I went to the New Jersey Flower Show at Raritan Center on Sunday, and on the way back tried to dead reckon my way to the Walmart in Kearny. (I have lots of pix of the flower show, but the accompanying text is not ready yet.) I figured that since Route 1 goes all the way up to Maine, I should intersect Harrison Avenue or Newark Avenue (whichever it's called at that point) if I just stayed on 1-9 beyond where I would ordinarily turn off for 21/McCarter Highway. Unfortunately, it was dark by then, I couldn't see street signs, and I got lost. But I decided to regard it as exploring. I found myself at Paterson Plank Road and Central Avenue in J.C. What should I see there but this very large metal sculpture, some 15 feet or more in length.
I was startled,and delited, so found a parking place nearby and took some fotos. It reminded me of the sculpture outside the Rodino Federal Office Building in Downtown Newark. I didn't see a plaque by the Jersey City statue to compare artists. Then again, there was no plaque by the Rodino sculpture either. Still, maybe artist info about both sculptures is available online somewhere.
I tried flash to see if I could get more detail. It did show somewhat more detail, but looked very different. The first foto is more like what it looks like in the regular streetliting.The sculpture is at a point at the northwestern end of Jersey City's Washington Park. I didn't know J.C. had a Washington Park, but do now.
Today, after tending to most of the things I have to do on the computer every day, I turned on TV and chanced upon an episode of State of the Arts, the New Jersey Network's program about NJ arts, called "Art in the Public Square" and watched it in hopes of seeing that sculpture and hearing the artist identified.
The program spent a couple of minutes at the beginning on the restoration of Cass Gilbert's Old Essex County Courthouse here in Newark, and some time later, on some works by Mac Adams, including his blue, metal ribbon sculpture on the wall of UMDNJ's Ambulatory Care Center on Bergen Street opposite the Pathmark. I have shown pix of that sculpture here, day (September 20, 2008) and nite (September 30th). But I hadn't heard it explained until that NJN show, which referred to its not having been unveiled to the public yet, as of 2005. So I realized that the program was produced in 2005. If the J.C. sculpture were installed after that, it couldn't have been included even if the producers admired it. In any case, Adams explained that the ribbon combined three ideas, the life line in palmistry, the double helix in DNA, and a river. Ah, so.
This is a wide view in available lite of the J.C. sculpture down its axis, from the north. The next was taken with flash, with less than satisfactory results.The NJN program showed a number of other public art projects and spoke to some other artists about how they work. One of the projects is an Atlantic City monument to the national black civil-rights movement. Rutgers-Newark history professor Clement Price speaks to what seems to have been his role in the creation of that monument. Why it's in Atlantic City seems not to have been addressed.
In describing that monument, the female narrator refers to cooperation of an artist and "an historian". What an idiot. "An historian", "an historic", etc., are profoundly stupid, pretentious misuses of language. "An" is properly used ONLY before a vowel sound. In "an historian", the H is pronounced, and it is a consonant, so "an" is just plain wrong. I know a lot of people have been led to believe that in combination with "historic" or even "historian", "an" is permissible, even expected. But if you don't say "an history" — and nobody does — don't say "an historic". It's just stupid.
Another irritating feature of the State of the Arts program is that at some points, the background music became too much like foreground, nearly drowning out the things that various people were saying. Film schools have got to stop teaching documentarians to put music into everything, and assuredly must warn them to make sure that such music as is employed is never so loud that it competes with the words that convey the information at the heart of the documentary.
Then I adjusted the white balance to incandescent lite, with a much happier result.
The show mentions that the '1% program' — that is, dedication of 1% of the construction budget for government buildings to public art — originated in the City of Philadelphia in 1958, and the entire State of New Jersey followed suit 20 years later, 1978. I wonder if there's a Newark City citizens' commission that deals with such public art for construction in Newark. I might like to serve on that.
In any case, both the NJN website and TVGuide.com say that "Art in the Public Square" will be shown again this Thursday. It's worth seeing. If you haven't already seen it and will be available to watch for a half hour starting at 5pm on channel 50-2, you can see it on TV. Or you can watch either a preview or the entire show online.
By the way, I did eventually find Newark Avenue, but for some insane reason, it turned one-way eastbound just west of "India Square", so I couldn't take it to Kearny, much less to Newark, which the name of the street indicates you should be able to get to by following it. So I gave up and went home. This state does insane things with roads.