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This article by Flora Davis was prepared for the June 16, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Roadside Double Takes
On a grassy bank, a massive tooth balances gracefully on its roots. Standing guard in a field is a white knight on horseback; he’s 45 feet high to the tips of the wings that soar upward from his shoulders.
These enormous sculptures loom on the verges of roads in Hamilton and around the perimeter of the Hamilton Rail Station. They are outriders from Grounds For Sculpture — signs that you are getting close to Hamilton’s 35-acre sculpture park. Most of the time people drive right by them with no idea who the sculptor is, what the piece is called, or why it’s significant.
On Friday, June 25, Grounds will offer visitors a chance to fill in the blanks with three docent-led, hour-long, trolley tours of the works of art that have been placed outside the park in the community. The trolley has no overhead wire and normally carries passengers on tours of historic Philadelphia. It will depart from Grounds at 4:30, 5:30 and 6:30 pm.
Grounds For Sculpture, created by sculptor and philanthropist J. Seward Johnson Jr., opened in 1992 on the site of the old New Jersey State Fairgrounds. More than 200 pieces by over 100 artists are displayed throughout park, and last year 80,000 visitors came to see them. The land has been deliberately contoured into hills and valleys so that it constantly surprises: you never know, as you turn a corner or top a gentle hill, what will leap into view. Landscape and sculpture work together in eye-filling — and sometimes startling ways.
For instance, just off a path, sheltered within a real copse of trees beside a real pond is what looks like a real picnic in progress: two well-dressed men and a nude woman relax with their repast while another woman wades in the pond. This is Seward Johnson’s re-interpretation in painted bronze of Edouard Manet’s painting, “Dejeuner sur l’Herbe.” Johnson is known for life-size tableaux that re-imagine Impressionist masterworks in three dimensions.
By contrast, most the pieces chosen for the Sculpture Along the Way program that the trolley will tour are monumental in scale. Aylin Green, education and volunteer services manager at Grounds, explains that they need to be large because they’re sited in open spaces or in front of office buildings where smaller sculptures might look lost. Since the program began in 1999, many local businesses have contacted Grounds, eager to have one of its works of art on their property. Grounds consults with them and with Hamilton Township in placing pieces.
The trolley tour will visit most of the 22 roadside and train-side sculptures in Hamilton, including one piece by Seward Johnson himself, which frequently causes passersby to do a double-take. Planted in the middle of a sidewalk, it’s a lifelike depiction of a father hovering protectively as his daughter takes her first bicycle ride. “People love to put hats or scarves on them in winter,” Aylin Green says. Johnson is known for sculptures of ordinary people doing ordinary things, as well as for his Impressionist tableaux. It’s a surprise to learn that “The Tooth” on Klockner Road is also his. Made of cast aluminum, this giant molar is 19 feet high.
The tour also visits “Spirit of Freedom,” the winged white knight. Created by Andrzej Pitynski, it depicts a Polish freedom fighter on horseback. The sculptor was born in Poland and his family fought back when Communists took over the country after World War II. You can “meet” Pityinski himself back in the sculpture park in a work by Seward Johnson. In translating Pierre Auguste Renoir’s “The Luncheon of the Boating Party” into three-dimensions, Johnson slyly added four figures to the convivial gathering, including Pitynski and himself. The title of the piece is “Were You Invited?”
Some of the roadside art works on the trolley tours are figurative, like the white knight, and some are abstract. For instance, “Rebirth,” sited on East State Street, uses industrial material — steel I-beams — to create an image as organic as tall grass. The huge, reddish beams, which have been sheered off, bent or folded, seem to spring up out of the ground. The artist is Steve Tobin.
A number of sculptures are scattered around the Hamilton Rail Station, to the bemusement of people passing through on trains. The trolley will visit them, too. They include a giant, rough-hewn, plaster-and-steel railroad worker by Joseph Menna and two colossal metal men, nonchalantly shaking hands. These graceful, long-legged creatures, created by William King, are so flat that they’re almost one-dimensional.
— Flora Davis
Grounds For Sculpture Trolley Tours, Friday, June 25, at 4:30, 5:30, and 6:30 p.m. For adults only. Tickets: $12, including light refreshments, wine, and beer before and after each tour. Call 609-586-0616, extension 20, to reserve a space.
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. Reception Sunday, June 27, 2 to 4 p.m. 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.
Memories: Past or Present, Artsbridge Gallery, 243 North Union Street, Lambertville, 609-773-0881. Juried show by Barry Snyder includes mixed media, drawings, paintings, collage, sculpture, and photography. This is the final Artsbridge show in the current gallery. Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday, from noon to 6 p.m. The show runs through June 27.
Jesse Thompson, Extension Gallery, 60 Sculptors Way, Mercerville, 609-890-7777. “The Olive Tree of Life,” a show of recent works of sculpture and painting by Jesse Thompson. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Through July 2.
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.
Father’s Day Foto Fair, 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.
Sandra Nusblatt, Hopewell Frame Shop Gallery 2, 24 West Broad Street, 609-466-0817. Show by Sandra Nusblatt, “Capturing the Light,” features a collection that captures Tuscany, Venice, and Portofino, in Italy, as well as nearby New Jersey towns and Philadelphia. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Through June 26.
Princeton University Art Museum, McCosh 50, 609-258-3788. “Imperial Portraits by Van Meytens the Younger and Roslin” features newly acquired portraits of Tsarovich Paul, Maria Feodorovna, and empress Maria Theresa of the Holy Roman Empire. 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. On view to July 11.
Also: “Useful Forms: Furniture by Charlotte Perriand,” an exhibit featuring six pieces of the French designer’s furniture from the 1940s to the 1960s. French designer Charlotte Perriand is frequently named as one of the most important but overlooked modernist designers of the 20th century. The show offers a rare opportunity to view a selection of Perriand’s mid-century furniture designs. Although Perriand has been the subject of major exhibitions in both France and England, she has received virtually no exposure in American museums, and remains underrepresented in American museum collections.
The Princeton exhibition is only the second in the United States to focus on her work, and the first to concentrate exclusively on Perriand’s mid-century designs created during the two decades following her employment in the studio of the architect Le Corbusier. To July 11.
On Their Own, Mason Gross Galleries, Civic Square, 33 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick, 732-932-2222. Multi-ethnic exhibition, “On Their Own: The Legacy and Influence of Arts and educators from New Jersey’s Multiple Ethnic and Racial Communities. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and by appointment. Through June 20.
Lynda Juel, Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20 Library Place, 609-497-7990. “There is a Season: Reflections II.” Lynda Juel, a sculptor focusing on the world in which women live and create, lives in Princeton. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2:30 to 9 p.m. On view to July 2.
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.
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.
Highlights in Contemporary Glass Art, Gallery at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Route 206, Lawenceville, 609-252-6275. Group exhibition highlighting the work of 22 national and international contemporary glass makers. Open Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; weekends, 1 to 5 p.m. Closed on Sunday, July 4; Monday, July 5; Saturday and Sunday, June 26 and 27. Through July 11.
Art Show and Sale, Pennington Computer School, 102 West Franklin Avenue, Pennington, 609-730-0746. Art exhibit by Alisha Hastings-Kinball with sculptures of vases with hand-sculpted faces and features. Sharing the show is David Mraovitch with oil paintings. Through June 18.
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.
E.M. Adams Gallery, 440 Union Square Drive, New Hope, 215-862-5667. New paintings by owner Ed Adams, who is also a licensed psychologist with a private practice in Somerville. Adams also leads the support group, Men Mentoring Men.
Reflections, Atelier Gallery, 108 Harrison Street, Frenchtown, 908-996-9992. An exhibit of recent works by Robert MaGaw. Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Show runs to June 21.
The Socrates Series, Paintings by John Goodyear, Gallery of Fine Art, 201 South State Street, Newtown, 215-579-0050. “The Socrates Series, Painting by John Goodyear.” A Lambertville resident, Goodyear is an artist and sculptor. He was a professor of art at Rutgers University for 33 years. Open Wednesday & Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. Exhibit through June 27.
Bold Expressions, Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown, 908-996-1470. Exhibit by artists Gay Billich and Carol A. Staub. Open daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through July 15.
Sunday Afternoons, Papier Sun Art Gallery, 39 North Main Street, Lambertville, 609-397-9022. Artist Myles Cavanaugh’s new exhibit of paintings, “Sunday Afternoons,” featuring family and area landscape. Open Friday to Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. Show through June 30.
New Hope Arts, Union Square, West Bridge Street and Union Square Drive, New Hope, 215-862-3396. Second annual New Hope Sculpture Exhibition featuring and indoor exhibition of more than 88 works by 43 nationally and internationally recognized artists and an outdoor show of seven large-scale works installed throughout the town. Through April, 2005.
Ignite!, Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436. Ignite!, an exhibition of new artworks from 18 contemporary artists. Through June 21.
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.
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.
Ricardo Barros, Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park, 609-989-3632. Exhibition “Facing Sculpture” on view through June 26. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sundays, 1 to 4 p.m.
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.
Photography Exhibit, Princeton Photography Club, Montgomery Center for the Arts, 124 Montgomery Road, Skillman, 609-497-9288. Annual show representing photographs in black-and-white, digital, and color featuring still life, landscapes, and portraits. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.Through July 25.
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 exhibit is “Mexican Folk Retablos: Images of Devotion,” an exhibit of painting on religious subject matter on tinplate inspired by religious imagery in churches and prints of saints. $12. Show runs to July 11.
Also, “Edward W. Redfield: Just Values and Fine Settings,” an exhibition of over 50 works created by the 20th century Pennsylvania impressionist. The exhibit features works from early student drawings. Through January 9, 2005.
Special events in conjunction with the show include lectures on Tuesdays, June 22 and 29, from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Ann and Herman Silverman Pavilion in Doylestown. Series, $20.
Studio Tours and Arts Fair, South Brunswick Arts Commission, Wetherill Historic Site, 269 Georges Road, South Brunswick, 732-524-3350. Exhibit of artists Stephanie Barbetti, Marcel Franquelin, Colleen Marks, Maxwell Nimeck, and Sherry and Harry Rubel. The exhibit continues weekends through June 27.
immerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, George and Hamilton streets, New Brunswick, 732-932-7237. “Soviet Propaganda Posters,” to July 6. 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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