Campus Arts

Art in Town

Area Museums

Art In Trenton

Art in the Workplace

Art by the River

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This article by Nicole Plett

was prepared for the March 20, 2002 edition of

U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Will Christo Finally Play at Home

Washington, D.C., has become the new seat of power

for Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The indefatigable art-making couple,

whose marriage and art partnership is in its fourth decade, gave a

talk last Wednesday, March 13, in conjunction with the first survey

exhibition in the United States at the National Gallery of Art.

The show, which encompasses the entire span of their careers, is on

view in the gallery’s East Building through June 23. "We’ve spent

so many days in Washington over the past six months — you could

say it’s becoming an addiction," the feisty red-haired


told an audience of more than 400.

The survey show primarily features art works and documentary


collected since the early 1970s by Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, who

have gifted the works to the nation. The first time the Vogels visited

Christo and Jeanne-Claude in 1971 (in the same home-studio-gallery

they still occupy in downtown Manhattan), they left without buying.

Yet a friendship ensued and the Vogels acquired their first work,

a collage, in exchange for taking care of the artists’ cat. Gladys,

the artists’ much admired pet, needed good care while they were away

from the city for two months working on their monumental "Valley


The Vogel collection now encompasses an even earlier

"Ur wrapped work," "Package," of 1961. In the exhibit,

this "Package" looks a bit like an ancient relic — a


cloth-wrapped bunch of stuff, obsessively bound in four different

kinds of string and a web of knots that would impress a sailor. The

show also features Christo’s one-of-a-kind scale models of artworks

and his earnest collages that combine lively perspective renderings

of his ideas with maps, diagrams, and material samples.

At the National Gallery, after delivering a breathless, 40-minute

slide tour through their career reminiscent of the one they gave at

Princeton University in 1997, the couple invited questions. "Ask

us anything you like," Jeanne-Claude announced. "But no


about generalities; no questions about other artists."

Over the years, Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s public talks have become

an integral part of their monumental sculptural projects. From the

massive "Wrapped Reichstag, Berlin," to the shimmering


Fence, Sonoma and Marin Counties, California" that still gleams

in memory, this couple’s artworks temporarily change the face of the

landscape while they changed the face of art forever. In place for

just 14 days, their works are soon dismantled, their vast quantities

of materials are recycled, and the land restored to its original


You could say these artworks are one measure inspiration, one measure

persuasion, and at least two more measures of faithfulness, patience,

and organizational genius.

"We make temporary works of art of joy and beauty," says


Yet while California, Florida, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, and


have all marveled at their artworks, no major project has been


in the couple’s adopted home town, Manhattan.

Christo, a stateless refugee from Bulgaria, Jeanne-Claude, raised

in Tunisia by her French parents, and their son Cyril ("our first

collaboration"), set up house in New York City in 1964. Right

away, the artists had in mind wrapping one or two of the skyscrapers

that greeted them when they sailed into the New York harbor. But aside

from Christo’s collage black-and-white photographs that were the


first conceptual blueprint, none was wrapped.

Eventually, the artists proposed "The Gates Project," a work

for Central Park that emphasizes the footpaths and underscores the

organic design of Frederick Law Olmsted’s plan. In this project,


saffron-colored fabric will be suspended from 15-foot steel gates

along the park’s pathways to form a 26-mile golden passage.

"New York City is one of the most walking cities in the


says Christo. "The only place where people in Manhattan walk for

leisure is in the park. We tried to design structures that will


that simple act of walking."

Central Park is an entirely man-made oasis, a rectangular swathe of

the city, surrounded on four sides by massive buildings, that has

been called Manhattan’s lung. Olmsted’s picturesque landscape design

is rife with Victorian ceremony.

"People enter Central Park in a ceremonial way. It is surrounded

by a stone wall, and there are many entrances, each called a gate,

named by the designers. There is the `Gate of the Children,’ the `Gate

of the Immigrants,’ the `Gate of the Artists’ — they all have

names," says Christo. "`The Gates’ is a very ceremonial


a festive project."

"Fabric moves very whimsically, very sensually," he continues.

"When there is no wind, you can almost touch the fabric with your

hand. But when the wind starts, then the fabric panels start flowing

towards the next gate. When the wind is blowing strongly and the


is extended upwards towards the next gate, walking beneath it is like

walking beneath a floating, flowing, capricious canopy."

Beginning in 1979, the artists worked on obtaining the

necessary permission for a two-week installation of "The


in early autumn. Their meetings with community boards, the Parks


the Landmarks Commission, and city officials of the Ed Koch


went on for three years. In 1980, a year after the project was


a new bureaucracy came into existence, the Central Park Conservancy,

a virtual trustee for the park. In 1981 the project was refused by

the then-powers-that-be, but the artists have not been deterred.

"`Wrapped Reichstag’ in Berlin took us 24 years," says


"The project was turned down three times. It’s not new for us

that this project was turned down."

The artists persevered with their dream and meetings on "The


began again in 1996. This time, as Jeanne-Claude told her Washington

audience, a new member of the board was present at their meetings,

one who took great interest in their work and their proposal.

"He was not an art collector, but a wealthy man who became a big

supporter. He was really excited about our work and he tried and


in changing the minds of some of the conservative board members,"

said Jeanne-Claude.

"Then last fall something marvelous happened. This man was elected

mayor of New York City."

With Michael Bloomberg in their corner, the golden glimmer of Christo

and Jeanne-Claude’s "Gates" may have just got a little


— Nicole Plett

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Campus Arts

Princeton University Art Museum, 609-258-3788.


Van Dyck: `Ecce Homo’ and `The Mocking of Christ.’" Also, "In

the Mirror of Christ’s Passion: Images from Princeton University


Both shows to June 9. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5

p.m.; Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free tours of the collection every Saturday

at 2 p.m.

Also "New German Photography" to March 24. "Anxious


Surveillance in Contemporary Cultural Practice," to April 1.


to Kollwitz: German Art in the Age of Expressionism," to June

9. "Guardians of the Tomb: Spirit Beasts in Tang Dynasty


to August 31.

Firestone Library, Milberg Gallery, Princeton University,

609-258-3184. "Not for Myself Alone: A Celebration of


Writers," the Leonard L. Milberg ’53 Collection of Jewish-American

Writers that ranges from the early 19th century to the present day

and includes Yiddish-language writers as well as writers in English.

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

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To April 21.

Princeton Theological Seminary, Erdman Hall Gallery, 20

Library Place, 609-497-7990. "Meeting Stone," an exhibition

of sculpture by Caroline Fenn. Open Monday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m.

to 4:30 p.m.; Sunday 2 to 8 p.m. To April 12.

College of New Jersey, Art Gallery, Holman Hall, Ewing,

609-771-2198. "The Ancient House," an exhibition that


the grandeur of ancient Greek and Roman homes with actual and


ancient artifacts from the collections of the Princeton, Glencairn,

Newark, and University of Pennsylvania. Open Monday through Friday,

noon to 3 p.m.; Thursday 7 to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 1 to 3 p.m. To April


Gallery at Mercer County College, Communications Center,

West Windsor, 609-586-4800, ext. 3589. "Mercer County Artists

2002," the annual juried show of works by Mercer County artists

selected by John Franklin of the Johnson Atelier. Gallery hours


to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Wednesday 6 to 8 p.m.; Thursday 7

to 9 p.m. To April 4.

Rider University Art Gallery, Student Center, Route 206,

Lawrenceville, 609-896-5168. "Moments of Vision," an


of the still-lifes of New Jersey artist Adolf Konrad. Known as the

painter laureate of Newark, Konrad was born in Germany in 1915,


at age 10, and studied at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial

Arts. Artist’s talk Thursday, April 11.

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Art in Town

Numina Gallery, Princeton High School, Moore Street,


ext. 3170. "Photographic Memoirs: The Public Schools of


an exhibition curated by Liz Lien, featuring photographs of teachers

and students in the Princeton Regional School System from 1883 to

1948. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday, 3 to 5 p.m.; and by


from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Medical Center at Princeton, 253 Witherspoon Street,


In the dining room, landscapes by Donna Senopoulos of the American

Watercolor Society. Part of proceeds benefit the Medical Center. On

view daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. To May 15.

Pringle International Art, 30 Nassau Street, 609-921-9292.

"The Colorists," paintings and drawings by contemporary


Caroline Bailey, Marj Bond, Herb Murrie, and Charles MacQueen. Gallery

is open Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To March 30.

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Area Museums

Hunterdon Museum of Art, Lower Center Street, Clinton,

908-735-8415. "Jim Toia: Groundwork" and "Peter Arakawa:

Recent Work." Museum hours are Tuesday to Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5

p.m. To April 28.

Michener Art Museum, 138 South Pine Street, Doylestown,

215-340-9800. "Roy C. Nuse: Figures and Landscapes," an


of works by the influential Bucks County artist and teacher (1885

to 1975) who trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; to

May 12. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday &


10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings to 9 p.m. $6.

Middlesex County Cultural Commission, 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. Free.

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Art In Trenton

Artworks, 19 Everett Alley, Trenton, 609-394-9436.


an exhibition of art work from third, fourth, and fifth graders in

the Learning Through Art Education outreach program. Conducted with

the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, it brings area artists and

classroom teachers together to reinforce core curriculum concepts

through visual arts. The children’s work will go to the Guggenheim

for exhibit later in the school year. Monday through Friday 10 a.m.

to 5 p.m. To April 5.

Capital Health System, Mercer Campus, 446 Bellevue Avenue,

Trenton, 609-394-4000. Garden State Watercolor Society Members Juried

Exhibit 2002. Jurors are watercolorist Denise DeNault Croft and Mary

Chandor, National Gallery of Art, Ontario, Canada. In the main lobby,

open daily, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. To April 18.

Ellarslie, Trenton City Museum, Cadwalader Park,


A shared exhibition by painter Tomi Urayama and sculptor by Gyuri

Hollosy. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.;

Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To April 14.

Extension Gallery, 60 Sculptors Way, Mercerville,


"Reformed Relics," paintings, drawings, and assemblage


by Deborah Sawyer. Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. To March


Grounds for Sculpture, 18 Fairgrounds Road, Hamilton,

609-586-0616. Fall/Winter Exhibition. 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


To March 24.

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

609-292-6464. "Images of Americans on the Silver Screen,"

to April 14; "Jacob Landau: A Memorial" to May 5; "Women’s

Works: Fine Art from the Museum’s Collection," March 22 to May

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


to August 18; "American Indians as Artists: The Beginnings of

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

Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday

noon to 5 p.m. Website:

9.11 NJ: Response and Reflection, New Jersey State

Museum , Department of State Galleries, 225 West State Street,


609-292-6464. The Memory Wall from Liberty State Park provides the

central focus of this immediate and moving tribute to those lost at

the World Trade Center on September 11. Department of State galleries

are open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Sunday noon

to 5 p.m. To May 12.

Area Galleries

Gallery 14, 14 Mercer Street, Hopewell, 609-333-8511.

"Red Skies, Yellow Trains and Blue Bottles," an exhibit of

hand-painted double exposure prints by Rhoda Kassof-Isaac. Also


of Two Shores," coastal landscapes of the Maine and Hampton


by E.J. Greenblat. Gallery hours are Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and

Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. To March 31.

Montgomery Center for the Arts, 1860 House, 124 Montgomery

Road, 609-921-3272. "Images in Motion," an exhibit of


from the Trenton Educational Dance Institute, the dance project for

inner city youth. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to

3 p.m.; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. To March 29.

Photography by Sherry Rubel, 4454 Route 27, Kingston,

609-924-6055. "The City Speaks," photographs by Coleen Marks

including a series of 16 images of American flags taken in Manhattan

on November 9. Artist talk is Sunday, March 24, at 2 p.m. Exhibit

open Sundays, from 1 to 4 p.m. To April 5.

Top Of Page
Art in the Workplace

Johnson & Johnson, Education and Conference Center, 410

Geore Street, New Brunswick, 732-524-6957. "The Fabric of Jazz:

A Tribute to the Genius of American Music" by Lauren Camp, fabric

artist. By appointment. To April 20.

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Art by the River

Louisa Melrose Gallery, 41 Bridge Street, Frenchtown,

908-996-1470. "Paintings from Here and There" by Trenton


Marge Chavooshian. Gallery is open Wednesday & Thursday, 11 a.m. to

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

To March 31.

Tin Man Alley, 12 West Mechanic Street, New Hope,


"Bull’s Eye," a group show of work by six emerging artists:

Dave Cooper, Jim Houser, Scott Lenhardt, Jeff Soto, Jonathan Weiner,

and Patrick Williams. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday, 11

a.m. to 6 p.m. To March 31.

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