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Saturday, 3 March 2018
Prints Showcase Vital Artistic Exchange between Mexico and United States Now on View at Zimmerli Art Museum




Prints Showcase Vital Artistic Exchange between Mexico and United States

Now on View at Zimmerli Art Museum


Current media coverage of Mexican-American relations tends to focus on contentious – if not outright hostile – political rifts. However, during the 1930s and 1940s, artists captured the world’s imagination by portraying Mexico as a leading cultural destination, home to an internationally renowned muralist movement and a vibrant printmaking community. The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers focuses on this critical juncture in art history with Impressions: Prints of Mexico, 1930s-40s / Impresiones: Estampas de México, 1930s-40s, featuring 37 prints by Mexican, American, and European artists who promoted a romantic and idealized country during an era of radical change, which has shaped an enduring vision of Mexico in the American imagination. On March 6, Art After Hours: First Tuesdays celebrates Impressions / Impresiones with an evening of free programs: curator-led tours in English and Spanish; interactive activities presented by Rutgers-New Brunswick Mexican-American Student Association and Rutgers Bachata Club; and music by DJ RataPrincess. Details are available at bit.ly/ArtAfterHourZTues. The exhibition, primarily drawn from the Zimmerli’s extensive collection of works on paper with additional loans, runs through July 29, 2018. Most of the works are on view for the first time, with all of the wall texts and labels in both English and Spanish.


“This exhibition takes a broad, transnational approach to consider the transmission of art between Mexico and the United States during the early 20th century,” notes Nicole Simpson, the Zimmerli’s Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings. “It demonstrates how traditions from the neighboring countries have contributed to the multifaceted definition of what is deemed ‘Mexican’ art.”


In the years following its Revolution (1910–20), Mexico became a leading art center, driven by the work of the Trés Grandes muralists (Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiro) and a tradition of printmaking across the country. Artists from around the world visited Mexico, studying and working with local masters to depict their own impressions of the country’s history, traditions, and people. They created pictures of an attractive, charming, even exotic, Mexico; an image that was eagerly consumed by American audiences.


Although residents of the United States expressed an avid interest in visual depictions of Mexico, the two countries experienced a complicated and intertwined relationship. Both nations faced large-scale recovery efforts – the former from the Great Depression and the latter from the Revolution – and later served as Allies in the Second World War. However, during the late 1920s and early 1930s, the United States government oversaw a repatriation of more than one million people of Mexican descent. While the event is largely overlooked by history books, the biases it generated remain prevalent in political rhetoric.


This exhibition focuses on the important role that prints played during the 1930s and 1940s in perpetuating the idea of Mexico as a country steeped in tradition. Stylistically, these prints range from socio-realist, documentary views, to works that draw upon the ancient forms of Mesoamerican art, as well as forward looking subjects that incorporate modernist compositions and Cubist-inspired shapes. This exhibition is divided into three sections that reflect internal and external perspectives of a rich cultural heritage.


“Everyday Mexico” considers how artists, the majority of them tourists from outside the country, depicted the markets, street vendors, and local populations. Women of Oaxaca (1940) by Canadian artist Henrietta Shore is an abstract, rhythmic composition of women carrying water jugs that turns a mundane task into a beautiful, evocative scene. The American Howard Norton Cook’s Taxco Market (1932-33) meticulously details the produce and vendors of an open-air market. American artist Olin Dows also captured traditional craft in the woodcut The Mat Sellers (1933), but with a crisp, modernist rendering.


The section “Jean Charlot” focuses on the French artist and historian who researched and reinterpreted Mexican art and history. His color lithograph Malinche from the 1933 series Picture Book (several images are on view) transforms this historical woman who played a pivotal role in the Spanish conquest of Mexico into a childlike figure. Conversely, Volador (1948) presents a dramatic view of the pre-Columbian ritual ceremony Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers): performers climb a multi-story pole and, attached to ropes, fling themselves from it, spiraling to the ground. Here, Charlot’s sturdy, monumental figure atop the pole recalls Mesoamerican sculpture and stone carvings, which he witnessed firsthand as staff artist to the excavation at Chichen Itza.


“Mexican People: A Portfolio of Labor and Industry” displays a complete 1946 portfolio by artists from the famous Mexico City printshop Taller de Grafica Popular (People’s Graphic Workshop, founded in 1937). It was commissioned to document and promote Mexican products, with artists’ traveling throughout the country to witness traditional, often labor intensive, crafts. Alfredo Zalce’s color lithograph Lumber Workers depicts men precariously balanced on floating logs as they attempt to saw them down to size. Isidoro Ocampo’s Pottery Maker captures the subject kneading clay with his feet, the beginning of a multi-step process to create the vessels that were necessary for so many daily domestic activities, as well as a popular worldwide export.


Other artists include: Emilio Amero, Raul Anguiano, Alberto Beltran, Angel Bracho, Arturo Garcia Bustos, Prescott Chaplin, Miguel Covarrubias, Richard Day, Irwin Hoffman, Leopoldo Mendez, Francisco Mora, Pablo O’Higgins, and Fernando Castro Pacheco. In addition, Diego Rivera’s 1930 lithograph Nude with Beads (Frida Kahlo) is on view. This intimate and revealing portrait of the young artist, created the year after they married, is one of only a few lithographs ever made by Rivera. 


Impressions: Prints of Mexico, 1930s-40s / Impresiones: Estampas de México, 1930s-40s was organized by Nicole Simpson, Ph.D., Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, with Diego Atehortúa, Rutgers University Class of 2018. The exhibition, on view February 17 through July 29, 2018, is supported by PNC Bank.

Posted by tammyduffy at 6:08 PM EST
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Highest Art Gallery in the World

The Highest Art Gallery in the World

photo of Miguel sharing Mata tea with Duffy


As with most things, you can climb Aconcagua the easy way or the hard way. While the easy way doesn’t need gear, more injuries and death happen on this route as people underestimate the elevation and the cold, especially as there are no permanent snowfields.
 The world’s highest contemporary art gallery is The Nautilus, located about 14,000 feet above sea level in a tent at Plaza de Mulas, the base camp on the western face of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. Established by artist Miguel Doura in 2003, the gallery officially broke the world record in November 2010.

It is open seasonally during the climbing season (early December to early March) and dismantled during the winter months, when the extreme weather conditions make it impossible to keep it open.

Doura’s choice of medium is oil pastels, as these can better stand the extreme winds and temperatures. This unique art space is an amazing sanctuary. Miguel studied fine arts for 5 years in Buenos Aires. 



Posted by tammyduffy at 1:21 PM EST
Monday, 5 February 2018
As Americans Navigate Rapidly Changing Workplaces, Zimmerli Exhibition Reflects on What a Job Meant in the ‘70s with Photographs and Interviews



As Americans Navigate Rapidly Changing Workplaces, Zimmerli Exhibition Reflects on

What a Job Meant in the ‘70s with Photographs and Interviews



The status of Americans’ relationships with their jobs is…complicated. Advice for job seekers drastically ranges from “seek out a mission you’re deeply passionate about” to “just find something fast that pays the bills.” And while some view the proliferation of the gig economy as flexible and freeing for individuals, many freelance and contract workers suffer the anxiety of inconsistent paychecks and no benefits. However, not long ago, most Americans shared an expectation that a job should be reliable and provide a salary that supports the cost of living. It's Just a Job: Bill Owens and Studs Terkel on Working in 1970s America, now open at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, recalls that era. The exhibition pairs the two iconic documentarians of work life, underscoring how the decade was a dramatic time of transition for the American workforce. It is not simply a look back: many of the themes that Owens and Terkel identified remain strikingly relevant, engaging visitors to consider their own perspectives about working. The public also has an opportunity to hear from Bill Owens himself, when he presents an artist’s talk on April 3 during Art After Hours: First Tuesdays, one of the Zimmerli’s popular free programs.


“This exhibition takes a multimedia approach to the topic of working in the 1970s, immersing the audience in the stories and experiences of the period’s secretaries, industrial workers, and creative professionals,” notes Hannah Shaw, Mellon Intern at the Zimmerli and PhD Candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University, who organized the exhibition. “No matter what field you’re coming from, you’ll find yourself absorbed by these vivid portraits—and confronted by all-too-recognizable struggles, ironies, and hopes that remain at the heart of American working life.”


In addition to 31 black-and-white photographs by Owens from his 1977 photobook Working (I Do It For the Money), the exhibition includes a selection of audio interviews selected from Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, provided by the Studs Terkel Radio Archive. First released in 1974, the collection includes the voices of Al Pommier (parking lot attendant), Dolores Dante (waitress), Therese Carter (house wife), Cliff Pickens (newsboy), and Roberto Acuna (farm worker and union organizer), among others, presenting firsthand accounts.


Owens is a significant figure in the genre of documentary photography regarding two key movements, but he approached his subject matter in contrast to many of his counterparts. After the 1950s, American photographers abandoned the search for a universal vision of society and pivoted toward personal points of view. Like other young documentarians, Owens sought to create authentic studies of what occurred behind closed doors, neutralizing the power imbalance long held by photographers, who often objectified their subjects. Owens has described his process as “see[ing] things that other people don’t in the banal and ordinary. Most lives are mundane but I make them extraordinary by infusing them with dignity.”


Unlike some of his contemporaries who revealed the painful consequences of such taboo subjects as drug abuse, gun culture, and violence, Owens primarily chronicled the ironic and absurd. His three landmark photobooks – Suburbia (1972), Our Kind of People: American Groups and Rituals (1975), and Working (I do it for the Money) (1977) – centered on middle-class suburbanites in the Amador Valley near San Francisco, where he lived and worked. Suburbia, in particular, included friends, neighbors, and other residents who participated in a collaborative community project, expressing an overall satisfaction with their lives. With Working, Owens turned to the tradition within documentary photography that had focused on labor since the late 19th century. But rather than expose dangerous, often illegal, conditions to effect social change like many of his predecessors, Owens provided a view of the American worker as reasonably happy on the job. He captured scenes that generated archetypal characters in a collective visual memory of the 1970s.


This is not to say, however, that Owens did not present a complicated, nuanced view of American life. Subtle details, particularly in the captions, that were innocuous, perhaps even humorous, 40 years ago take on completely different meanings today. Though more women succeeded in entering the workforce during the decade, we now recognize that they often were limited to lower wage secretarial positions, beholden to the demands of male bosses and husbands: Being a receptionist is a catch-all job; you do everything. Mostly we’re dealing with salesmen and they like to see young women. I’ve stayed here for six years because I got married and my husband didn’t want me to commute to a better-paying job. Such captions as Legal Secretary $250 a week and Computer Telephone Operator $200 a Week also diminish the role of women, constrained to their desks, to a mere job title and wage value. Conversely, men are depicted in active, mentally stimulating jobs: The only way to learn anything in photography is by making lots of mistakes; Television cameramen are a special breed; and It takes a year to make a gyro-ball guidance system for the C-5A aircraft, imply the impact these men make well beyond their offices. In addition, few of the satisfied workers represented are people of color.


Several photographs are reminders of once reliable fields that have been decimated not only by globalization, but by structural changes to the nation’s domestic economy. Local businesses have been shuttered by competition from big box stores and online shopping (Baking is the oldest trade in the world); print media has moved online (Newspaper Printing Plant, San Jose, CA); and factory jobs have been relocated overseas (In thirty-one years as a ladleman I've never been injured). In most cases, owners and shareholders have benefited, while workers and, sometimes, entire communities have been devastated.


It's Just a Job: Bill Owens and Studs Terkel on Working in 1970s America, on view January 20 through July 29, 2018, celebrates a recent gift to the museum by Robert Harshorn Shimshak and Marion Brenner in honor of the class of 1968. The exhibition is organized by Hannah Shaw, Mellon Intern at the Zimmerli and PhD Candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University, with the assistance of Donna Gustafson, Curator of American Art and Mellon Director of Academic Programs. Gustafson also spotlights Owens in the essay “Performing Documentary Photography in Suburban America, 1970s Style” in the 2017 catalogue Subjective Objective: A Century of Social Photography, which accompanied an exhibition by the same title at the Zimmerli. Selections from Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do are provided by Studs Terkel Radio Archive, courtesy Chicago History Museum and WFMT Radio Network.

Posted by tammyduffy at 12:01 AM EST
Sunday, 14 January 2018
Zimmerli Traces 19th-Century Revolution in Printmaking That Set the Stage for Today’s Pervasive Visual Culture



Zimmerli Traces 19th-Century Revolution in Printmaking

That Set the Stage for Today’s Pervasive Visual Culture



The 1896 poster Tournée du Chat Noir de Rodolphe Salis by Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen is one of the most recognizable designs: a stylized black cat with a judgmental glare and serpentine tail, inviting (or, perhaps, daring) viewers to patronize the popular bohemian cabaret in Paris. Whether reproduced as an inexpensive poster that has adorned dorm walls for decades or appropriated for new generations in the form of popular characters from The Simpsons, Pokemon, and How to Train Your Dragon, the evolution of an artistic process that has allowed this ubiquitous feline to endure began 200 years ago. Set in Stone: Lithography in France, 1815-1900, opening January 20 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, presents a comprehensive visual history of how artists and a handful of entrepreneurs refined a new medium to strike a balance between individual creative vision and a growing demand for mass produced images. Set in Stone is accompanied by a full-color, 184-page catalogue and complemented by the exhibition Place on Stone: Nineteenth-Century Landscape Lithographs, which explores landscape as a subject of interest among British and French artists.


“We live in an era when we take for granted the immediate availability of visual documentation, as most images are now captured, processed, and distributed without ever becoming physical objects,” Zimmerli director Thomas Sokolowski observes. “The sheer volume can be simultaneously compelling and overwhelming. But there also is the possibility that we will encounter an image that moves us in spirit, or even moves us to action. Many of the artists on view instilled activism into their work, a legacy that remains apparent today.”


Christine Giviskos, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and European Art, adds, “The span of the 19th century was an age of innovation in Paris and the development of lithography reflects that, encompassing the intersection of French culture and commerce. The city experienced multiple stages of modernization, resulting in a boom in consumer culture, which included a demand for fine art prints. The lithographic process allowed artists and printers to quickly, and economically, satisfy increased demand for original artwork, as well as fulfill evolving business needs, in the changing city.”


Invented in Munich, Germany, during the late 1790s, lithography – derived from the Greek roots “lithos” (stone) and “graphos” (writing) – revolutionized the practice of printmaking. The new versatility that allowed artists to draw their designs directly on a polished slab of limestone, rather than the older techniques of cutting into wood or metal, appealed to many who otherwise might not have pursued printmaking. The first successful print shops in Paris were established around 1815 by entrepreneurial printer-publishers who recognized an economic opportunity. This prospect provided opportunities for artists, especially painters who previously had relied on aristocratic or church patronage, to pursue new sources of income.


Lithography attracted artists at all stages of their careers, which helped to elevate its status (the medium was accepted in the Salon exhibition of 1817, which also established its market relevance). Painter Pierre Paul Prud'hon, then in his 60s, demonstrated how easily an academically trained draughtsman could adapt to a new medium. Among the younger artists were Nicolas-Toussaint Charlet (credited with nearly 1,100 works), Théodore Géricault, and Eugène Delacroix. Though later added to the art history canon for epic paintings during the Romantic period, the latter two produced an early oeuvre of prints, including Delacroix’s illustrations for an 1828 French translation of Goethe’s Faust.


Certain subjects were naturally suited to the medium: military subjects, portraiture, fashion, city life. New freedoms of the press that emerged when the French Revolution ended in 1799 triggered a surge in satirical depictions, especially those skewering politicians and the bourgeoisie. Such topics had long been popular in the print market, but with the speed and economy of production, artists and printers could respond more quickly to capitalize on a subject’s fleeting notoriety.


Like many of today’s visual content creators, artists sought to shape perceptions about the era’s public figures and contemporary events. Artists forged a relationship between print media and politics, producing caricatural prints as political commentary and an act of resistance. Parisian journalist and publisher Charles Philipon founded two of the most influential satirical publications – the daily Le Charivari and the weekly La Caricature – to disseminate his own criticism of the repressive government of King Louis-Philippe, who reigned from 1830 to 1848.


Philipon helped launch the careers of J.J. Grandville and Charles Traviès, as well as Honoré Daumier, who set a familiar precedent in depicting subjects: grotesque physical traits, combined with symbols and puns, to imply lack of character, incompetence, and even outright criminality. His Baissez le Rideau, La Farce est Jouée (Bring Down the Curtain; the Farce is Over), published in La Caricature in 1834, depicts the King – in a distinct clown costume – who insinuates that Justice for the people is a farce, a sentiment that has since remained a common theme in political commentary. Eventually, the government banned caricatures of the king and his followers in 1835.


The expansion of lithography was boosted by a series of technological innovations, with perhaps the most significant – and enduring – advance in 1837: Godefroy Engelmann debuted a process for color lithographic printing (chromolithography), achieving the elusive goal of cost-effectively producing large editions of color prints. It became the dominant printing process for generating business and government materials; however, artists did not widely adopt it. Lithography was no longer a groundbreaking process (especially with the expansion of photography in the 1840s) and became associated with mass-produced commercial prints.


A renaissance in lithography as a medium for original fine art did come about in Paris during the last quarter of the century. A new appreciation for the early masters emerged among critics and collectors, combined with the “discovery” of the practice by a new generation of artists. Following King Lois-Philippe’s abdication in 1848, the city transformed into a modern urban capital that offered new forms of social interaction and entertainment.


The need for striking advertisements at dance halls, cabarets, and other venues in Paris created job opportunities for artists, printers, and publishers. The artist and printer Jules Chéret, who opened a lithographic print shop in 1866, seized an opportunity to radically reconceive advertising posters, which had been relatively small prints directed at limited audiences. He produced large, colorful posters with bold figural compositions – such as Bal au Moulin Rouge (1889), capturing the boisterous atmosphere of the city’s iconic venue – that could be recognized by masses of city dwellers from a distance.


Visionary artists continued to advance lithography into the mainstream of art history. Edouard Manet, Henri de Fantin-Latour, and Odilon Redon created some of their most imaginative and technically experimental work; while a new generation of artists, including Pierre Bonnard, Henri-Gabriel Ibels, and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec created boundary-breaking works. Such artists as Félix Vallotton, Alexandre Lunois, and Adolphe-Léon Willette even depicted the lithographic process in allegorical and contemporary scenes, demonstrating its integration into Paris’s expanded field of artistic activity. As the centennial of the medium’s cultural breakthrough approached, artists acknowledged the significance of their predecessors, as well as the importance of becoming part of the canon themselves.


This survey of French lithography was selected almost entirely from the Zimmerli’s rich holdings of 19th-century French graphic arts, with a number of works on view at the museum for the first time. The Zimmerli’s collection, which extends from the medium’s introduction in Paris around 1815 into the 20th century, has been an anchor for the museum’s collecting and exhibition programs since its founding in 1966. The museum began to actively build the collection, acquiring numerous works, during the 1970s. A gift of nearly 150 lithographs in 1980, followed by other significant gifts throughout the decade and into the early 1990s, contributed to the collection’s breadth and depth in French lithography.


Set in Stone: Lithography in France, 1815-1900, organized by Christine Giviskos, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and European Art, is on view January 20 to July 29, 2018. The exhibition is funded in part by Ruth Schimmel, the Estate of Arline DuBrow, and donors to the Zimmerli’s Major Exhibition Fund: James and Kathrin Bergin, Alvin and Joyce Glasgold, Charles and Caryl Sills, the Voorhees Family Endowment, and the Jerome A. Yavitz Charitable Foundation, Inc.–Stephen Cypen, President.

Posted by tammyduffy at 4:56 PM EST
Saturday, 2 September 2017
Joe Ciardiello: Spaghetti Journal Exhibition to Open at HAM




Joe Ciardiello: Spaghetti Journal

Exhibition to Open at







Illustrator Joe Ciardiello has revered the Old West ever since he was a kid.

He grew up in a land where big-screen cowboys once galloped into the sunset – Staten Island.  

No, really!

More than a century ago, when motion picture cameras first started rolling, many Westerns were filmed at Fred Scott’s Movie Ranch in South Beach, a Staten Island, NY, town just a short stagecoach ride from Ciardiello’s boyhood home. Add to that historic proximity a teenage-boyhood during which Ciardiello was enthralled by the epic spaghetti western The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, and it’s no wonder that a story from his Italian immigrant grandfather would set alight his imagination.

Joe Ciardiello: Spaghetti Journal – a collection of Ciardiello’s western-themed illustrations premiering at the Hunterdon Art Museum on Sunday, Sept. 17 – was inspired by his grandfather’s recollection of seeing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in Italy.  

The subject matter is primarily personality driven, featuring expressive portraits or caricatures of, say, Buffalo Bill (William Cody, who passed away a century ago) and the Lone Ranger. But it’s the inclusion of others like Emilio Salgari (the grandfather of the Spaghetti Western) and director Sergio Leone (whose films like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly were shot in Italy and reinvented the western genre) that link the myths of the American West firmly to Italian popular culture. 

“This collection of drawings represents my effort to knit these influences together in a kind of visual journal,” Ciardiello noted.

To create a number of the illustrations, Ciardiello viewed his already well-worn copies of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly multiple times, making screen captures when a particular image caught his eye.

“Seeing Leone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly when it was first released in the U.S. had a profound effect on me as a 14 year old,” Ciardiello noted. “It remains one of my all-time favorite films. Now, 50 years later, it seems somehow fitting to reflect on the connections between my ethnic heritage and the uniquely American mythology of the old west.”

Joe Ciardiello: Spaghetti Journal, opens Sunday, Sept. 17 with a reception from 2-4 p.m., and everyone is welcome. The exhibition, which features 22 illustrations of pen, ink and watercolor, runs through Jan. 7, 2018. Ciardiello plans to complete more than 60 illustrations for the Spaghetti Journal Project, which he aims to have published as a book.

Ciardiello, who now lives in Hunterdon County, has worked for many major magazines and newspapers, as well as a variety of corporate and advertising clients, book publishers and record companies. He received multiple silver medals from the Society of Illustrators, and was honored with its prestigious Hamilton King Award in 2016.

Ciardiello illustrated Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing, which was released in 2007, and his portraits of blues musicians, Black White & Blues, was published six years ago by Strike Three Press.

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:34 PM EDT
Saturday, 26 August 2017
Anselm Kiefer Transition from Cool to Warm

Anselm Kiefer Transition from Cool to Warm 

 Anselm Kiefer - Transition from Cool to Warm

Employing broad-ranging and erudite literary sources, from the Old and New Testaments to the poetry of Paul Celan, Kiefer’s oeuvre makes palpable the movement and destruction of human life and, at the same time, the persistence of the delicate, lyrical, or divine.

Central to the exhibition are more than forty unique artists’s books, their pages painted with gesso to mimic marble, displayed in an installation of glass vitrines. Erotically charged female nudes and faces emerge from the pages. Artists’s books are an integral part of Kiefer’s oeuvre; over time they have ranged in scale from the intimate to the monumental, and in materials, from lead to dried plant matter. In this selection of books, the sequences of narrative information and visual effect evoke the fragile endurance of the sacred and the spiritual through the female figures on the marbled pages. They are a reminder perhaps of the sculptures of Auguste Rodin, and even of Michelangelo’s belief that his figures were “freed” from the stone with which he worked.

The large array of new watercolors in this exhibition marks a significant return in Kiefer's work to the elusive and sensuous medium. The exhibition’s title, “Transition from Cool to Warm,” refers to a celebrated book of watercolors that he produced from 1974 to 1977, in which cool, blue marine land and seascapes transform into warm female nudes. Kiefer's fascination for eidetic process, rather than teleological outcome is underscored by the alchemical effects he achieves in these new works—aleatory, and as luminescent as the natural forms they evoke.

The watercolors and books are complemented by romantic landscape paintings, in which lakes can be glimpsed through screens of trees or where surfaces of splashed molten lead peel back to reveal the sea or landscape depicted beneath.

“Transition from Cool to Warm” is accompanied by a fully illustrated publication with essays by Karl Ove Knausgaard and James Lawrence, and an interview with Kiefer by Louisa Buck.

Anselm Kiefer was born in 1945 in Donaueschingen, Germany, and lives and works in France. His work is collected by museums worldwide. Recent institutional exhibitions include Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark (2010); “Shevirat Hakelim,” Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (2011); “Beyond Landscape,” Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2013); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2014); “L’Alchimie du livre,” Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (2015); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2015). In 2009, he directed and designed the sets for Am Anfang (In the Beginning) at the Opéra national de Paris. “Kiefer Rodin” will be on view at the Musée Rodin, Paris until October 2017, subsequently traveling to the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia. In November 2017, Kiefer will receive the J. Paul Getty medal for his contribution to the arts.


Posted by tammyduffy at 3:34 PM EDT
Friday, 18 August 2017
David Smith:White Sculptures at Storm King
David Smith:White Sculptures at Storm King


Storm King Art Center presents David Smith: The White Sculptures, from May 13 to November 12, 2017, the first exhibition to critically and fully consider the use of the color white within David Smith’s works. At the time of the artist’s death in 1965, eight monumental steel sculptures, painted white, stood in the fields surrounding his home and studio in the Adirondack Mountains; many of these will be on view at Storm King. David Smith: The White Sculptures will be the first public presentation to unite three among these—the entire Primo Piano series: Primo Piano I, II, and III, all from 1962. The exhibition will also feature a selection of Smith’s earliest constructions, created out of white coral gathered by the artist during his stay in the Virgin Islands in 1931-32, and rarely shown since.

The presentation provides a singular opportunity to see a focused series of Smith’s work, while celebrating the deep connections between his art and one of the core values of Storm King’s mission: to explore art in nature.

The exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of Storm King’s 1967 acquisition of 13 Smith sculptures, which were sited directly in the landscape. This marked the start of Storm King’s focus on the large-scale, outdoor art installations for which it is now well known. The central works of the exhibition, large welded-steel constructions that Smith painted with white industrial enamel, will be installed outdoors on Storm King’s Museum Hill. Smaller sculptures as well as paintings, drawings, and photographs that further explore the artist’s use of white will be displayed inside Storm King’s Museum Building.

Following Smith’s death, his white sculptures became central to an art-historical debate regarding proper custodianship of works of art when Clement Greenberg, an executor of the David Smith Estate, had the artist’s white paint stripped from five of Smith’s sculptures. Greenberg’s actions were exposed in a 1974 Art in America article by the influential art historian and Smith scholar Rosalind Krauss. The works were subsequently restored to their original white color by the Estate. David Smith: The White Sculptures is the first exhibition to bring together and present these works as a group, and to offer viewers the opportunity to fully consider Smith’s complex use of the color white.

David Smith (1906-1965) is widely considered to be one of the foremost artists of the twentieth century, and was the American sculptor most linked to Abstract Expressionism. In 1933 he made the first welded iron sculpture in America, and went on to produce a diverse body of work that has influenced the generations of sculptors who have followed. In the 1950s, Smith began to install groups of sculptures in the fields outside his home and studio in the Adirondack Mountains, contemplating and photographing them in all seasons against the sky, clouds, and surrounding scenery. Smith emphasized the visual nature of sculpture as image, and innovatively incorporated open space into his work. He used white both as a color and as a means to define the structure of positive and negative space in his large outdoor sculptures as well as in his Sprays – paintings and works on paper he produced with industrial spray enamel. Seen in Storm King’s natural landscape, whose rolling hills approximate the geography of Smith’s Adirondack property, David Smith: The White Sculptures will echo Smith’s commitment to presenting art and nature as integrated entities.

David Smith: The White Sculptures is made possible by generous lead support from the Bafflin Foundation, Agnes Gund, Hauser & Wirth, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Support is also provided by Candida Smith and Carroll Cavanagh and The Henry Moore Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Helis Foundation, and the Robert Lehman Foundation, Inc. Support for the exhibition catalogue is provided by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund.

Support for education-related programming is provided by the Sidney E. Frank Foundation, and artist talks are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Posted by tammyduffy at 5:27 PM EDT
Friday, 4 August 2017
Bringing Prints to the Masses in the United States Zimmerli Examines Lesser Known Legacy of the WPA


Bringing Prints to the Masses in the United States

Zimmerli Examines Lesser Known Legacy of the WPA


Screenprinting is one of the most recognizable forms of creative expression in American popular culture: from Andy Warhol’s serial images of iconic people and products, to witticisms emblazoned on t-shirts and casual screenprinting classes. But the medium’s present day ubiquity took root during the Great Depression when, through programs administered by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the government encouraged the production and consumption of art by the general public. Serigraphy: The Rise of Screenprinting in America, opening September 5 at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, explores how the technique was adapted to create fine art that was accessible and affordable to the middle class during the 1930s and 1940s. Despite the ongoing devastation that followed the nation’s worst financial disaster, public support for the arts reached one of its highest levels in history. While murals in public buildings, photographs of rural and urban families, and documentation of American music are probably the most widely known projects accomplished by the Works Progress Administration, a collaborative environment also allowed for the development and dissemination of screenprints.


“WPA initiatives emphasized the value of artistic expression in everyday American life,” notes Nicole Simpson, the Zimmerli’s Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings. “Artists decided to use the term ‘serigraph’ for these prints to distinguish them from the strictly commercial screenprints that had been produced for centuries. They created the prints in editions, which were widely distributed and readily available for people to display in their homes. This increased acceptance of screenprinting was a pivotal moment in the conversation about the role of art and its audience in the United States.”


Active from 1935 to 1943, the WPA was the most ambitious American New Deal agency, employing millions of people to alleviate long-term unemployment during the Great Depression. Work relief provided jobs and income for individuals, proving to be more effective than handouts. While most workers carried out public construction projects, an important element was the Federal Art Project, which employed artists across all disciplines, many of whom proceeded to pursue active, influential careers during the second half of the 20th century.


In 1938, Anthony Velonis (whose 1939 Third Avenue "El" is on view) was chosen to head the WPA’s new Silk Screen Unit. He recognized the crosscurrent of participants’ varied technical experience, as well as the flexibility of the medium and its appeal to a wide range of artists: social satirists, political realists, illustrators, abstract artists. Two works from Hugo Gellert’s portfolio Century of the Common Man (1943) incorporate texts and images inspired by the desire for a more egalitarian American society, a reflection of the growing interest in Communism at the time. The relative ease of the process also allowed artists to work in a variety of styles – from crisp, flat patterns, to rich, layered textures that mimicked oil paintings – and depict a broad range of such familiar subjects as portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and genre scenes, as well as newer abstract compositions. Richard Floethe, a German artist who had studied at the Bauhaus, served as head of the WPA’s poster division and encouraged their use of screenprinting. His Polo Ponies (1939) shows his facility at creating eye-catching designs and appealing color palettes. Thomas Arthur Robertson’s The Orange Point (1941) represents the growing interest in abstract compositions. Using numerous shades of yellow and orange, with rhythmic markings, he created a technically complex and visually arresting image.


The process of screenprinting is vividly brought to life in a group of five works by Hugh Mesibov, who worked for the Federal Arts Project in Philadelphia (where he, Dox Thrash, and Michael Gallagher developed the carborundum mezzotint technique). Multiple stages of his 1942 Nocturne, on loan from the Mesibov Family Trust, reveal the entire process: the original inception of the design in an egg tempera drawing, the process of printing from multiple screens visible in working proofs, and the completed screenprint. In this print, one of his earliest experimentations with screenprinting, he expressed the anxieties of World War II, drawing upon his experience working in the shipyards to produce this haunting, dreamlike landscape.


Several works in the exhibition foreshadow concepts eventually adopted by Pop artists in the 1960s. An original member of the Silk Screen Unit, Elizabeth Olds chose to satirize art enthusiasts with Picasso Study Club (1940). She exaggerated the figures to resemble the subjects of the cubist’s paintings they are examining. It initiated a discussion about the difference between “high art” and more democratic art – that artists like Olds were producing using screenprinting – a theme that is apparent throughout this exhibition. One of the oldest art forms – still life – is the subject of Dorie Marder’s Arrangement (1945). But she reimagined it in a modern, abstracted composition with flattened forms and vivid colors, a precursor to screenprints in the coming decades. Rainy Day (circa 1940) by Max Arthur Cohn contrasts many of the works in the show. Unlike the other vibrant and dynamic prints, it captures the glistening gloom of a drenched city street at night, with a few lonely city dwellers attempting to escape the elements. But this unassuming artist went on to own a graphic arts business in Manhattan, where he is said to have taught silkscreen techniques to a young man named Andy Warhol in the 1950s.


The exhibition also includes prints by: Jack Beauchamp, Leon Bibel, Adolf Dehn, Harry Gottlieb, Lena Gurr, Norma Bassett Hall, Hananiah Harari, Yvonne Twining Humber, Mervin Jules, Charles Keller, Edward August Landon, Guy Maccoy, Henry Mark, Robert McChesney, Carl Pickhardt, Harry Shokler, and Harry Shoulberg.


Serigraphy: The Rise of Screenprinting in America was organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings. The exhibition is on view September 5, 2017, through February 11, 2018.



The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.



Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street (at George Street) on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and select first Tuesdays of the month, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


PaparazZi Café is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed weekends and major holidays, as well as the month of August.



Posted by tammyduffy at 6:40 PM EDT
Saturday, 3 June 2017
Beloved Trenton,’ a Photo Exhibit by Habiyb Ali Shu'Aib



 Beloved Trenton,’ a Photo Exhibit

by Habiyb Ali Shu'Aib







The Gallery at JKC, Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) new exhibit space in downtown Trenton, is proud to present “Beloved Trenton” by photographer Habiyb Ali Shu'Aib (beloved1). The show runs from Monday, June 19 to Monday, July 17. A Reception and Artist’s Talk takes place Friday, June 23, from 5 to 8 p.m., with the talk to start at 5:30 p.m.

The Gallery is located in Trenton Hall at 137 North Broad Street (across the street from the James Kerney Building). Gallery hours are Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Wednesdays, noon to 6 p.m., and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Shu'Aib was born and raised in Trenton. At age 9 his parents gave him a disposable camera, which ignited his love for photography and photographing the city he calls home.

According to JKC Gallery Director Michael Chovan-Dalton, coordinator of the MCCC Photography and Digital Imaging program, he selected to showcase Habiyb’s work because “he shows us Trenton as home as opposed to Trenton as problems, which is often how photographers depict the city. He fits well with the goal of the gallery to be both an opportunity for up-and-coming photographers and a destination for more established photographers. Habiyb is part of the vibrancy of the Trenton art scene that the gallery and I am excited to be a part of,” Chovan-Dalton said.

Chovan-Dalton notes that Shu'Aib's photographs depict Trenton with honesty, affection, familiarity and curiosity.






“Trenton can be a complicated place to describe because it is a city that struggles with its identity and it is perceived differently by those who only know it through the media, by those who work here but live elsewhere, by those who left here, by those who moved here, and by those who never left,” Chovan-Dalton said, adding that Shu’Aib’s work reads like a journal about the place he grew up.

“The viewer, in turn, is given an experience that may reflect our own perceptions of Trenton but also remind us of something familiar and beloved in our own travels,” he said.
Shu’Aib’s work has been featured regularly around the area in recent years: Trenton’s Art All Night and Art All Day, Trenton 365 Show (WIMG 1300), Soul of The Message with SAGE Coalition at Casa Cultura Gallery, Trenton Makes at Capital Health Medical Center, I See Storytellers Exhibit at Hopewell Valley Vineyards, and, most recently, the Anthracite Fields Art Exhibition at Roebling Wire Works.
For more information, visit www.mccc.edu/JKCgallery.

Posted by tammyduffy at 7:31 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 June 2017 7:36 AM EDT
Monday, 22 May 2017
Award-winning Maurer Productions OnStage Brings ‘The Glass Menagerie’ to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre June 9 to 18




Award-winning Maurer Productions OnStage Brings ‘The Glass Menagerie’ to MCCC’s Kelsey Theatre June 9 to 18






Love, dreams, desire, and longing tug at the heart in Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie,” coming to Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC’s) Kelsey Theatre. Presented by the Perry Award-winning Maurer Productions OnStage (MPO), dates and show times for this 1944 stage classic are: Fridays, June 9 and 16 at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, June 10 and 17 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, June 11 and 18 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on the college’s West Windsor Campus at 1200 Old Trenton Road. A reception with the cast and crew follow the opening night performance on June 9.


Memories and hopes as fragile as glass balance precariously when a frustrated mother, a daughter lost in her imagination and a son intent on rebellion share the stage in this MPO production. The show is directed by Judi Parrish, who observes, "The Glass Menagerie is one of the greatest stories and one of the saddest autobiographies in American literature. The actors are not just playing 'characters,' but are bringing to life people from an era long past."


The cast stars Roberto Gianni Forero of Edison as Tom; Laurie Hardy of Hamilton as Amanda; Jessica Braynor of Lawrenceville as Laura; and Malik Ibn Abdul Khaaliq of King of Prussia, Pa. as Jim, the Gentleman Caller.



In addition to Parrish, who is both director and sound designer, the production team includes Producers Diana Maurer and John Maurer, Set Designer John Maurer, and Lighting Designer M. Kitty Getlik. The stage manager is Vicky Kaiser; costumes are by Sally Page Sohor; and hair and makeup is by Erin Leder.


Tickets for “The Glass Menagerie” are $18 for adults; $16 for seniors; and $14 for students and children. Tickets may be purchased online at www.kelseytheatre.net or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at 609-570-3333.  Kelsey Theatre is wheelchair accessible, with free parking available next to the theater.

Posted by tammyduffy at 8:21 PM EDT

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