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.

Generous support for On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey is provided by the Joseph Robert Foundation and Loop Colors.
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Image Caption: Clarence Rich, mr maelstrom vs the world, Aerosol, 2021, 13 ½’ x 20’. Photo courtesy of Sara C. Mozeson