(Very long post, with 27 fotos.) Last Friday, March 7th, was a very big arts nite. I asked two ladybuddies/galpals if they'd like to hit these events, and both agreed, tho both had been busy the last time there was such an arts evening. I knew of three events in Newark, two of them visual arts and one a poetry reading, plus one in Jersey City, a show by a Newark artist. But once we were out, we discovered other things going on in J.C. And Lisa, who is originally from Queens but has lived in Bloomfield for a few years, was not familiar with Newark, so I showed her some other things along the way. Unfortunately, there was rain to complicate matters. I had to pick up Lisa from Newark Penn Station ("NPenn", anyone?) and Ingé from One Newark Center at 5pm, in not just rain but also rush-hour traffic. It took a little longer than we'd hoped, and finding a parking place near Halsey Street also proved a bit of a problem.
Fotos today are of the various art events and artworks we saw on our travels last Friday, in the order we encountered the shows they were in.
First up was Newark Art Supply, which I had not yet managed to get to. The first foto, above, is also the first foto I showed in the placeholder here last Friday. In it we see Ade (o.dáe or, in folk phonetics, ah-DAY), co-owner of NAS, in front of the prints by Senegalese artist Papa Gora Tall, below. Chris, the other co-owner, was also there but he was working away at a large desk all the while, joining the conversation only on isolated occasions. I've decided to leave the bare-bones placeholder entry pretty much as it was, as sort of a quiz on Newark and Jersey City arts, for people to identify the works if they can without reading this entry. People doing various searches stumble across individual entries in this blog, so I have merely added a note at the end as to where the reader can find the full ID's.
My camera had a lot of trouble with the liting in Newark Art Supply. I don't know why. Perhaps because the wall was dark? (By the way, I wondered if the walls in the gallery area are always deep blue or the color is changed for different shows, but forgot to ask.) In any case, flash fotos were too garish and nonflash fotos a tad fuzzy and very orangy. I tried to correct the colors in my graphics program, with only limited success. In this next foto, Papa was blinking when the flash went off, but I show the foto anyway to include what Sebastian, one of the visitors to the show when we were there, said was an abstract bird.
I had some chardonnay and we sat on padded wooden cubes to chat. I wanted to get a foto of my friends in front of the art, but Ingé is convinced she is not fotogenic, so I didn't press but joked that it's just as well because I wouldn't want my camera to break. Here, however, is Lisa with Papa in front of his blue painting. I was joking about Papa and Lisa ("Mama") hooking up. Lisa was not amused. I'm showing this foto anyway because I think both of them look better than in my other pix. Just don't think of them as a couple because they met just the one time.
When we arrived, we were the only visitors there, doubtless due to the downpour. But after a while a few more people came in and joined in various conversations with each other and us.
Above, Lisa stands by the group of prints that Ade was also near, above, except a painting to Lisa's right also appears.
Having other places to check out, we bid farewell to the group and headed to Red Saw for the unfortunately named show "Two Crackers from the Same Box", which refers to two (white) brothers, Stephen and David Shingler.
The kinetic sculpture above (second foto in the placeholder entry last Friday) is a "Bird Drawing Machine", which consists of a rotating arm on which is mounted a birdcage that contains two tiny birds. As the arm rotates, a stylus shoots out from time to time down and back up parallel to the arm, forming ellipses. I liked this, and when what appeared to be the artist, whom I'd seen crouching by the paper(?) on the floor, was free, I asked if this was his, and which brother he is. It was indeed his, and he was David, a slite young man with lots of curly, dark-blond hair and, I think, blue eyes. He explained that the stylus moves into action when the birds chirp, and thus the birds effectively draw the lines (actively when they chirp; passively, when their silence leaves the stylus making circles where it came to rest alongside the rotating arm). Lisa realized then that the wire leading from the birdcage must be connected to a microphone to pick up the bird's chirps. And so it is. I was surprised that the little babies weren't scared out of their tiny bird minds by the flashing movement of the stylus, and David confirmed that they can get a bit stressed, so he had stopped the machine for them to rest — which incidentally simplified my task in fotograffing them.
They are zebra finches. I said that George Jefferson wouldn't like that, but he didn't catch the reference. Kids. I explained, but it appeared to make no impression. Jeez. The Jeffersons is on TV still, over 20 years after its heyday, if late at nite on Channel 11 over-air and TV Land on cable. Ah, well. The zebra finches are cute little birdies. Craig like birdies.
This second mechanical sculpture (I don't know why so many of my pix that nite are fuzzy) is a Wind Drawing Machine, not kinetic here for lack of wind. I suggested Lisa blow on the fan to make it move. She declined. Besides, due to space limitations (Red Saw is a small venue), David hadn't placed any paper on the floor for the machine to draw on.
David is from Cleveland, where he went to college. I asked, "Case Western?" (I had a friend who taught German there, back in the day.) He said "Cleveland Institute of Art". When I checked that in Wikipedia, it turned out originally to have been the Western Reserve School of Design for Women. So I wasn't wildly off, tho the two institutions are apparently not related. FYI, the "Western Reserve" is a historical oddity most Americans know nothing about. It seems that Connecticut, a small state, had great territorial ambitions and was not willing to be hemmed in by New York State to its west and south, but wanted to expand into the north of what is now Pennsylvania, part of the Delaware River Valley in New Jersey, and a strip the height of Connecticut's main body across the north of Ohio. "Beyond Ohio the claim included parts of what would become Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California," all on the basis of a British royal land grant of 1663. Puritans from Connecticut also established Newark, in 1666. Very busy guys, those Connecticut...ters. (Wikipedia shows "Connecticuter", but that's unphonetic. There should be a double-T. But, then, what can you expe(c)t of a state with a silent-C?)
This third sculpture by David Shingler is a Water Drawing Instrument. I didn't pursue how it was supposed to work, but he said it is bobbing in the waters of Lake Erie in the foto at bottom right, which is how the subject of Cleveland came up. In the background, mostly blocked, is one of his brother Stephen's paintings.
I'm not sure I found out why the Shinglers are exhibiting in Newark, but I'm glad of it. Newark should be a focus for artists from everywhere, not just this vicinity. If I did get that information, I forgot it. If Lisa sees this and remembers, she should let me know and I will replace this wondering with that info.
Here we see three of the fotos by Dave Long in the smaller of Red Saw's public spaces, the Reception Room.
I told David that I like Cleveland, because, like Newark, it's a comeback city, tho Cleveland, which was when I was a child one of the 10 largest cities in the Nation, has come back farther, with some buildings now taller than Terminal Tower, which had been for decades the tallest building outside New York. I told Lisa that if she ever gets to Cleveland, she should look for a terrific indoor market in what I thought had been a railroad station and has a wonderful vaulted brick ceiling. It's the West Side Market, David volunteered. (It turns out that I was mixing up Cleveland's indoor market with Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, another wonderful place.)
I didn't realize until I reviewed my fotos later that there is only one picture in which the other brother, Stephen's, works show at all, and that is only in the background of the Water Drawing Instrument cluster. All of Stephen's works at Red Saw are members of his "Black Mineral Series", which appear to be monochrome blotchy/crystalline designs on a plain white background. Sorry. I guess I was distracted by the three-dimensionality and kineticism of David's works. Shiny. Birdies.
Painting at LIT's 11 Halsey Street space, the third foto from last Friday's placeholder. This reminds me of the Ghanaian Glass Beads exhibition at the Newark Museum.
Ingé was tired and hungry, having worked all day, and wasn't in the mood for a poetry reading. I'm retired and Lisa is studying at Bloomfield College and not working aside from that, so we were inclined to check out the poetry. So I left Lisa at Red Saw for a bit, and drove Ingé thru the rain back to her car in the One Newark Center garage, then returned to Red Saw and found a parking place close by. Lisa and I then walked to the Liberation In Truth venue, which has various artworks onsite.
Here we see a sculptural assemblage of cellphones and such on a painted backboard in the LIT space, "Can you hear me now?", by Shonda Nicholas. She describes it as "a lil critique of the cell phone industry and the voices of radical women that often go unheard."
spiritually affirming to all people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. It is our belief, that ALL people have access to the love of God. When we arrived, some women were setting up for the poetry reading, but they told us the poets were not yet there. We looked at the art but couldn't wait an indeterminate time because we still had places to go.
I wanted to show Lisa the paintings by Marco Muñoz in 27 Mix, and on the way we saw this decorated aboveground tank (for heating oil?). I didn't take pix in 27 Mix, because it was in full swing with the dinner rush, and I wouldn't presume to intrude.
After Lisa saw cozy 27 Mix and Marco's paintings, we returned to my car past the mural on the Hahne Building. She couldn't make any sense of the rightmost panel either, and agreed that the second from rightmost panel seemed more sophisticated than the others. Then we headed for Jersey City. Newark Art Supply had sent me an email that included mention of a show by Newark artist Kevin Darmanie at 143 Christopher Columbus Drive in J.C.: "'A Fool in the Eyes of GOD' — One man Show!", curated by Nyugen Smith. I hadn't known in advance whether Ingé or Lisa would be up to venturing all the way to J.C., so hadn't Mapquested a route. As it happened, Ingé was not up to the trip but Lisa was, but we weren't sure how to get there. I figured the best way to go was probably to head over the Jackson Street Bridge into Harrison and follow Harrison Avenue, which turns into Newark Avenue and goes all the way into downtown J.C. So that's the way we went. There was bad flooding on the roadway, heavy rain, and bad visibility (I guess I need new windshield wipers, and the defroster blast was barely keeping the inside of the windshield free of fog). Lisa had found at Red Saw a Jersey City art-events brochure that had a map of downtown J.C., and she was doing the navigating, to the extent either of us had any idea where we were at any given time, since only downtown J.C. appeared on the map. I pulled out my compass, which I thought was supposed to be backlited but wasn't. Weak battery? For some reason, I was visualizing things entirely wrong, putting Jersey City's waterfront on the west, as tho it were Manhattan, but Lisa had things straight. Thank goodness. When we were well into downtown J.C., we stopped a passing gent and asked him where Christopher Columbus was, and we were only a block from it!
Two paintings by Mey-Mey Lim in lobby of an office building in downtown Jersey City. This was the fourth foto in last Friday's placeholder.
We had misidentified which of the numbered orange squares on the map represented the locus of the Kevin Darmanie show, so when we found that dot, it was somebody else's art show! So we saw an additional show in an additional venue. The woman whose show it was, Mey-Mey Lim, was very friendly, tho she didn't know where 143 CCD was. We chatted with her and she gave me permission to take some pix, including the next two, that include her.
Here we see a painting of a boat on the Yangtze River as Ms. Lim remembered it from a trip to China with her parents. I assume that "Lim" is her last name. I once knew a woman named Lim Kwee Lee, from Singapore. Her surname was Lim, but she listed herself in the Manhattan telephone directory under Lee. When her parents tried to find her number, they couldn't, because they were looking under "Lim"!
Mey-Mey Lim is a New Jersey artist born in Michigan of Overseas Chinese ancestry, whose parents are from Indonesia. She was showing several paintings in the lobby of an office building near the J.C. waterfront, rather unusual in subject matter for a woman artist, mechanical objects and worksites. Her website says: "In my art, I like to capture the beauty in mundane objects & places. Different mediums allow me to express different ideas."
Mey-Mey is a diminutive young woman. I don't know that she'll like this foto of herself, since she seems a bit grim, but I like the perspective on her various paintings.
Lisa consulted the map and, overleaf, the key to the dots, and found the right dot for 143 CCD, so we bid Ms. Lim goodnite and headed out. We negotiated the one-way streets and found a parking space only a couple of blocks distant. It turns out that there were three different shows in the same low-rise building, the Grassroots Arts Facility. The first floor (the Toy Eaters Studio) hosted a group show, very crowded with visitors.
Tho I am interested in New Jersey arts generally, my first interest is in showcasing Newark artists and art venues. So altho Lisa and I made a quick circuit of the first-floor show, we were intent on finding the Darmanie show. I did rather like these two works, however. I have no idea whose they are.
This was the fifth foto in last Friday's placeholder entry.
We headed upstairs and finally found Kevin Darmanie's one-man show on the second floor (the Lex Leonard Gallery). I saw what I thought was the artist himself when we first arrived, but he disappeared shortly thereafter behind a curtain to have something to eat.
Note the irony of the giant rendering of the word "Humble". Remember when a lot of Esso stations turned into Humble stations? I always found amusing the signs proclaiming pridefully, "Humble"!
Rupert Ravens, whom we had first run into at Red Saw, had found his way to Kevin's show, and when I mentioned that I had hoped to get a picture of Kevin alongside his self-portrait but he had disappeared behind the curtain, Rupert, who knew Kevin, pulled the curtain aside and called to him, whereupon he graciously consented to appear in the following foto.
This was the sixth foto in the placeholder entry.
Rupert also mentioned that he had gotten feedback from people about seeing fotos of works at his gallery, the largest in Newark, on this blog first. I called Lisa over, 'cause I wanted her to hear this so she knew I wasn't just boasting emptily if I passed along that comment. He said plainly (approximate quote): "People from all over the world have told me that they saw pictures of my gallery 'on this wonderful blog, "Newark USA"'." And you thought this was only hyperlocal blogging.
Lisa stands by one of Kevin's works that I liked. The little dark-yellow rectangles contain narrative. (The sign on the right indicates something we were by then in need of, a restroom.)
In an alcove at the back of the room appears this group of four small works on a door.
Opposite that door is a stock of teeshirts. The dialog balloon coming down from the artist says "I SHOULDA BEEN A MUSICIAN!"
Looking forward from that alcove, we see that the crowd, which was sparse when we arrived, had filled in by the time we were ready to go.
Before we headed out, I walked to the third floor to see if there was anything there. There was, a one-man show by Gordon Fraser. The foto of the artist alongside his one large blue-dominant painting was the seventh foto in the placeholder entry, and the last from Friday. (The eighth (last) foto in the placeholder entry is from Saturday, to be discussed in a future blog entry.)
Most of the paintings in Gordon's show were of redder shades. He explained that the works were inspired by the human form, but do not specifically represent it. Tho in person he does not seem affected, his website uses the detestable British affectation "Watercolours". No, Mr. Fraser, there is no U in "color".
Here, Lisa views others of Fraser's paintings.
Rupert Ravens used to live in Jersey City but had the good sense to move to Newark, and wants now to bring more artists here. That would seem a good thing for artists as well as for Newark, in that an item I see online suggests that artists are being pushed out of J.C. by luxury housing. By contrast, some people in Newark are going out of their way to bring artists in (as to the new luxury highrise tower going up opposite NJPAC, which reserves 20% of units for artists). Rupert had pointed out the window to a mural on the side of a building on the opposite side of the street and down 100 feet or so, and said that he coordinated its creation by a number of artists. At 15,000 square feet, it was at the time it was completed, about 10 years ago, the largest mural in New Jersey. In chatting with Gordon Fraser, I mentioned that, and he said that there had been an arson fire in the building on which the mural was painted, which produced a hole in the painting. So as Lisa and I left the building, we looked at the mural and saw that the hole is not very large, tho there seemed, in the darkness, to be some smoke damage to the upper portions. I took a couple of pix but they didn't turn out well.
I guess I'd have to take a foto in the daytime, but it's in Jersey City, and my focus is Newark.
I had asked Rupert how to get back to Newark, and he said that all the streets running straight out directly from the side of the building we were on should take us to Route 1-9, and we tried that but none of the streets ran all the way thru. So we zigzagged and got lost again! Fortunately, Lisa's sense of direction and my compass, plus a bit of luck, took us to Newark Avenue and thence back the way we came. Had the sun been out, I'd have been able to dead-reckon my way back, but at nite, my sense of direction failed completely. Lisa's, however, held.
And that was our arts nite out on the town(s).
P.S. The Emperors' Club prostitution ring that has brought Elliot Spitzer low was run out of a 12th floor apartment in Cliffside Park — New Jersey! I'm so proud. New Jersey: Homebase of Hyper-High-Priced Hookers! Skanks 'R' Us. Well, they may be skanks, but they're astronomically expensive skanks.