I went to the Newark Museum's Harvest Moon Celebration today and have a lot to speak to in that connection. But not right now. It's over, so there's no rush, and I have pix to show from an ongoing show at the Robeson Galleries before I get to that. But not today. Rather, I want to show something I saw on the way home today.
This is a wonderful piece. I estimated it at about 220 feet long, judging from the number of vehicles parked in front of it. That is, the typical on-street parking space is about 22 feet long, and the sculpture spans about 10 spaces. This royal-blue sculpture is 18 inches wide and perhaps a quarter-inch thick. I saw no plaque to identify it nor its sculptor, so checked the Internet. I found a Spring 2006 UMDNJ newsletter that speaks of this sculpture as being "in production stage", and shows it to be even longer than I guessed.
In addition to its striking appearance along Bergen Ave. [sic; how on Earth does a UMDNJ publication speak of "Bergen Ave."?! That is inexcusable. It would be inexcusable for any Newark-based publication, but is especially inexcusable for the newsletter of an EDUCATIONAL institution.], UMDNJ commissioned [artworks inside and out]... A powder coated aluminum 250 foot long "ribbon" sculpture turns and dips along the outside wall on the Bergen Street façade to create a festive mood, as sought by sculptor Mac Adams.Mac Adams is a white guy originally from Wales, but a U.S. citizen since 1990 who came to Newark in 1967 to get a Master of Fine Arts degree in 1969. So, altho he now teaches at SUNY Old Westbury (Nassau County, Long Island), he does have a real Newark connection. I have been by that building a number of times since 2006, and not always at nite, but never noticed any such sculpture until just today. I found, however, this work (titled Life Force, 2005) on Mac Adams's website, with some pix (click on them to enlarge), one of which shows snow on the ground. So it's not new. The Wikipedia article on him, however, annotates that work as "IN PROGRESS".
In that it is supposed to be floodlited at nite, I checked a nitetime foto I made by May 2006 of the red lettering at the top of the building as seen from the Pathmark parking lot, but it does not show the base.
So I don't know how long Life Force has been on view. Nor do I know why I find absolutely nothing about it in a Google search on >>sculpture "life force" umdnj newark<<; not on the Web, not in Images. Taking "life force" out, I still find nothing about it in early results (tho in the Image search, 4 of the first 20 are my fotos; not, however, of a sculpture at UMDNJ). Happily, the Web results did turn up for me something I had been looking for, an article about a 3-story sculpture to be erected opposite the Prudential Center, with picture of a scale model. That's all well and good, but how did a 250-foot-long metal sculpture on the side of a major Newark educational institution escape the notice of everyone on the Internet? Is a mystery.
This foto shows that parts of the ribbon emerge two or three feet from the face of the wall. It also shows floodlites on the ground.
In any case, I parked today in the Pathmark parking lot, put on my big floppy straw hat, and started for Bergen Street. A (black)* woman passenger in a car pulling out from the parking lot smiled and said she liked my hat. I said thanks and explained that I need it for the camera. As I reached the middle of the street, a driver stopped for me to pass. I was willing to wait but appreciated the courtesy. Do you begin to see the level of courtesy, consideration, and friendliness I encounter from Newarkers all the time? I then took these pix, starting from the south end of the sculpture and moving to the north end.
That end was diagonally opposite the KFC, so I thought I'd check to see if they have the extra-crispy style, which I like. I had uncooked chicken at home, mind you, but I can't make crispy battered chicken! A young black woman going in first held the door for me to follow. That KFC does have the crispy syle (it has been my experience that not all do), so I got two thighs. The service was quick, and the (black) woman manager showed me a telephone number on the back of the receipt that allows one to answer a 9-question survey about the service for a chance to win $1,000. I told her I do want to tell them that the service in Newark was great, then added that I was certain to win, whereupon she said, indicating the guy at the register alongside her, "He'll have a lobster dinner, and I'll ...", but I interrupted to say that they'd probably be out that day. She said "We'll be here." (Darned if when I went to look for that receipt later, I couldn't find it. Some cat knocked the empty paper bag to the floor, and I'll have to check under a couple of tables in daylite to see if I can find it.)
This foto shows a loop and discontinuity, a loose end. So there appears to be more than one continuous ribbon here. This loop reminds me of ribbon candy, one of my favorites, which one usually sees only around Christmas but I have not seen in Newark. The rough surface of the stone blocks behind the smooth surface of the metallic ribbon comes out here. The other stories seem to have smooth concrete.
From the KFC I walked back to the Pathmark, passing by two food trucks and a sidewalk vendor (belts, hats, teeshirts, and such) along the way. There's a little curbside shopping center alongside the Pathmark/NCC shopping center. The first food truck I came to was New Africa Steak 'n' Take, which was doing good business. I heard one woman remark that they had to wait for something to be ready. I thought to take a picture, but there were perhaps 6 recognizable people on line, and a generator for the operation was so loud that I wouldn't be able to ask them all if they'd like to appear in a fotoblog about Newark. So I kept walking.
I particularly like this foto for a couple of reasons other than that I am in it, as a shadow. It shows a horizontal loop, and the shadows of young trees that now partly obscure the art. As they age, lower branches will likely fall off, clearing the ribbon of all but the shadow of each trunk. Also note the wonderful wrought-iron fence, which is described on the Mac Adams website thus:
The steel fence[,] which is based on the double helix, with its alternating arched and curved top[,] echo's [sic] the movement of the sculpture.
The next truck was Brothers Firehouse Café, offering "No Pork" but fish sandwiches, fish and fries, chili cheese fries, and hotdogs. That did not have a line waiting, but sounded good to me.
Then I was ready to grocery-shop. As I entered the store, I saw that there were some lush chrysanthemums still available at 3 for $12. But I haven't planted the 6 I already bought, so forbade myself to buy more. I checked for specials on canned dog food, got some other things, and made my way to the register. As I waited to check out, an elderly ("elderly" means anyone older than I am) black lady just behind excused herself to remark that I must have lots of dogs. (I had 24 cans in my cart; I buy lots when they're on special. That's one of the great things about having a house rather than apartment: there's room to store things, so you can buy in bulk.) I replied that no, I have lots of cats, but dog food is less expensive. There's always dry food down, and I put down dog food for them too. If they don't want to eat canned dog food, they can eat dry cat food. "They eat dog food." She got it, and smiled.
* Just to remind you, and for the information of new readers, I mention race in speaking of people, for the sake of the mind's eye. Absent such an identifier, a person will likely visualize their own race when they hear "man", "woman", etc. In Newark, as you will see from my mentions, racial interactions today are very relaxed and easy. You would not know that from my experiences if I did not identify people by race. By the way, the two "they"s above are examples of the grammatically proper "singular they". People, including Newark English teachers, inclined to become huffy about that usage need to check the authorities. I have.