Old in Art School (review)


Nell Painter photograph by John Emerson (image courtesy of Nell Painter)

After retiring as a professor of American history from Princeton University, Nell Painter embarked on a new chapter of her life: to become a practicing artist. Her Ph.D. from Harvard wouldn’t be enough to get her into a good MFA program, so at the age of 64, the author of four books including the New York Times bestseller The History of White People, enrolled as an undergraduate at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers. And while others her age may have been satisfied with taking painting classes through the local community college or continuing ed program (or even at the senior center) Painter applied the earnestness that had driven her through her scholarly career all the way through completion of a BFA at Mason Gross and then an M.F.A. at the Rhode Island School of Design. No little old lady painting flowers in vases is she. (Full story at HYPERALLERGIC)

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Joyce Scott was an Artist in Vitro

KEK4257Sculptor, printmaker, installation artist, performer, quilt maker, storyteller, and jeweler Joyce J. Scott affirms the femininity of her forebears, giving them the finery they deserve,  in Harriet Tubman and Other Truths at Grounds for Sculpture. She describers the installation “Harriet’s Closet” as a “dream boudoir” for Harriet Tubman, the “inner sanctum of a great lady,” with such items as quilts, shawls, hats, beads and a rifle. (Full story at HYPERALLERGIC.)

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Telling the story of Paul Robeson’s Home


Photographer Wendel White shot artifacts unearthed in the Princeton, NJ house where Paul Robeson was born and projects these images against the façade of the house as part of the exhibition Reconstructed History.  Story at HYPERALLERGIC.

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Anatolian recipes tell story of civilization


Anatolian kitchen

Click on image to see video.

It all begins with Aleppo pepper, a key ingredient in Anatolian cuisine—but in rare supply since the Syrian conflict. Peppers were first discovered in the New World and made their way East with Christopher Columbus, from Spain into North Africa and the Ottoman Empire, where growing conditions were ideal. As the peppers cross-bred, new varieties evolved, such as the Aleppo, known for its fruity and bright qualities. As such, it’s even made it back home to the Americas, where it is now sorely missed.

But Joy E. Stocke, co-author with Angie Brenner of “Tree of Life: Turkish Home Cooking” (Burgess Lea Press, 2017), will not be daunted. She experiments with Maras, a Turkish Continue reading

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Simply described, a croque monsieur is a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich, albeit made with French ham and Gruyere. Literally translated as “crunch sir” or “bite (a) man,” the croquet monsieur is as ubiquitous in French cafes as grilled cheese or Ruben sandwiches in American diners.

The croquet monsieur—along with its sister, the croque madame—can now be ordered at Cargot, Princeton’s newest fine dining establishment, as well as other foods that tip Continue reading

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Best View of Trenton’s ‘Central Park’

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There are many ways to get to Trenton’s Cadwalader Park, whether cycling along  the D&R Canal State Park or following the winding path to Ellarslie, the Trenton City Museum.

This summer, Ellarslie has launched an ambitious exhibition, Cadwalader Park: An Olmsted Vision, on view through September 17, with an opening reception Saturday, July 15, 6-9 p.m.

At 109.5 acres, Cadwalader Park is the largest park in the City of Trenton, beloved by those who recall pony rides, picnics, concerts and the balloon man, the monkey house Continue reading

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Stories Waiting to be Told

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ONE summer, while visiting her son, daughter-in-law and grandchild in Italy, Rhoda Kassof-Isaac picked up a stone. In its contours she saw faces: eyes, a high hat, an expressive mouth — people with a story waiting to be told. So the Jungian psychoanalyst and artist  painted a face on the small rock.

“It was just a matter of paying attention to what the stone revealed about itself and then drawing it on,” she says.

Soon, it became an obsession, and she began collecting stones in Switzerland, Germany and New Jersey, including outside Stonebridge at Montgomery, where she lives. “It was so much fun, I would put the stones in my pocket and then work on them while waiting in a Continue reading

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Ceramic Evolution from Toilet and Tea Cup

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From the 19th to the early 20th century, Trenton was one of two major pottery centers in the U.S. (the other being in East Liverpool, Ohio). Its products were shipped all over the country and at its zenith, in the 1920s, Trenton had more than 50 potteries. Everything from teacups to tiles and toilets was made here. Indeed it was in Trenton where the flush mechanism for the toilet was refined.

And while the first bathtub to be installed in the White House was made in Trenton, the capital city also pioneered the development of art porcelain through the introduction in 1882 of “Belleek” china, using techniques developed in Ireland. Among the well-known Trenton potteries were Lenox, Fulper & Stangl, and Boehm. President Nixon gave Boehm “Mute Swan” figures to the Republic of China when he normalized relations. These products and their history are documented in permanent displays on the second-floor galleries at Ellarslie.

Through April 30, however, Breath of Fire, an exhibit of works by 12 contemporary ceramic artists in the Greater Trenton Region—including mythic faces, expressive torsos, flasks Continue reading

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Interwoven Stories

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Participating in a community-wide art project hasn’t been this much fun since the creation of “Happy World,” the mural in the Princeton Public Library made by artist Ik-Joong Kang and comprised of square tiles embellished with artifacts contributed by area residents.

For “Interwoven Stories,” under the direction of Diana Weymar, the Arts Council of Princeton Spring 2016 Artist-in-Residence, participants have been invited to embroider a cultural map or a personal page that Weymar will compile into a larger body of work. “I wanted to create a project using an ‘ancient technology’ in a contemporary setting,” she said.

Participants have picked up their “pages”—an 8 ½-by-11-inch sheet of cotton muslin Continue reading

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Musical Lines Make Waves


It was the third week in January, and artist Marsha Levin-Rojer was excited to be returning to her studio, where she hadn’t been since the unexpected passing of her husband, Charles Rojer, in November. Yet Charles is still with her, she freely admits. She is surrounded by sculpture the otolaryngologist made when he took classes at the Abington Art Center. A ceramic woman’s head, black as onyx, sits on a spiral wooden pedestal. “He gave it to me for my birthday when we were dating. The only reason he married me,” she Continue reading

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