So Long!

Well, this is it. The end of my “South Jersey” Arts blog. I am fully aware that this blog contained many posts unrelated to South Jersey, but I took a lot of pleasure working on them regardless. I don’t think I will continue this blog, as I am not a South Jersey native, but perhaps eventually I will get back into blogging about art. I really enjoyed making posts about events and getting to know people relating to visual arts.

With this blog, I’ve learned a lot in not only reporting through a blog, but getting to know people too and I am sure that this blog has helped me to learn new skills and improve upon myself.

While I do know many of my posts did not include South Jersey, I’m glad my final post did. Working on it also made me feel a sense of pride with what I have done with this blog.

If anyone finds this blog after today, here are some of my best posts to check out:

Interview with Mary Salvante
Rowan University Students Protest
Audio Interview with Natalie Hernandez
Video Profile of Natalie Hernandez
The Original Artists of the SOHO 20


The Original Artists of SOHO 20 at Rowan University

Spanning a nearly three month time span of May 4th to July 27th of 2019, Rowan University’s Art Gallery will be having a new exhibition titled Women Defining Themselves, showcasing art from the original SOHO 20.

The description of the new exhibition placed by the entrance of the Rowan University Art Gallery. It gives the names of all the artists involved in the exhibition, as well as why their works together are significant.

The SOHO 20 was an art gallery exhibition that strictly showed the works of 20 women. The exhibition presented in the Rowan University Art Gallery commemorates the 45th anniversary of the art gallery. These artists exude feminism in their works and beliefs, leading the women’s artistic movement in the 1970’s.

This work is titled “Self Portrait after Mastectomy” by Joan Gleukman. Many of her later works were often inspired by her battle with breast cancer, which she tragically lost in 1978.
These photographs are other works by Jean Gleukman. She was heavily inspired by breast cancer and mastectomies. The balloons photographed in the images symbolize the breasts of women and the deflated dark balloons hang up represent the breasts lost to cancer and mastectomies.

The works on display are heavily influenced by the lives of each artist, making the exhibition that much more personal and individualized.

This work is titled “Scarlet Sentinels” by artist Halina Rusak. This work of hers, while simple is very commemorative of her life, as these are poppy flowers from her native home country of Belarus that she had been forced to flee because of Nazi occupation in the country.
This work is titled “Touring” by Cynthia Mailman. Many of her own works are inspired by her travels and many of them are from her perspective in the passenger’s seat. Her works showcase the culmination of nature and technology, as highways stretch through lush fields to let cars and other forms of transport pass through.
This needlework of a penis is titled “Erect Points #1” by Joan Gluekman. Like many of Gleukman’s works, this one is to make a statement about gender, as needleworks were seen as a domestic skill of women.
This work is titled “Cronus #1” by Eunice Golden. Golden’s works were filled with erotic themes. The characters of Cronus, Ouranos, and Aphrodite have a connection with genitalia and sexuality that Golden portrays in her works. She also wanted to display the power of the male body that has a dependency on a female audience.
This is a video titled “Blue Bananas and Other Meats” by artist Eunice Golden. The video is simply a penis getting covered and decorated by various food items, symbolizing sexuality and sexual desires.
This work by Marge Helenchild is titled “Vulva Hammock.” The display, at first looks like a normal small hammock in the middle of the gallery, but upon closer inspection, it reveals itself to be a very large depiction of a vulva, the opening of a vagina. In all honesty, it does look very comfortable.
This painting by Sylvia Sleigh is of 19 members of the SOHO 20, excluding Morgan Sanders. While the entire painting consists of two canvases to fit all the women, it is extraordinary to see a large and powerful group of women seeking to make a difference for their time, the 1970’s. Unfortunately, some members of the SOHO 20 have passed already, including Joan Gluekman who died in 1978 to breast cancer and Halina Rusak in 2000.

While the exhibition is open until the end of July, make sure to check it out while it’s still there and see these beautiful and powerful works of art for yourself!

Upcoming Art Events in the Philadelphia Area

Beginning on April 16th, you can find the events at the Philadelphia Museum of Art website:

The Impressionist’s Eye will only be available from April 16th to April 18th, where the works of Impressionist Artists like Monet, Cassatt, and Van Gogh will be on display. The works will consist of not only paintings by these artists, but sculptures and paper works as well.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will also be premiering Yoshitoshi: Spirit and Spectacle. Spanning also from April 16th through the 18th, this exhibition will display the works of Yoshitoshi, a Japanese artist from the late 1800’s who is known to be “the last great master of the traditional Japanese woodblock print.”

Another local arts museum in the Philadelphia area is the Institute of Contemporary Arts, which have upcoming exhibitions beginning April 26th.

Deborah Anzinger: An Unlikely Birth will display the works of Jamaican artist Deborah Anzinger and will include “sculpture, video, painting, and installation, combining both synthetic and living materials, to consider geographical, ecological, and spatial paradigms.” The exhibition will be ending on August 11th of this year. This will be Anzinger’s first US solo museum exhibition.

Premiering also on the 26th is Colored People Time: Quotidian Pasts. This exhibition will feature “the trafficking of blackness through the colonial practices of collecting, commodifying, and exhibiting people and objects from the African continent.” It will also run through August 11th.

Audio Interview with Art Major Student, Natalie Hernandez of BMCC

It seems that as time moves on, more and more younger people are getting into the visual arts, not just as a hobby, but even considering to implement art into their future and seek out creative professions.

Natalie Hernandez is a sophomore pursuing an Art Major in Borough of Manhattan Community College. Art has always been compelling to her, as while she is taking an Art Major in college now, she went to an art-specialized high school in New York City called the High School of Art and Design. As of right now, she is uncertain with what she would like to do as a career, but she has considered becoming an art teacher for high school or even a tattoo artist.

Currently, while she has been studying at BMCC for art and taking classes to further her skills such as Painting and Sculpting classes, she is looking into more art-specialized colleges to transfer to, like the School of Visual Arts or the Pratt Institute.

While Hernandez does enjoy making art and mainly uses it to expand her own creativity and ideas, she realizes how important art is in the world and how it may affect societal issues, as she explains in the interview I had with her.

Natalie Hernandez carefully working on a project in class. (Photo Credit: Bell Campbell)

Rowan University Students Protest Against A Hate Group on Campus

A large student-run protest that lasted multiple hours on the Glassboro campus of Rowan University started when a hate group began carrying signs with heinous messages and preaching messages like “women belong in the kitchen” and “obey Jesus or hellfire.”

A Gay Pride flag is held up high contrasting the sign the preaches a hateful message. (Photo Credit: Melissa Luna/2019)

When asked about the situation and the protest, these Rowan students had this to say:

“The response from Rowan students has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. I think the fact that they are here as a scam group that promotes a hate message purely to entice people to respond in a violent way and to sue because of that is absolutely disgusting. And the fact that they’re willing to say anything for money shows a lot about their character.” Theodore Burns, 22.

“I feel like this campus has needed something like this for a long time because we have a lot of students in the LGBT community that have tried to make strides and have never broken through like this. I’m sad that it took bigotry to make that happen but I’m glad that we’re finally realizing that this campus is a lot more diverse than a lot of us thought, which is a good sign for the future. And I hope we can take this and keep rolling with it.” Andrew Louis, 23.

“It’s ridiculous. They’re allowed to be here, but they don’t have a purpose to be here. Our school community is too diverse. That’s what Rowan’s about.” A 22-year-old student.

Paddy Johnson of “ArtFCity” Tells Us Her Experience of Writing for Art

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to Paddy Johnson, Editorial Director and Founder of art commentary blog,

Johnson, who is 43-years-old, grew up in Guelph, Ontario but is now an art critic for New York City’s art scene. She began ArtFCity in 2005 and her reasoning was that she thought “there was a need for more criticism in art that people would read.” Though she doesn’t find the blog challenging to maintain, she understands that maintaining a blog takes up people’s free time and that many don’t have the free time necessary to consistently run a blog.

Johnson also has a background in art, earning an MFA in the arts, which is a part of what draws her to the art scene in the first place, as well as creating her own art. “It gives you a kind of investment you might not otherwise have,” she told me in our interview, which I can certainly relate to. “You think about the art that you make in a more serious way.” She also adds that before making ArtFCity, she hadn’t been looking as much art as she’d like, but now the blog is a good way to keep her informed of new art. Along with that, Johnson expressed that feedback is another thing that motivates bloggers to continue their work and how she can relate to that as well, “I like getting feedback, I like when people respond to work and to the things I have to say.”

When discussing blogs and the role blogging should or perhaps would play in the future, Johnson began by saying “the Golden Years of blogging is done” and how blogs are less prevalent in today’s media. She then goes on to talk about how though media such as blogging have begun to diminish, many have grown to take it’s place, one of which is podcasting. Paddy has her own podcast as well, called Explain Me, which “talks about the latest art news and exhibitions through the lens of politics, money and the moral of responsibility of artists.”

Finally, when it comes to giving advice to new bloggers, Johnson had this to say:

“It’s important to treat your blog like a job and to understand that you are a journalist. In my opinion, the definition between journalism and blogging and influencers and Instagrammers and Tweeters is rather blurry…On one hand, the simplest definition is a professional is someone who makes money off of it…One of the things I’m most concerned about is the importance of being honest. We live in a time where there’s a lot of pressure to turn around copy pretty quickly and not everybody can do that. We live in a time where mistakes get amplified in a way that is not healthy. And we also live in a time where people are not always acting in good faith. You research as deeply as you can. You are always curious and I think if you’re not curious, you should quit. Journalism, blogging, writing, being a public figure; it comes with responsibility, and those with responsibility are not to be taken lightly. So I think it’s really important that honesty and transparency are amongst the form of guiding principles for anybody, no matter what they do and no matter what shame it may bring them. Because sometimes, being a public figure means you make mistakes and the best thing to do when that happens, not just for you but for the industry as a whole is to not to dig your heels in, but admit the error and move on.”

Internal Installations at MOMA PS1

Art galleries often take advantage of their location and space in order to work with the installations they have displayed. But the MOMA PS1 art space has long-term installations that mingle and interact with the actual building.

A phrase printed on the entrance doors of the MOMA PS1 made by Lawrence Weiner. “A bit of matter and a little bit more.”
An overlooked, minuscule installation inside the floorboards by the entrance of the MOMA PS1. In this little hole in the floorboards, a 60-minute video plays of a nude woman in Hell yelling, “You are the flower, I am the worm, help me!” in four different languages; English, French, Italian, and German. This installation, named “Selbstlos im Lavabad,” or “Selfless in the Bath of Lava,” was made by Swiss artist, Pippilotti Rist.
This piece is found in the basement of the MOMA PS1. It is of the boiler room embellished in gold, as the artist, Saul Melman, saw the room as the “heart of the building,” and titles the installation, “Central Governor.” Inside of the boiler, in the middle section is a mirror that looks out towards the rest of the room.
An untitled piece located in the staircase of the MOMA PS1 made by Alexis Rockman of rat holding a child’s abandoned shoe.
A neutral, unassuming shape made by Richard Artschwager that he calls “blps.” Not only has he scattered these shapes around the MOMA PS1, but they are also scattered across New York City. What he wanted to do with his “blps” was to have an audience notice what usually goes unseen.
An assortment of various graffiti found on the underside of a staircase in the MOMA PS1. The massive amounts of graffiti found on the undersides of the MOMA PS1 staircases also show the creative freedom artists are given to make their mark in the museum.
A large section of graffiti that reads “Nuke York,” along with a tiny reply beneath it that reads “So original!”
A display of “SKOYA” pasted on metallic pipes and fixtures found in the staircase of the MOMA PS1. SKOYA, or Skoya Assémat-Tessandier, is a French artist who has left their own mark in the staircases of the museum.
This installation, created by Alan Saret, is a hole, located on the third floor of the MOMA PS1. He chiseled into the wall using a hammer to create a hole that is small enough to shine a light ray that flows through the museum hallway and big enough to be seen on the external building wall, in between the M and A of the “MOMA PS1” sign.

If ever visiting the MOMA PS1, take your time to not just check out the public exhibitions, but every hidden nook and cranny in the building. You may find something you wouldn’t be expecting to see.

Upcoming Events in the South Jersey Area

Interested in viewing the local art scene as it flourishes in real times? Or how about checking out what Rowan University will be displaying next for the Arts? This blog will have you covered in what to check out in all things art!

March 14: Susan Sterner’s Estoy Por Aquí / I Am Here Exhibition Opens

On Thursday, March 14 at 5p.m., The Center for Art and Social Engagement hosts the Opening Reception for Susan Sterner’s exhibition called Estoy Por Aquí / I Am Here. The exhibition “is an ongoing project exploring the challenges and contexts of women working in the informal economy of central El Salvador and the political and social upheaval that has fed a multigenerational cycle of emigration and fractured families.” The opening reception will be in Room 110 in Westby Hall on Rowan University’s campus.

March 14: The Sister Chapel Opens with a Refreshed Installation

The Sister Chapel, an art installation containing works that display “uniform dimensions for the figure paintings and agreed that each canvas would depict a standing female ‘role model,’” will be opening with a refreshed installation. The idea for the The Sister Chapel was first devised in 1974 but did not debut until 1978, four years later. The Sister Chapel is also located at Rowan University’s Westby Hall.

March 27: In Conversation with the Artist

Beginning on February 11 at Rowan University’s Art Gallery was Ebony G. Patterson’s exhibit, If We Must Die… which showcased works “[relating] to youth culture within disenfranchised communities…[addressing] violence, masculinity, “bling,” visibility and invisibility within the post-colonial context of her native Jamaica and within black youth culture globally.” On an upcoming Wednesday, March 27th, at 5p.m. however, Rowan University Art Gallery will be hosting an In Conversation with the Artist, where visitors can speak with Patterson about her works. The event will be located at Rowan University Art Gallery.

April 5: Pitman Gallery and Art Center’s Opening Reception of “Morris Shulman & Co: From Mosquito Notch to Bohemian Paradise”

Shulman, Morris. View Toward Gull Point (Monhegan). 1948. Casein on paper.

Next month, on Friday, April 5th, from 7-10p.m., Pitman Gallery and Art Center will be hosting a reception for their newest exhibition, “Morris Shulman & Co: From Mosquito Notch to Bohemian Paradise.” The works will be of Morris Shulman, an abstract expressionist born in 1912.

A Look Into the South Jersey Art Scene with Mary Salvante

This past weekend I got the the opportunity to contact Mary Salvante, the curator of the Rowan University Art Gallery. I was able to ask her about the local art scene and her own experience as she has been working in the art scene for the last 20 years.

Q: Can you tell me about yourself and your background in art?

A: I am originally from New York and grew up in Long Island. I went to an art school in New York City called School of Visual Arts and was a practicing artist in New York for a number of years. Around 1999, my husband and I moved to Philadelphia. Before that, after college I was working in the city for an art consulting firm. It was a very interesting place, we found art for corporate offices, so we worked with a lot of big companies. We also did a lot of public art projects, working with organizations that wanted to place public art in public spaces. I did that for about 12 years and then in 1999 moved to Philadelphia. Instead of starting a job right away, I decided to go to graduate school at Drexel University in their Arts Administration program. While I was doing that, I decided to start doing a lot of freelance work, a lot of independent curating work, and started a few programs in Philly. One was an Environmental Art program and an Environmental Arts Center. That’s still going, 17 years later. And I started an event called “Art in the Open,” which happens every two years. Along the riverfront, artists come and make art along the pathways through Fairmount Park. Another program I helped expand is Philadelphia Open Studio Tours and worked with a group of people to make that a city-wide event, which is going to be celebrating it’s 20th year. 10 years ago, I got this job, so I’ve been here that long.

Q: So you’ve been working with Rowan University Art Gallery for the past 10 years?

A: Yeah, originally in Westby Hall, there’s an exhibition space that’s over there that’s been closed because we’re redoing the Sister Chapel installation. That gallery over there is where we did all the contemporary art shows and we only showed professional artists. But then when they renovated this building and turned it into a gallery, we moved over here for the contemporary art shows. Now we’re using Westby Hall gallery for our permanent collection. All of the paintings in the Sister Chapel installation are paintings that we own. Now we’re just about to open that space with a re-branding and we’re calling it The Center for Art and Social Engagement. And by doing that, we hope to be working with other units on campus and other academic areas to do interdisciplinary types of programming there.

Q: As the curator of the Rowan University Art Gallery, do you choose who gets to exhibit their work?

A: Yeah. So usually how it works is Jillian, the Assistant Director, and I will talk about the kind of artists that we’re interested in and whose work we’ve seen elsewhere. We’ll come up with a list of artists that we think have similar themes that we’re exploring because what I’ve done for a long time is try to build a season from September to June where we try to have each exhibition somewhat around a similar theme so that visitors could realize all the different diverse ways an artist could approach a single theme. Therefore, have a greater understanding in the different ways an artist can respond to a theme, whether through materials or content. So we’ll build this list and I’ll start to contact them and see if they’re available or if they have work available that they’d like to show here. It takes about a year to put an exhibition together. Once we find an artist that’s available, I’ll start working with them with what actual pieces we want to show.

Q: Are the artists locals from South Jersey or students/graduates from Rowan University?

A: The artists are professional artists from all over. Sometimes they’re from Philadelphia, and sometimes they’re from New York. The artist we have right now is from Jamaica. So we try to bring artists not just from the local area but regionally, nationally, and internationally.

Q: Are there any other galleries in the South Jersey area that speak up on important topics and diverse issues?

A: I think that there are places that will do that. There are a number of places that are more committed to show local artists. The gallery in Pitman for example focuses more on local artists. There’s other schools in the area also have smaller galleries. I think you’d find this kind of content-driven work that we show more common in colleges or universities because it’s an institution of learning. In many ways they’re motivated by the ideas of exposing students to new ideas and issues that happen globally.

Q: With all the narratives being told through exhibitions, do you think art is the best way to express and tell an issue rather than other forms of narratives?

A: That’s an interesting question, I’d like to think so. Because the artist is exploring an idea through imagery, the viewer can approach the idea in their own terms and they can spend as much time with it as they want. Through visual art, it’s not about sharing information, but rather setting up a situation where the viewer can realize something on their own. Hopefully, the viewer can discover an issue through the art. It’s a discipline that isn’t dictating how to experience the information.

Q: Personally, what do you think is the best medium to showcase art in?

A: It depends on what the artist is attempting to communicate what their intentions are. I don’t think there’s a best or one way solution, which is what we try to showcase in the gallery. There’s lots of different ways artists are working to communicate certain ideas. It tells the story in an alternative way, where the viewer can be attracted or not.

Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: New York has gotten really difficult, not just for artists but for young people in general, it’s very expensive. And over the last few years I hear about artists moving from New York to Philadelphia because it’s more affordable. But there’s been other difficulties because there’s not the same kind of gallery scene here. But then on the other hand, what opportunities there are in Philadelphia is the number of artist communities there are. For artists, it’s a challenge to do what you love and survive.