JERSEY CITY, NJ.- Fantastical landscapes, battered and burned pianos and sofas, and utopia are all part of Jersey City Museums new exhibitions, that just opened at Jersey City Museum: Exhibition Gallery Unmaking: the Work of Raphael Montañez Ortiz (2/15 8/26/07); Downstairs Project Gallery Jon Rappleye: Out of the Silent Planet (2/15 8/19/07); Permanent Collection Galleries -- Perspectives II: Then & Now (thru 8/19/07); Guest Artist to Permanent Collection: Emma Wilcox: Forensic Landscapes (2/15 8/18/07); 1 x1 Series of Contemporary Art (artists presenting works exhibited outside the galleries); Atrium Lizzie Scott: Window/Wall (2/15 8/12/07); Atrium 2nd floor Iván Navarro: Large Wall Hole (2/15 8/26/07); Sound Station -- Micah Silver: Be Still, Take Up as Much Space as Possible (2/15 9/16/07); Museum Window Kayt Hester Lent: Black Tape (2/15 8/12/07); JCM Media Zone (video on 4 screens ) Barbara Bickart: Careful (2/15 5/13/07).
Art historian and archaeologist George Kubler once noted that a work of art is as useless as a tool is useful. This question of the functional aspect of objects and art is an essential part the new exhibition, Unmaking: The Work of Raphael Montañez Ortiz. For the first two decades of his long and prolific career, Ortiz rendered useful things like mattresses, sofas, chairs, shoes, and even paper towels useless, transforming them into destructive works of sculpture that addressed the wrenching debates of the period, such as war and an increase in violence worldwide.
In addition to sculpture, Unmaking features Ortizs earliest video works from the late 1950s, his computer generated videos of the 1980s, and his most recent vinyl digital paintings. Also included is an early abstract painting by the artist that has not been seen publicly since the 1960s. Raphael Montañez Ortiz is currently a professor at Mason Gross School of the Arts of Rutgers University, and Unmaking is a tribute to his lifes work and his significance to the region and in the history of American art.
Unmaking: The Work of Raphael Montañez Ortiz and related programs are sponsored by a generous grant from JPMorgan Chase.
In our first floor Project Gallery you will enter a whole new world created by Jersey City artist Jon Rappleye. For Out of the Silent Planet, a title borrowed from a book by C.S. Lewis, Rappleyes large-scale landscape paintings express the artists sheer awe of nature in scenes reminiscent of science fiction art, with exotic creatures and mystical trees populating craggy lands. Add to the experience sculpted trees inspired by the paintings, and, for the first time ever, sound designed by the artists brother, Austin Rappleye, and you have a world never before explored or experienced at Jersey City Museum.
In our continuing series of 1 x 1 exhibitions, Jersey City artist Kayt Hester Lent greets you on our front window with a large-scale work made entirely of an everyday office toolmasking tape. In the atrium lobby, Barbara Bickarts work Careful occupies all four video screens, and Bickart, also a Jersey City artist, adds to this a sculptural work featured nearby. Replacing Bickarts videos May 16 will be Lili Whites The Balloon Garden on our large screen, and URBAN IMAGE: Truth, Lies, and Secrets in our three-screen Media Zone. Under the museums grand staircasea wall space dedicated to art for the first timeis a new fabric work by Lizzie Scott titled Window/Wall. The second floor Sound Station features a retrospective of experimental recordings by Micah Silver, Curator of Music at the Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. And on the second floor Iván Navarro presents Large Wall Hole, a sculpture that gives the impression of an endless, vacant space in the middle of a museum wall.
The new Permanent Collection exhibition for 2006-2007 is Perspectives II: Then & Now. As a new curatorial twist, the Jersey City Museums education department selected works to tell a whole new story about the collection. Chosen themes for the exhibition are People, Home Life, the City and Industry, Nature, and Utopia. Historic and contemporary works juxtaposed illustrate how the same idea unites works of art over various time periods.