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SPRAWL, (RE)possessed, and FIRST LOOK
Valeri Larko, Convergence, 2007, 48 x 96 in. Courtesy of the artist

JERSEY CITY, NJ.- Jersey City Museum is pleased to unveil their brand new Spring 2008 Exhibitions during an opening reception, taking place on Thursday, March 20th at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public and features the diverse artwork of over 50 artists from both the local area and beyond.

In collaboration with several participating New Jersey venues, Jersey City Museum has organized SPRAWL, a bold exhibition that brings together work by statewide artists to focus on New Jersey's legacy of ‘sprawl’. The exhibition examines the effects on urban, suburban, rural and marginalized landscapes. An extensive lineup of exclusively New Jersey artists, 42 at Jersey City Museum alone, is being featured throughout the state in each of the shows. Artists were invited to create works in any media that addressed sprawl and its varying effects on the rapidly changing, post-industrial landscape of New Jersey. Examples include housing projects, interstates, urban detritus, abandoned buildings, roadside motels, garden ornaments and wildlife.

Curator, Rocio Aranda-Alvarado, sees the exhibition as a way to connect emerging and established contemporary art sites throughout the state and to also reach a larger audience. Dr. Aranda-Alvarado says, "This topic is more relevant than ever, and so many of our best artists are obsessed with landscape here in New Jersey, from the kitsch to the poetic. It's a legacy that deserves our attention."

(RE)possessed features the work of renowned fiber artist Xenobia Bailey accompanied by the fantastic chandeliers of Dorian Webb, a decorative tea set by Barbara Garnes, a collection of fine African teas by Caranda Fine Foods and a haunting soundscape by jazz musician, Rene McLean. Working together, these artists have transformed the museum’s Project Gallery into an intimate and enchanting “urban tea ceremony with a twist.”

Organized in conjunction with SPRAWL, Hummer: Ryan Roa Edition features New Jersey artist Ryan Roa’s larger-than-life-size sculpture of a Hummer, constructed entirely from plywood. To create the piece, Roa relied on impromptu sketches of parked Hummers that he made onsite rather than using any actual measurements. Roa’s piece has made its home, impressively and as if simply parked, in the museums second floor Atrium Gallery.

New 1x1 Projects include Carson Fox’s Bonné Boche, featuring the artist's resin and acrylic flowers, which colorfully adorn the museum’s entrance. Amy Wilson: Please Pay Attention Please consists of Wilson’s watercolor images of young girls floating through delicate landscapes as well as opinionated statements about society, politics, gender, economics, class and the workings of governments. New 1x1 MediaWorks include Francisca Benitez’s 450 W 42, a silent film of the artists which depicts a metaphorical and poetic consideration of environment. The Films of Martha Colbun, saturated with vivid color, addresses weighty contemporary issues such as war and society’s obsessions with surface and appearance. At the museums Sound Station, Josef Reyes’ and Tyson Throne’s recordings, Traversing Newark Avenue present sounds that are heard throughout the hour-long trip and evoke the street itself as well as the nature of Jersey City's various populations.

Also on view is FIRST LOOK, an exhibition which presents highlights from the museum’s 10,000 piece permanent collection and features The Parlor, a re-creation of a sitting room as it might have looked in a turn-of-the-century Jersey City Home. Complimenting the exhibition, Jason Watson’s multi-media drawing, A Second Look is inspired by historical photographs in the museum’s collection.

The new exhibitions will be on view at Jersey City Museum thru August 24th. SPRAWL, A fully illustrated catalog with essays by Dr. Aranda-Alvarado and other scholars will be available in the museum Gift Shop.

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