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Newark USA

A fotojournal about LIVING in Newark USA, New Jersey's largest and most cultured city, by the author of the foto-essay website RESURGENCE CITY: Newark USA.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Art Show at NPS TONITE

The Newark Print Shop is opening its most recent art show this evening (Saturday, September 20th) from 7-10pm at 304 University Avenue, 2d floor, in Downtown Newark. That is over the former Skipper's Plane Street Pub, across the street from Essex County College. This is the third art exhibition by NPS I will have attended since mid-July, two at NPS and one at Index Art Center.

This was the sign on the wall for the last show I attended at NPS.

My friend Jerry is scheduled to come in from Midtown Manhattan to join me for this event, so, with that invite and this post, I'm doing my part to get people to Newark art shows.

Join us!
For an Opening Reception:
Saturday, September 20th from 7-10pm
at the Newark Print Shop
304 University Ave, Newark

The artwork of Ariana Barat, Lizz DeSimone, and Brendan Mahoney.

This exhibition showcases the artwork created by our 2014 resident artists Ariana Barat, Lizz DeSimone, and Brendan Mahoney. For six months, these artists have had unlimited access to facilities at the shop to explore and engage with fine art printmaking processes in order to expand their artistic practice. This exhibition highlights the importance of accessibility to workspace and resources as it highlights work created in an active, cooperative print shop right here in Newark. The exhibition is on view from September 20 through November 2, 2014.

Ariana Barat's Mala Mara in the "Intimate Utterance" show. The foto didn't turn out crisp, so I reduced it in size to give viewers at least a sense of the vivid colors.

Please join us for the Opening Reception on Saturday, September 20th from 7-10pm

Artists on view:


Nanook's Beeper in "Intimate Utterance" exhibition.

The "Intimate Utterance" show comprised seven pieces, one for each of the seven artists. I show two within this post, and two others in my "Newark Print Shop" album on Picasa Online. (See link at the bottom of today's post.)

Late in the evening, the overhead lites were turned off, and a spotlite trained upon a rotating mirror ball, which gave the room the look of a dance club (tho there was no room to dance). The liting was too dim for me to catch the individual flashes of lite, but you get a sense of the festive scene from the circles of lite on the ceiling. Perhaps someday someone in Newark will open a niteclub around artworks.

In the next foto, you can see that my chalked signature, "Newark USA" from the opening of NPS's new space, was still on a much more crowded black wall during the "Intimate Utterance" exhibition's opening reception. It appears just to the left, and much smaller than, "NIDA", toward the middle of the picture.

The remaining fotos today are from the opening reception for the "Limited Edition" show at the much larger gallery space at Index Art Center ("IAC"). I wanted to identify the fotos, but I don't know where I put the price list that keys the little numbers next to each artwork, so cannot ID them. This is why I much prefer venues that put labels, in words, alongside displayed pieces.

Wide view of one wall.

I do know the artist who created the ceramic piece in this next foto: Lisa Conrad, a principal of NPS.

I initially thought these other two pieces, which are also ceramic, tho glazed, were by Lisa too, but they're not. She told me who the artist was when I spoke with her at the opening, but I forgot her name.

If NPS or IAC would like me to identify the artists, titles, etc., they should send me the information and I will update this post. I'm pretty sure that the two very large prints (compare them to the door on the left) in the next foto are by Stephen McKenzie.

More typical of print works in the show is this next piece of moderate size on handmade paper.

This other print of moderate size is very detailed and has a number of colors, so I suspect it required a number of silkscreens, very carefully aligned.

The foto below appears to show a print that appeared both as an individual piece and as the graffic for the poster for the "Newark Art and Artists, Part II" exhibition at the Newark Public Library from January to May of 2013. I think it's by Willie Cole. The rounded triangles appear to be steam irons.

This other foto definitely shows an artwork about a steam iron.

This third foto also appears to show a steam iron, perhaps also by Willie Cole. What I first thought looked like a finger pointing to the right, below the main object, turns out to be the area to the left of a power cord, ending in a plug at the bottom. Altho the device might be a radio, I think it looks more like an iron.

During the opening reception for the "Ready or Not", New Jersey Arts Annual show at the Newark Museum June 27th, there was one room on the second floor that was open in addition to the main temporary exhibition space on the first floor, and this unmistakable artwork about ironing appeared there. Newark is apparently very big on ironing. I can practically hear the old Saturday Nite Live character "Emily Litella" (played by the late Gilda Radner) saying "What's all this about ironing?" — except that that would not reflect mishearing, which is what Emily Litella was all about.

I don't want to mislead readers as to the size of the gallery within NPS, which is one small room that is unlikely to display more than 20 small pieces. But I did want you to see the quality of work NPS artists produce. I plan to attend this evening's opening. If you do too, and we have not yet met, please introduce yourself (my foto appears at the top left of this blog).
You can see all 101 fotos in my Newark Print Shop album on Picasa by clicking here. At top left of that album is an icon by which you can run a slideshow, with or without captions.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Helen Place Garden

I have inserted a backdated post about the Newark office of Jacoby & Meyers just before this post, and another on September 5th about recycling the Carlton Hotel. If you have not seen the post about Jacoby & Meyers, please scroll down one day. And if you have not seen the post about the Carlton Hotel, please click on the link above. Thank you. I try to do things in date order, but sometimes I get sidetracked.

Several blocks from my house in Vailsburg is a wonderful front yard filled with decorative plants, flowers, and a little statue. I don't know who the owner is, and the (black) gentleman I met several years ago who then occupied the house may have passed away. Or not. Whoever now controls that property maintains it beautifully.

This level of care takes a lot of hard work. My yard is a ruin as compared to this property, whose splendor doubtless puts pressure upon the neighbors to maintain their properties beautifully too.

Am I mistaken, or are the white flowers in the following picture Queen Anne's Lace, or "wild carrot"? I have mentioned that this wildflower was nowhere in evidence in my neighborhood when I bought my house in June 2000, but has gradually crept west, and is now found in my immediate vicinity.

I have also mentioned that various private property owners in Newark display statuary outside their house for their own enjoyment and that of passersby. The statue here is unclear to me, but looks like a baby boy carrying a (dead?) bird over his shoulder. Could that truly be? Or might there actually be a bird over his shoulder, but alive? I certainly wouldn't want a gruesome hunter-baby statue on my frontage to the world. Maybe it's not a bird at all, despite what look to me like feathers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FOTD: Jacoby & Meyers in Newark

You may or may not have noticed, in the insane clutter of hundreds of lawyer advertisements that fill television airwaves nowadays, that one of the longest-advertising law firms in this region, Jacoby & Meyers, lists a Newark office. The Foto Of The Day for today is of the awning outside that office, on Park Street east of Park Place and Military Park to the west.

It used to be forbidden, be it by law or the canon of ethics of the legal profession, for lawyers to advertise their services. Then the barrier was lifted, probably with the expectation that dignified legal professionals would be extremely circumspect in using the right to advertise. If that was the expectation, BOY did the people who expected that get it wrong! Now, every ten minutes some law firm or other is trying to recruit people into class-action lawsuits on just about every topic you could imagine, mainly asbestos, prescription drugs of many kinds, and medical procedures too disgusting for me to mention here, tho they are SHOUTED by media. What a disgusting country this has become. This is NOT the country I was born into in late 1944. Not even close. In some ways it's better. In others, much worse.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

No Garden Behind 'The Façade!'

The peculiarly-named "Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District" — which is nowhere near the ocean (even tho Newark is indeed a seaport) — has, for many years now, wanted to do wonderful things with the ruin of an old church on the steps of which Abraham Lincoln spoke briefly. Its webpage about those plans — nay, mere musings, it seems to me — speaks to "an urban farm with a greenhouse, hydroponics and aquaponics to source the concession-stand during performances and provide vegetables for locals." Dictionary.com does not recognize any such word as "aquaponics", and wouldn't that be the same as hydroponics, in any case? So why two terms?

That website describes the structure that remains as "a striking eight-story high blue sandstone Greek Revival façade on a half-acre site". Blue? I don't think so. See the foto above.
The website also includes this idiotic sentence:
Built in 1855, Abraham Lincoln spoke on the steps of [the church] in 1861 on his way to his first inauguration.
As written, that sentence says that Abraham Lincoln was built in 1855. I am very tired of careless writing and the refusal of websites and even major media to employ proofreaders who actually KNOW English, and who work to prevent illiterate locutions like that from embarrassing publishers.
In at least one prior year, and probably two or more, the field in back of The Façade! was filled with gardening beds and even a small tent-greenhouse for a community vegetable garden. Not this year, as the foto above, taken August 21st, shows plainly.
That foto also shows what are probably Queen Anne's Lace wildflowers, with their distinctive white, flattened flowerheads. When I visited the Louisbourg (lúe.wee.bùerg) area of Nova Scotia (Canada — which should long ago have been made part of the United States) — I saw plants of that type taller than the roof of my car, with stems thick enuf to support such a structure easily. I only now wonder if those big plants produce carrot-like roots, in that another name for Queen Anne's Lace is "wild carrot".
We have various wild plants with edible parts in this area, such as dandelions and onion grass, but few of us are adventurous enuf to harvest such things for salads, or even for cooked contributions to soups. I eat a lot of soup (due to bad teeth), but have not, to date, ventured to pluck dandelion leaves (you're supposed to harvest relatively new growth of dandelions, as I recall from something I read years ago, when I was thinking of doing this; and lemon juice was, I think, suggested to neutralize any bitterness) or the grass-like leaves of wild onions. Onion grass produces a globular seed pod with little sprouts shooting out in all directions from it. I've been tempted to try eating the leaves, if not in salads — tho why not in salads? — then at least in soups or diced and mixed into hamburgers, but have not yet done that. Perhaps I should challenge myself to do it, finally, before cold weather kills the dandelions and onion grass in my yards.
By the way, did you know that the word "dandelion" comes from the French phrase "dent de lion", [Dictionary.com:] "literally, tooth of (a) lion, translation of Medieval Latin dēns leōnis, in allusion to the toothed leaves")? How utterly faskinatin'. Or perhaps I should say "dandy".

Monday, September 15, 2014

Washington's Tree Wood

I have, over the years, shown various stages of the demise and display of "Washington's Tree", a large sycamore / "plane" tree in Military Park that survived from the time when Military Park was called "the Training Place" during the Revolutionary War till very recent times. I have advocated that, once it was 'plain' that the tree was truly dead, and not even scions taken from it could survive, the wood from that great tree should be fashioned into various items commemorative and celebratory of the American Revolution, and of Newark's role as a hotspot of our Revolution. That seems not to have been done, tho perhaps the whereabouts of the remaining wood are known, so that we CAN still make use of it if we choose.

A chunk of that great and historic tree would seem to have been restored to the renovated Military Park, as above, tho 'plainly' it is not from the base of the tree, in that it is not nearly as large in diameter as the stump alongside it as it is now displayed. It wasn't there on April 25th, but has been present from at least August 21st, when I took the foto above. The Military Park Partnership has also, since at least that date, used the hole within the vestigial stump of Washington's Tree as a planter for flowers. Terrific.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

'There to Here' Art Show at Robeson Gallery

I mentioned on Friday that I attended the opening reception for an art show at the Robeson Campus Center's Main Gallery at Rutgers-Newark on Thursday, and present today some fotos from that show.

First, let me present the description of the show from the extensive email that discusses the many shows in the many galleries within the Rutgers-Newark campus.
From There to Here
September 2 - December 24, 2014
Main Gallery

Moving from a home country to another is an experience unlike any other. There are many reasons that people choose, or are forced, to undertake such an act. This exhibition will focus on the work of artists who explore all aspects of the migrant and immigrant experience.

Oddly, the title of the show does not appear atop this graffic that appears at the entrance to the exhibition.
Artists: Aileen Bassis, Sasha Bromberg, Maki Hajikano, Muriel Hasbun, Fidencio Martinez, Jenny Polak, Viviane Rombaldi Seppey, Leona Strassberg Steiner, Raul Villarreal, Mina Zarfsaz.

This next pair of artworks are by Fidencio Martinez. I threw them into grayscale, because the foto I took had color distortion, and shades of gray seemed more representative of what I actually saw, tho these pieces actually, as I remember, were more like brown than gray. You can see for yourself if you check out the exhibition. Notices at the doors say that access to University buildings is restricted to members of the college community and invited guests, but the art galleries invite everyone to see what they have to offer.

And this is the plak that speaks to them.

The following foto shows a piece by Raúl Villareal that I really liked.

And here's the description. I had wondered why the two men are facing in different directions. Plainly they would not likely move in the same direction if they were facing in opposite directions. (Ideally, there should be a line-space between the paragrafs in that description.)

In the Rumble Room, a darkened side room off the Main Gallery, was showing a video by Muriel Hasbun. I did not come in at the beginning and did not have the patience to stay until the end and thus await its restart (I assume it played in an endless loop).

I'm not clear as to the reason that area is called the "Rumble Room". Is it perhaps a play on the term "rumble seat"? That would make a certain amount of sense, in being an auxiliary space that could be closed off from the Main Gallery, but would be a very dated reference, that the young people who comprise the student body of Rutgers University could not be expected to understand.

The next two pix relate to an intriguing foto-within-foto of some locale not familiar to me (assuredly not Newark; but, then, where?) and the description alongside it. I can't figure out what is shown in the inset foto either. I guess I should have looked at it very closely when I was in the gallery, rather than try to figure it out from my picture.

I have uploaded all these fotos (plus one of a descriptive plak of the large red, studded painting by Maki Hajikano shown above) to a Rutgers-Newark album in my Picasa Online storage space. Over time, I hope to move at least some fotos from earlier "Blogpix" albums to the R-N album. If, however, that would prove too much trouble, I may not do that. In any case, I cannot make these moves until a filmmaker who wants to use some of my fotos in a movie about Newark since the Riots has reviewed my Picasa online albums for fotos he might like to show.

I took pictures on Thursday of some other galleries within the Robeson Center, but there are apparently now more galleries than I am familiar with. The email announcement of this season's shows mentioned a "U-Gallery", "Messier Gallery", and a "Criminal Justice Gallery". I don't know where those three galleries are, but did take pix of the Nova Gallery, Pequod Deck, and Orbit Galleries I and II, which I will show at some point. But I am backed up and have many other topics to address. I try to alternate geograffic and subject-matter areas in this blog. Unfortunately, I am SO backed up that I didn't get into this blog fotos of the previous shows in the Orbit galleries. Altho I cannot get more people to those galleries in time for them to see those shows, I can present something of a record of shows that Rutgers may not itself have documented. You see, I don't know how much fotograffic documentation the various art venues I visit do of their own shows. Perhaps my fotos are unnecessary, because those venues have done a bangup job as to their own shows. Perhaps my fotos would be helpful even if those venues HAVE documented their prior shows. And perhaps some venues have done little or nothing to preserve a record of what they have presented to the public.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Bicolored Rose of Sharon

I spotted what looks like a single large rose of Sharon on Alexander Street near the Vailsburg Branch of the Newark Public Library, but which has both white flowers and purple on the same shrub. Is that right, or are there merely two shrubs of the two flower colors side-by-side and intertwined? I'll have to look closely next time I'm there. But in this foto, you can see purple flowers way off to the left in the midst of white flowers, and white flowers on the right amid purple.

This next foto shows a row, or hedge, of roses of Sharon of the same, purple, color, which is more typical, within a couple of hundred feet of the bicolor specimen on Alexander Street. I think all of my many rose of Sharon self-seeded shrubs are purple, tho the shade from oak trees in the parts of my yard where the bulk of them grow is too great for them to flower.

Rose of Sharon, also known by its Latin name, Hibiscus syriacus, is a tree-form shrub that can reach 13 or 15 feet in height (as in parts of my yard). Its flowers, in my experience, average somewhere between 2" and 3" across, with lighter colored petals and an interior that has a dark ring, inside which is a cream-colored region within which rises a prominent white or cream-colored stamen. This next foto shows my hand near four of these blossoms. The picture is very fuzzy, I'm afraid, because I was holding the camera in my right hand only and had to turn on flash to try (tho unsuccessfully) to compensate for any unsteadiness and shadow from nearby trees.

I'm sure I have some 100 or more roses of Sharon as tall as 5' or so, but the bulk of them are under the shadow of my 70' oak trees, so do not flower. Pity.
I planted two of the self-seeded rose of Sharon shrubs out by the curb, but one was in a bad spot for cars, as apparently interfered with the front or back passenger-side doors' opening, so somebody pulled it out! I have to do some measuring of where the doors would open of cars parked outside my house before I replant a second.

This is the one rose of Sharon that still stands curbside near the base of my driveway. It has not grown tall in the several years it has been in that spot, but hasn't died either. I think the soil may be too compácted for the plant's roots to spread out and down easily. If I plant a second or third, I shall have to loosen the soil in a large area around each shrub.

I could also plant a third to take the place of the yellow-flowering, copper-pod tree that died and fell down. Great. Just what I need: another project. I would actually love to do that, but am so busy with this blog and my other online activities, taking care of my cats and outdoor cats, possums, and raccoons, and trying to put my house in good order (in the 14+ years I have been here, some things have gone seriously wrong, as happens with houses), that the most I generally manage to do is put a line into my To Do list in table form within WordPerfect, which allows me to sort by priority. Now, if only I could work down the list by priority, I'd be in good shape.
I show below a close view of the big blossoms that rose of Sharon issues each year from about mid-August to late October — mainly in hopes of making people stuck in apartments in NYC or even Hoboken and Jersey City realize that for less (and maybe even MUCH less) than they are paying now for an apartment they could own a house with yards on all four sides in which they could plant their own choice of flowers, (flowering) shrubs, (flowering) trees, veggies, and even (lawn) grass, which residing in the typical apartment does not allow. At present, I have perennial flowers of at least two varieties blossoming in the four yards around my house, two BIG, ripe, red tomatoes on a bush in my small front yard, turnip greens above presumed turnips, and flower precursors of zucchini, green peppers, watermelons, and maybe cantaloupes as well. The lettuce I planted, alas, is not doing well, nor the broccoli, nor raspberries, red and black. Dratted squirrels keep digging holes alongside and interfering with my strawberries, and squirrels, possums, or raccoons keep eating the early strawberries before they can mature! I guess I could put metal screens over plants that the animals in my area interfere with, but part of me thinks they might like those things better than I do. I have been, for most of my life, a meat-and-potatoes guy. Yes, it is possible to grow potatoes in my yards, but it's a little more complicated than other 'crops', because I'd have to wait for subordinate stems to spread, then bury them in order for them to form tubers (taters) on those stems.
This is mainly a food issue in late summer going into fall. In spring, my various yards are filled with crocuses, daffodils, jonquils/narcissuses, hyacinths, azaleas, rhododendrons, and other flowers. "Newark the Green".
Of course, flowers and veggies aren't the only things people can grow inexpensively in Newark. They can also grow families at a fraction of the cost of NYC (including Outer Boros), J.C. (which sometimes dares to retard — sorry: regard — itself as NY's "Sixth Boro"), Hoboken and other more trendy areas. I lived in Manhattan (Upper West side, then Midtown West ("Hell's Kitchen")) for 35 years, so know the pull of Manhattan snobbism. But there comes a time in most people's lives when the crowds and hassles — panhandlers and possible pickpockets everywhere — and noise all around a crammed-jammed tiny apartment for a ton of money suddenly seems a very bad bargain indeed. For such ádults, a sane, uncrowded, quiet, and inexpensive place like much of Newark is a breath of fresh, open air.