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This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the
September 8, 2004 issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
The Flea Market as an Exercise in Critical Thinking
Can a flea market be a metaphor for life in the 21st century? Artist
Frances Heinrich makes a good case that it can be in her new
conceptual art installation, "Buyer Beware: A Conceptual Flea Market."
The show, at the Arts Council of Princeton, has its opening on Friday,
"My husband and I have been going to flea markets forever," says
Heinrich. "I’m totally addicted to them. They’re just this vast
unfinished work of art." In addition to art, of course, flea markets
are commerce. At the heart of Heinrich’s mixed media installation is a
bride, dressed in black and with working TV heart, overseeing the mix.
She represents the "merchant" now incessantly present and vocal in
many forms. She serves as silent stand-in for a cacophony of media
images and voices.
"She is the merchant at the center of all of our lives," says
Heinrich. "We’re constantly being sold – by commercials, by
politicians. We have so much information. We can’t escape it." The
flow comes in 24/7 from television, books, magazines, billboards, the
car radio. An educated, inquisitive woman, Heinrich says she is
finding it difficult to determine just what is true. "I’m increasingly
cynical and skeptical," she says. And it’s not just the spoken word,
or the inflated sales pitch that is suspect. "You can’t even trust
images anymore," she points out. With Photoshop, models hips are even
slimmer, blemishes are erased – or enhanced. "You can’t trust what you
see," she says. "You don’t know what is real."
As we go through life each day, we are immersed in a virtual
marketplace, urged to buy everything from school supplies to political
agendas to an ideal of beauty – often without even realizing that we
are being sold.
The buying process becomes much more clear cut at a flea market. "In a
flea market you’re on your own," says Heinrich. "You have only a few
minutes to decide. Some merchants are honest, and some are not." In
describing her show, she says that flea markets are great equalizers.
They are object lessons in assigned value and in our capitalist
tendency to commodify everything. Something in the dirt, without the
hype of marketing and its original price tag, must stand alone.
An object can go either way. Flea markets are vast visual tapestries
of anachronism and object obsolescence, she says. They are sometimes
living, breathing portraits of people’s lives seen through the
accumulation of their possessions. Time changes the appeal and value
of things, and some decades have more cachet than others. A good flea
market is full of surprises – a chaotic visual puzzle of heaps and
piles from which the "right" pieces beg to be plucked and stolen away.
We cherish our trophies and give them new life.
Many of the objects in Heinrich’s show, which, in addition to the flea
market, includes a wall of related 2D works in graphite and mixed
media, and a large container of "free truths" for viewers to take
away, come from flea markets she has visited around the world. Others
were created specifically for this show.
Heinrich has unusually rich opportunities to browse in flea markets.
Her husband, Guy Heinrich, owned a recording studio in Manhattan. "He
recorded everyone," says his wife, mentioning Burt Bachrach and the
Rolling Stones. Upon selling his business, Heinrich has had a single
obsession. "He’s either traveling or thinking about traveling," says
Frances Heinrich. His eager travel companion, she has been
"everywhere." Well, maybe not some of the most obscure places, she
adds, but nearly everywhere. Shortly after her show opens she’s off
for on a river trip in the Ukraine.
While she has traveled widely, Heinrich’s home base has always been in
New Jersey. She grew up in Rutherford, and lived in East Brunswick
before moving to Princeton eight years ago. She holds a master’s
degree in art history from Columbia, but it is her undergraduate years
at Douglass that appear to have formed her as an artist.
"I was very fortunate," she says. "While I was at Douglass, Roy
Lichtenstein, Robert Watts, and Geoffrey Hendricks were there. George
Segal was a graduate student. He was in my sculpture class." Segal,
she confides, was not too happy. "He had other ideas," she says. The
main current of her fellow artists, in fact, was somewhat against the
grain. "It was quite an interesting moment at Rutgers," she says.
"Their collective inventiveness totally affected me."
Heinrich, who is also a performance artist and an independent curator,
has exhibited at the Newark Museum, the Noyes Museum, the Monmouth
Museum, the Grounds for Sculpture, the Gallery at Bristol-Myers
Squibb, the Borowsky Gallery in Philadelphia, Hebrew Union College
Museum in New York City, and New Century Artists Gallery in Chelsea,
also in New York City. She has had a studio in Princeton for two years
and teaches classes, both to individual and to groups, including
Princeton Adult School classes.
For her current show, Heinrich says that no material or technique is
off limits. She uses whatever it takes to achieve desired results –
plaster and resin life casting, stained glass work, photo transfer,
illumination, and even working silent TVs and a silent turntable. Yet
value is assigned and truths are subjective and willed.
At the base of all of her other materials is one fixed medium – ideas.
She hopes that visitors will take away at least one with them: Buyer
beware the unexamined opinion.
– Kathleen McGinn Spring
show by Frances Heinrich at the Arts Council of Princeton; through
September 30, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, and Saturday, 10
a.m. through 5 p.m. Opening reception, September 10, at 6 p.m.
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.
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
Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20 Library Place,
609-497-7990. "Heather Pool Royal’s exhibit "Dialogues." Her paintings
are about how ideas, dialogues, space, and time intersect and collide
with one another. Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday
2:30 to 9 p.m. To October 15.
Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788. "Nineteenth Century
Photographs from the Museum Collection," a survey of signature works
by Anna Atkins, Edouard Baldus, Francis Frith, Henry Peach Robinson,
and Carlton Watkins. Through October 24.
University Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,
609-497-4000. An exhibit of works by Monroe Township artist Judith
Stein. An art educator for 35 years, she uses oil, watercolor,
acrylic, and mixed media. Part of the proceeds benefit the medical
center. Gallery is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. On view to September
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. Gallery is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Grounds For Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton, 609-586-0616.
Urban Horizons features paintings by Philadelphia artist Charlotte
Schatz and sculpture by Janet Indick. Both represent their personal
interpretation of industrial representation. Tuesday to Sunday, 11:30
a.m. to 6 p.m. In the Toad Hall Shop and Gallery through September 26.
Montgomery Center for the Arts, 124 Montgomery Road, Skillman,
609-921-3272. 35th Annual Garden State Watercolor Society. Gallery
hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4
p.m. Show continues to September 26.
Peggy Lewis Gallery, Lambertville Public Library, 6 Lilly Street,
609-397-0275. Gretchen Altabef’s exhibit featuring photographs she
took at the largest memorial assembled after 911 in Union Square.
Searching for peace three weeks after 911, she was greeted with
handmade signs and memorials. 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 November 9.
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.
Wheaton Village, 1501 Glasstown Road, Millville, 856-825-6800. Native
to Neo: Mexican Folk Arts from Oaxaca is a 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.
Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788. Medieval, Renaissance,
and baroque galleries reopened on August 20. The museum’s 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.
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
E.M. Adams Gallery, 440 Union Square Drive, New Hope, 215-862-5667.
New paintings by owner Ed Adams, a licensed psychologist in
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
nationally and internationally recognized artists and an outdoor show
of seven large-scale works installed throughout the town. Through
Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown, 908-996-1470.
Exhibit featuring urban scapes by artists Frank Federico, Marilyn
Halls, Claire Paisner, and John Reilly. Open Tuesday through Sunday,
11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Through September 30.
Coryell Gallery, 8 Coryell Street, Lambertville, 609-397-0804. Annual
summer group show of watercolors, acrylics, oils, pastels, and prints.
Featured artists include Joanne Augustine, Albert Bross, Marge
Chavooshian, Tom Chesar, Mike Filipiak, Elizabeth Ruggles, Lucy
McVicker, Robert Sakson, with pottery by Katherine Hackl and Ann
Tsubota. Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. On view to September 25.
Triumph Brewing Company, 400 Union Square, New Hope, 215-862-8300.
Catherine DeChico’s show, "Jersey Girls." She presents both her
intensely colorful paintings and evocative black and white photographs
of bathers at the Jersey Shore. Through September 12.
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.
Barron Arts Center, 582 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge, 732-634-0413. "The
Best of Life," the annual exhibition of life drawings, paintings, and
sculpture by the members of the arts center’s life drawing program.
Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays, 2
to 4 p.m. Closed Saturdays and holidays.On view through September 12.
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.
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. 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. $6.50; $4 students. www.michenerartmuseum.org.
Also on display are 10 pieces of sculpture by Connecticut-based artist
David Hayes in the outdoor sculpture area. Most are large
multi-colored works of painted steel. Through October 1.
Also on exhibit is an exhibition of works by Sandy Sorlien,
"Photographs from Fifty Houses," a selection of photographs from her
2002 book, "Fifty Houses: Images from the American Road." Sorlien
appears for a lecture and book signing on Wednesday, September 22, 7
p.m. Through October 3.
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 students
drawings, landscapes painted in France, and some pieces never before
on public view. Through January 9, 2005.
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 709-721 Catharine Street, Philadelphia,
215-922-3456. Four-part Challenge Series. Exhibit features the works
of Steve Cope, Veleta Vancza, and Sarah Zwerling. Through October 6.
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