On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey
On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey examines the duality of New Jersey artists whose creative versatility extends from the street to the studio. Although their outdoor murals are more commonly experienced in the “open air” galleries that have cropped up in Jersey City, Newark, Asbury Park, and Trenton, these artists also maintain a successful studio practice, producing works on canvas, paper, and wood, as well as sculpture, video, stickers, stencils, skateboard decks, and clothing. Along with their studio-produced works, eleven of the artists have painted murals directly on the Morris Museum’s gallery walls expressly for this exhibition to capture the scale and site-specific nature of their street art practice. The impact of the streets on the studio is explored, as the lines between urban art and fine art have become increasingly blurred.
With roots in late 1970s graffiti, skateboard, and punk subcultures, today’s street art has evolved into a cultural phenomenon with a distinct visual language that has reclaimed public spaces in cities across the globe. Encompassing unique styles and varied techniques, today’s street artists address topics that range from notions of place to cries against injustice. Not only has urban art transformed our visual landscape, it has also impacted the cultural expression of our time, including design, advertising, fashion, and the contemporary art canon. While street artists in neighboring New York continue to receive attention from museums and cultural centers worldwide, those based in New Jersey have been largely overlooked. On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey is a long overdue homage to the rich talents of these urban artists and their vital contribution to New Jersey’s creative spirit.
This exhibition features murals and studio work by Catherine Hart, Clarence Rich, Emilio Florentine, Joe Iurato, Layqa Nuna Yawar, LUV1, Mr Mustart, RH DOAZ, RORSHACH, and Will Power, and a special instal lation of work by Newark street art legend Jerry Gant (1961-2018).
Guest Curator: Lois Stavsky, Independent Curator, Documentarian, and Educator; with the assistance of Rachel Fawn Alban. Artist interviews conducted by Lois Stavsky.
For the Morris Museum: Ronald T. Labaco, Managing Curator; Michelle Graves, Curatorial Assistant and Exhibition Manager; Sara O’Connor, Exhibition Design and Preparator; Gillian Suss, Registrar; Shannon Hahn, Registrarial Intern; Chuck Mott, Exhibitions Volunteer; Lewis Perlmutter, Exhibition Lighting; and Sonya Maizell, Graphic Designer.
Image Caption: Clarence Rich, mr maelstrom vs the world, Aerosol, 2021, 13 ½’ x 20’. Photo courtesy of Sara C. Mozeson