The art of Kevin Blythe Sampson



Open Doors Studio Tour to Newark: Newark will spotlight its arts scene this weekend

troll-hunters-bansky.JPG“Troll Hunters” by street art provocateur Banksy will be shown at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market St..
Open Doors highlights more than 20 galleries and includes five curated shows, 25 artist studios and the annual Creation Nation Art and Peace Parade culminating in the Washington Park Arts Festival. Most events are free, though contributions to the Newark Arts Council are encouraged.
“Call & Response” is on the 14th floor of 570 Broad St. in Newark, and is the headline show of the weekend. For a complete listing of participating galleries, shows, artist studios, events, parties and receptions, visit
Everything from the Newark Museum and Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, to the “Ironbound Unbound #2” show of Hispanic, Indian, Chinese, Haitian and American art (at 92-96 Ferry St., in the Ironbound, between Congress and Jefferson streets) is included on the website, along with hours, reception times and so on. But the following are among the main events:
“Atmospheric Characteristic Impressions.” An exhibit by Anthony E. Boone at the Prudential Center, 165 Mulberry St., in the PNC Tower concourse, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Gallery Crawl. Receptions, events and parties all around the city. Free shuttle transportation is provided from 5 to 9:30 p.m.
Artist Studio Tour. Workshops, lectures and receptions, all around Newark occur throughout the day. Free shuttle transportation is provided from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sonic Superstars ’90s Dance Party. Featuring music by DJ Tony Touch, in the lobby of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St., from 10:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tickets are $23; mention the NAC promo code and the Newark Arts Council will receive a $3 donation from your payment.
Creation Nation Art and Peace Parade. With art-bearing paraders and marching bands, beginning at 11 a.m. in Lincoln Park and ending at Washington Park (visit
Washington Park Arts Festival. At Washington and Broad streets, noon to 5 p.m.
Closing Reception for “Call & Response.” On the 14th floor of 570 Broad St., beginning at 5 p.m.
Art all over town
It’s happening in the parks and in the streets, in small galleries and studios, and in large buildings such as the Prudential Center and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
This weekend brings the 10th annual Open Doors Studio Tour to Newark.
This celebration of the city’s downtown arts community, sponsored by the Newark Arts Council, features a gallery crawl, musical performances, parades, artists greeting visitors in their private studios and major exhibitions of work by hundreds of local and international artists.
Galleries and institutions throughout the city take part, hosting group exhibitions or special events with the goal of capturing something of the spirit of the visual arts in our city today.
This year’s headline exhibition, “Call & Response,” curated by Jennifer Junkermeier on the 14th floor of 570 Broad St., addresses economic disenfranchisement and African-American issues more directly than previous shows.
Works at this exhibition — such as “House,” by the now Detroit-based Osman Khan, using fluorescent tube lights, aluminum pipe fighting, wire electronics and wood — put an urban focus on the financial crimes in the housing market that crippled the world economy, and illustrate the fragility of our “recovery.”
A second Khan piece, consisting of an aluminum beam held in mid-air by magnets, will periodically crash to the floor throughout the exhibition.
But many other “Call & Response” artists, like Kevin Sampson, are even more explicitly political, referencing Sarah Palin, President Obama, the tea party et al., while Jon Laustsen’s fake fallen column comments wryly on the fact that the exhibition is taking place in a space under construction in the middle of an urban environment.
“We wanted this show to very definitely be about Newark and what’s happening in the world right now,” Junkermeier says.
“One idea behind the title of the show was the call and response in churches, but it also comes from jazz — the way one musician plays a note and another responds with a note of his own. Risa Puno, for example, has created an accessory piece to every other artist’s work.”
It’s likely that one of the standout shows will be “Personal Effects,” at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market St. — an exhibition drawn from the collection of photographer Eric Wolfe that focuses on street art, the irreverent (and often illegal) ephemeral art spawned by skateboarders and kids from around the world.
Works by 65 of the better-known young artists of the 21st century — including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Kara Walker, Lorna Simpson, Swoon and even neo-oop star Jeff Koons — will be featured.
Street art often goofs on the pretensions to originality projected by fine art, and employs sampling and ironic parodies of corporate values to make its points. Fairey, for example, is represented by a self-portrait that shows a target on his shirt — a reference to either his frequent arrests for graffiti or the megastore, depending on your point of view.
Banksy, the British artist who was featured in the Oscar-nominated 2010 documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” — and whose hoodie disguise was imitated by so many of the rioters in London this fall — is represented by a stencil showing Native Americans stalking … shopping carts.
But this gives only a taste of the wide array of art available throughout the weekend, which includes the abstract expressionism of Anthony E. Boone (in the Prudential Center) and more working studios than you probably have time to visit. Regular shuttle service among the many venues will be available all weekend long.
And as it does every year, the weekend culminates outdoors, on Sunday, with the Creation Nation Art and Peace Parade, from Lincoln Park to Washington Park, and the Washington Park Art Festival.
There’s really no better way to take in Newark’s particular aesthetic in one weekend than the Open Doors Studio Tour.

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