The Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie "NEXT: Reimagining the Future through Art"
Dates: Friday 8 December 2023 - Sunday 11 February 2024
Time: 12:00 - 16:00 (Sundays from 13:00), Closed Monday to Thursday
Place: 299 Parkside Ave., Trenton, NJ 08606 United States
WEB NEXT: Reimagining the Future Through Art
About the exhibition (curator's statement) Author: DIANE CICCONE This is the third exhibiƟon that Jane Malloy and I have co-curated at the Trenton City Museum. The first, Stand Up Men, featured three local African-American male arƟsts sharing their stories as Black men in America through the mediums of painƟng, sculpture, and photography. The second, If These Quilts Could Talk, examined the complexiƟes and history of quilƟng and featured local professional African-American female quilters to exhibit their work and tell their stories. My vision with our third exhibiƟon, NEXT, involves reimagining the future through art, specifically within the walls of Ellarslie Mansion. What barriers do we need to shaƩer? What stories do we need to hear? What arƟsts have never shown here? It was natural to unite local and global arƟsts for this exhibiƟon as we begin to unravel what is NEXT. In this exhibiƟon, I was interested in how others saw the future and how that was manifested through their art. In the last few years, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world and ignited new ways of co-exisƟng. We have navigated a pandemic, two wars, gun violence, and racial violence – all while the wealthy get wealthier, the poliƟcal become more poliƟcal, and the divide between the haves and the have-nots deepens. So, I was really fascinated to see how the arƟsts interpreted reimagining the future. ArƟsts such as ryo kajitani use their art as an opportunity to express and to communicate how they have changed and how their change has affected those around them or how Robin Brownfield and her art really looked at the poliƟcal climate. We also wanted to challenge the way the museum has done things in the past. So, NEXT was opened to anyone anywhere in the world. Therefore, we are proud to welcome internaƟonal entries for the first Ɵme to the Trenton City Museum – the furthest hailing from Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Germany. We also have domesƟc entries from places such as Tennessee, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. We are also pleased that, for the first Ɵme at the Trenton City Museum, NEXT welcomes video located in the Thomas A. Malloy Gallery. It is most fiƫng that the videos be hosted in the Malloy gallery because Tom Malloy, a giant in the art world, specifically in his Trenton community, believed that arƟsƟc concepts must be challenged in order to grow. Author: JANE MALLOY I am forever grateful to Diane Ciccone for inviƟng me to join her in our third collaboraƟon together as curators. I would say “diƩo” to everything she has conveyed in her statement. Diane always has such amazing visions for exhibiƟons and despite the recogniƟon my last name generates in the local art community and serving on the Trenton Museum Society’s board for nearly ten years, I had shied away from visual art unƟl Diane (not so gently) nudged me into these collaboraƟons. NEXT, like the other exhibiƟons I’ve curated with Diane, has given me an opportunity to share more than a family connecƟon with my Uncle Tom. I am especially proud of how NEXT pushed beyond the tradiƟonal mediums of art and included outof-the-box arƟstry that has never been exhibited in Ellarslie Mansion. This includes welcoming spoken word and performance art as part of the exhibiƟon. Having coordinated the Trenton Museum Society’s Freedom Friday Open Mic the last Friday of every month for four years, I am hyped that we will move art from the wall to the mic in February as an extension of this exhibiƟon. You will find the words of our Freedom Friday host, Todd “Son of Black” Evans on the walls of the Malloy Gallery echoing that the “mission” is “possible.” The impact of performance art on how we move in the world is huge. AddiƟonally, this is the 50th anniversary year of Hip Hop which has become the premier voice for spoken word. Last, I will note the arƟsts who are exhibiƟng here for the first Ɵme. There is Preston Sampson, an internaƟonally renowned arƟst whose use of mediums such as pulp painƟng, encausƟcs, and printmaking are criƟcally acclaimed. There’s also Marion Johnson, a local wife, mother, grandmother, and former teacher who, like my Uncle Thomas, considered her artwork a “hobby” unƟl someone told her that it was so much more. Using stained glass, SteamPunk Shaniqua is an example of Marion’s work and a new medium of artwork exhibited at the museum. These arƟsts and the diverse mediums they use represent what is NEXT.