then-new

translation of Homer’s epic poem. This time around, the exhibition

also includes a ceramic work by Shellie Jacobson and a digitally imaged

inkjet print by Ruane Miller, two artists who joined the group since

the first exhibition.

The Newark Museum may well be the state’s largest, but its configuration

suggests intimacy. Sweeping white-walled galleries are not part of

the picture at this institution; much smaller rooms with colored walls

are the norm, and in the "Picturing America" wings, this practice

reaches its zenith. Some of its galleries began life as storage areas

and were reincarnated through Graves’ design. Thus, their more modest

scale, which seems just right for the many sections and multi-colors

of the walk through American art history.

And walking is comfortable here. The floors look to be, and feel like,

"givey" tile. On one of the hottest days of summer, climate

control was just that: controlled. Signage throughout the Newark Museum

is pointed and readable. And finally, on the subject of housekeeping,

the cafe offers a short list of adequate-plus soups, sandwiches, brownies,

and beverages. Lunchers can munch in high-ceilinged splendor near

the museum shop (displaying beautiful Tibetan rugs when we visited)

and the Garden of Remembrance, a memorial to September 11, 2001, which

will be in place through September 15 in the cafe’s usual space.

In the side-by-side Native American and African exhibitions, objects

appear in large, recessed alcoves with lighting that effectively obviates

that common museum malady: straining and squinting to read signs.

A painted buffalo hide suggests the size and grandeur of the beast

as well as the skill of the crafter. Near a late-19th-century vest

of hide and beads, a sign reminds us that "American Indians did

not have a word for art, since their art appeared on functional objects,

such as clothing, and was tightly woven into their daily lives."

The third floor of the north wing (behind the Ballantine House) is

home to Newark’s Asian galleries, featuring its Tibetan collection.

In November, the museum will open a new, $13 million science gallery.

Possibly the jewel in the crown of the Newark Museum — or at least

the latest jewel there — is the 32,000 square foot "Picturing

America" exhibition. In 2001, the museum unveiled the new installation

of its outstanding American art collection — some 350 paintings,

sculpture and decorative art objects spanning 250 years — shown

in two dozen galleries on two floors, and reflecting the belief that

objects from the collection, taken together, tell a story. The ballyhoo

was well-deserved.

For those who like their art in the context of its time, the approach

to "Picturing America" is reminiscent of the year-long exhibition,

"The American Century: Art and Culture 1900-2000" at New York’s

Whitney Museum of American Art in 1999-2000 (U.S. 1 August 18, 1999,

and January 5, 2000). It includes helpful, graphic time lines that

show concurrent events, and a la the Whitney, music of the time playing

in the stairwell between floors.

Painted lemon yellow, the introductory gallery includes just enough

to stimulate: a few works of art excerpted from different periods

in the collection, with pertinent accompanying text. The 10-minute

video is viewer-friendly: well done and once more, just enough.

After that, every gallery is a different period color and in some,

the works are displayed in ways to suggest the time when the art was

made or displayed — the densely installed Gilded Age gallery,

for instance, suggests an opulent sitting room. Another room is hung

with work by many of the artists who exhibited at Alfred Stieglitz’s

groundbreaking "291" New York gallery early in the 20th century.

As for highlight works in "Picturing America," you get the

idea that virtually everything there is a highlight. John Singleton

Copley’s amazing colonial "Portrait of Mrs. Joseph Scott"

immortalizes the rich silk dress and other finery of his "American

aristocrat." The landscape section includes both East Coast images

from the Hudson River School and scenes of the American West. Paintings

by Bierstadt and Moran, and stunning large-scale photographs by Carleton

Watkins join Native American works that offer contrasting views of

the sublime in nature.

(Through August 25, you can also see "American Sublime: Epic Landscapes

of Our Nation, 1820-1880" at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine

Arts, Philadelphia. This exhibition, highly praised since its June

15 opening, expands on Newark’s landscape section, and the convergence

of its works in such an appropriate setting may be a once-in-a-lifetime

experience.)

Newark’s mix of "fine art" with Native American art and folk

art, together with furniture and industrial design, is both true to

life and enjoyable. One example: Hiram Powers’s classic sculpture,

"The Greek Slave," stands in the same position in the 19th

century galleries as that taken in the 20th century galleries by "Captain

Jinks of the Horse Marines" (attributed to Thomas J. White), a

painted wooden cigar-store figure.

Dominating the "City and Modernism" gallery, Joseph Stella’s

five-panel landmark work, "The Voice of the City of New York Interpreted"

sweepingly suggests both the architecture of Italian altarpieces and

the jeweled effect of stained glass. Sculptor Duane Hanson’s last

work, "Man on a Mower," is a sad, life-like and life-sized

man who holds a can of diet soda as he rides his mower toward mortality.

Toward the end of this walk through American art history — the

part that will change most often as new contemporary art comes along

— came this happy sighting: a hanging wall cabinet by Bucks County’s

master woodworker, George Nakashima (U.S. 1, May 3, 2000).

Two of the exhibition’s many surprises are the marble busts by Edmonia

Lewis (born 1843), the earliest known "woman sculptor" of

Native American and African-American heritage. Hers is a new name

to conjure with. Which suggests still another word that applies to

the Newark Museum: "surprising." That it certainly is, and

very pleasantly so.

— Pat Summers

The Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark, 973-596-6550.

Website: www.NewarkMuseum.org. Open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5

p.m.; Thursday till 8:30 p.m. Admission free. Opening reception for

Princeton Artists Alliance `Odyssey’ show is Sunday, September

8, 2 to 4 p.m.

Wheelchair-accessible facilities with elevators to all floors.

Attended parking available. To reach the Newark Museum by public transportation

from the Princeton area, take New Jersey Transit to Newark’s Penn

Station, and from there you can take a No. 76 bus, a cab, or walk.

(The city’s free shuttle bus to cultural sites runs only for evening

performances and special events.)

Top Of Page
Art in Town

Marsha Child Contemporary, 220 Alexander Street, 609-497-7330.

Summer group exhibition of paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints.

Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Historical Society of Princeton, Bainbridge House, 158

Nassau Street, 609-921-6748. "From Tow Path to Bike Path: Princeton

and the Delaware and Raritan Canal," an exhibition that looks

at the history and creation of the canal, the life of death of its

workers, and more recent environmental and preservation issues. Open

Tuesday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Show runs to March, 2003.

SweeTree Gallery, 286 Alexander Street, 609-934-8665.

Art of the Caribbean diaspora. Gallery hours Friday and Saturday,

1 to 6 pm, and "by chance or by appointment."

Triumph Brewing Company, 138 Nassau Street, 609-924-7855.

Jazz and celebrity paintings by James Lucas of Cranbury. To September

8.

Williams Gallery, 6 Olden Lane, 609-921-1142. "A Far

Eastern Perspective: Windows to a Vibrant Culture II," a show

featuring contemporary prints from Japan by Susumu Endo, Yoshikatsu

Tamekane, Reiko Fujinami, and Hamanishi Katsunori. Open Friday, Saturday,

and Sunday, from 1 to 7 p.m. To August 23.

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Campus Arts

Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788. "Immortals,

Deities, and Sages in Chinese Painting," to September 1. "Photographs

from the Peter C. Bunnell Collection," to October 27. "Japanese

Woodblock Prints," a 16-print survey from Suzuki Harunobu (1725)

to Hiroshige (1850s), to September 1. "Guardians of the Tomb:

Spirit Beasts in Tang Dynasty China," extended to September 29.

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. www.princetonartmuseum.org.

Firestone Library, Milberg Gallery, Princeton University,

609-258-3184. "Heroic Pastorals: Images of the American Landscape."

Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Celebration," an exhibition

of paintings by Lee Rumsey inspired by music, dance, and photography.

Gallery hours are Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday

2 to 8 p.m. To October 11.

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Route 206,

Lawrenceville, 609-896-5325. Garden State Watercolor Society 33d

annual juried members’ exhibition. Jurors are Joe Frassetta and Donald

W. Patterson. Opening reception and awards ceremony Saturday, September

21, 2 to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sundays

from noon to 4 p.m.; and Saturdays, August 31, and September 14, from

noon to 4 p.m. To September 27.

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Art by the River

80 Big Oak Studio/Gallery, 80 Big Oak Road, Yardley, 215-428-2770.

Studio and gallery of William B. Hogan, watercolors, acrylics, and

bas-reliefs; and wife and fellow-artist Susan W. Hogan, oils, mixed-media,

and ceramics. Open Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ABC Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street,

609-397-0275. Paintings and monoprints by Laura Blasenheim, an artist

who began her career in the arts more than 20 years ago as a partner

in the area furnishings shop "Designing Women." In 1979, an

auto accident left her disabled and she turned to drawing and painting

as part of her therapy. Now she offers a vision of the world that

is both vibrant and moving. 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

September 27.

Artists’ Gallery, 32 Coryell Street, Lambertville, 609-397-4588.

"Fruit, Butterflies and Reptiles," oil paintings by John Murdoch

and James Freeman. Murdoch is a graduate of the American Academy of

Art in Chicago; Freeman graduated from the Savannah College of Art

and Design. Gallery hours are Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 a.m.

to 6 p.m. To September 1.

Belle’s Tavern, 183 North Union Street, Lambertville,

609-397-2226. Solo exhibition of watercolors by Yardley artist Jo-Anne

Osnoe.

Coryell Gallery, 8 Coryell Street, Lambertville, 609-397-0804.

Annual summer group show by more than a dozen artists that highlights

works by the nationally-recognized Trenton-born artist and muralist

Charles William Ward (1900-1962). Open Wednesday to Sunday, noon to

5 p.m. To September 8.

Greene and Greene Gallery, 32 Bridge Street, Lambertville,

609-397-7774. Ninth annual Discoveries Exhibition featuring 100 limited

edition and individual jewelry pieces in gold, sterling, and fine

metals with precious and semi-precious stones and gems. Artists include

Karen Bachmann, Sarah Mann, Donna D’Aquino, Margaret Ellis, and Debra

Lynn Gold. Open Monday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday,

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. To September 2.

In Rare Form Gallery, 14 Church Street, Lambertville,

609-397-1006. Paintings by Ed Adams and ceramics by Reinaldo Sanguino.

Thursday through Monday, noon to 5 p.m. To August 31.

Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown,

908-996-1470. "Abstractions and Reflections," a show by area

artists including Ed Baumlin, W. Carl Burger, Sonya Kuhfahl, Nadine

and Nancy Synnestvedt, and Barbara White. Wednesday & Thursday, 11

a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, noon

to 5 p.m. To September 18.

Premier Fine Art Gallery, 200 Union Square Drive, New

Hope, 215-862-2112. "The Early Paintings" by Gordon Haas,

an exhibit of 40 paintings with subject matter ranging from harness

racing and wildlife to landscape and city scenes.

Tin Man Alley, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope, 215-862-1110.

"Gods and Guerrillas," a show of new paintings by Ron English,

Dalek, and Lisa Petrucci. Thursday through Monday, noon to 7 p.m.

To September 30.

Top Of Page
Area Museums

American Hungarian Foundation Museum, 300 Somerset Street,

New Brunswick, 732-846-5777. "From the Old World to the New World,"

an exhibit of recent additions to the museum collection featuring

works by nine Hungarian Americans, all of whom emigrated to the U.S.

between 1920 and 1957. Artists are Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Bertha and

Elena De Hellenbranth, Sandor Sugor, Emil Kelemen, Willy Pogany, Tibor

Gergely, Zoltan Poharnok, and Vicent Korda; to April, 2003. Museum

hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to

4 p.m. $5 donation.

Cornelius Low House Museum, 1225 River Road, Piscataway,

732-745-4177. "Uncommon Clay: New Jersey’s Architectural Terra

Cotta Industry," an exhibition of artifacts and written and oral

histories of New Jersey’s once booming architectural ceramics industry.

Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. On view

to May 30, 2003.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632.

TAWA Invitational II selected by Donna Gustafson of the Hunterdon

Museum of Art. Selected artists are Rob Greco, Frances Heinrich, Loring

Hughes, Joy Kreves, and Terry Rosiak. Tuesday through Saturday, 11

a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To September 15.

Hunterdon Museum of Art, Lower Center Street, Clinton,

908-735-8415. "Post-Systemic Art," an exploration of current

trends in geometric abstraction. Also, "Meghan Wood: Recent Sculpture,"

constructions in fabric, buttons, and thread. Open Tuesday to Sunday,

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To September 15.

Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," the seminal

1930s collaboration by writer James Agee and photographer Walker Evans.

Show features 76 Evans photographs, prose from Agee, along with letters

and notebooks documenting their process. Admission $10 adult; $7 students.

Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday,

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m. To October 13.

Also "Michael A. Smith: Landscapes," an exhibition of 13 works

from the recent acquisition of 40 prints by the self-taught Bucks

County photographer, to October 6.

New Jersey Museum of Agriculture, College Farm Road and

Route 1, North Brunswick, 732-249-2077. "Barnscapes: The Changing

Face of Agriculture in New Jersey," photographs of New Jersey

barns and farmlands, with 42 images by New Jersey landscape photographer

Louise Rosskam. On view through January 17. $4 adults, $2 children.

New Jersey State Museum, 205 West State Street, Trenton,

609-292-6464. "River of Leisure: Recreation Along the Delaware,"

to November 3. "Cruising Down the Delaware: Natural History You

Can See," an introduction to New Jersey’s natural features by

way of the historic waterway, to November 10. Museum hours are Tuesday

through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Also "American Indians as Artists: The Beginnings of the

State Museum’s Ethnographic Collection," to September 15. "A

Decade of Collecting, Part 1," to January 5. On extended view:

"Art by African-Americans: A Selection from the Collection;"

"New Jersey’s Native Americans: The Archaeological Record";

"Delaware Indians of New Jersey"; "The Sisler Collection

of North American Mammals"; "Of Rock and Fire"; "Neptune’s

Architects"; "The Modernists"; "New Jersey Ceramics,

Silver, Glass and Iron;" "Historical Archaeology of Colonial

New Jersey;" "Painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware."

New Jersey State Museum Cafe Gallery, 205 West State Street,

Trenton, 609-394-9535. Watercolors by Sandra Nusblatt are on display

in the cafe gallery. Born and raised in Trenton, she lives in Lawrenceville.

Commissioned in 1998 to paint a watercolor of Drumthwacket, she enjoys

house and porch scene portraits. Sales benefits New Jersey State Museum.

To September 9.

New Jersey State Museum, Department of State, 225

West State Street, Trenton, 609-292-6464. "A Decade of Collecting,"

works from the museum’s archaeological, ethnographic, and natural

history collections. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., to

January 5, 2003.

Area Galleries

Doral Forrestal, Gratella Restaurant, 100 College Road

East, Plainsboro, 609-452-7800. Solo exhibition or paintings and prints

by Plainsboro resident Donna Senopoulos. Through August 30.

Montgomery Center for the Arts, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. "September 11 Quilts: An exhibition of memorial

art quilts" curated by Drunell Levinson of New York. Gallery hours:

Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. To

September 1.

The Manhattan-based quilt project, founded by Drunell Levinson and

sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, makes a stop at

the center as part of a national tour. The quilt memorial is intended

to provide people from all over the world with a way to mourn the

September 11 tragedies.

Morpeth Gallery, 43 West Broad Street, Hopewell, 609-333-9393.

Summer group show. Open Wednesday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.;

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Parachute Modern Art Gallery, 10 South Pennsylvania Avenue,

Suite 208, Morrisville, 215-295-8444. "The Late George Ivers:

Celebrating His Life in Art," an exhibition of prints, etchings,

and engravings by the Polish-born artist who began work as a designer

for Lenox China in 1950. Art director for Cybis Porcelain until his

retirement in 1986, he died in 2001. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday,

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. To August 31.

Printmaking Council of New Jersey, 440 River Road, North

Branch Station, 908-725-2110. "Food Chain," an international

juried group show that looks at the relationship between food and

survival. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4

p.m.; Saturday, 1 to 4 p.m. Reception is Sunday, September 8 for the

show that runs to September 14.

Top Of Page
Art In Trenton

Extension Gallery, 60 Sculptors Way, Mercerville, 609-890-7777.

"One Woman’s One Man Show," an exhibit of sculpture and photography

by Linda Ogden. Gallery hours are Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4

p.m. To August 29.

Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Summer Exhibition. In the Museum and Domestic Arts Buildings:

Tri-State Sculptors’ Guild, recent work by 35 artists of North Carolina,

South Carolina, and Virginia. New additions outdoors by Walter Dusenbery,

John Henry, Hartmut Stielow, Rhea Zinman, and others. Regular park

admission $4 to $10. To September 29.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., year round; Sunday

is Members Day. Adult admission is $4 Tuesday through Thursday; $7

Friday and Saturday; and $10 Sunday. Individual memberships start

at $55.

Toad Hall Shop & Gallery, 14 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-2366. "The Figure in Bronze," a group show of 40 figurative

sculptures by artists Itzik Benshalom, Bright Bimpong, Noa Bornstein,

Leonda Finke, Gyuri Hollosy, Barbara Lekberg, and others. Store hours

are Tuesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. To September 15.


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