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Hunterdon Art Museum delves into racial and political issues

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The Hunterdon Art Museum invites visitors to view three contemporary art exhibitions that explore some of the complex issues facing society.
Two explore past and present racial, social, and political issues through observations and personal stories and one looks at aging and dementia.
“It’s not always what people expect when they come to a small museum in a rural county,” said Marjorie Frankel-Nathanson, executive director of the museum, located in Clinton, N.J. “We show a lot of craft fields, and today artists working in those fields address the major (events) happening today.”
The exhibits, she said, make a statement while also showing visitors beautiful artwork.
“Crossroads: Book Artists’ Impassioned Responses to Immigration, Human Rights and Our Environment” and “Print+” are on view through Sept. 5, both in person and online. “As Her Mind Collapsed, I Was Awakened”: The Rugs of Ann Clarke is on view through June 13.
“Crossroads,” curated by Maria G. Pisano, is a show of nearly a dozen artists’ books dealing with subjects including immigration, climate change and human rights.
“These are handmade books (created) by artists. They’re generally one of a kind,” said Frankel-Nathanson.
The books may also be in the form of an installation or sculptures. One, for example, features “beautiful handmade shoes and they represent the tens of thousands of children that crossed into the U.S. (across the Mexican border) and were put into foster care,” she said. “It’s a very beautiful piece and very moving.
“Print+” refers to the medium used, and all of the pieces in the show are some kind of print medium, including wood block and etchings, “but they often take very different forms,” Frankel-Nathanson said, adding some are 3-D, some are installations.

She said the + in the exhibition’s name refers to the diversity of the works and the artists themselves. There are 22 artists represented in the exhibition, which is curated by Sheila Goloborotko, and they come from all different types of backgrounds, including artists with disabilities, Trans, Queer, Latinx, Black, Brown, Bi-racial, First Nations, American, and Naturalized American artists.
“It’s a show that’s really relevant to many of the discussions happening today and touches many, many different subjects,” Frankel-Nathanson said.
“As her mind collapsed” was inspired by the artist’s mother who had Alzheimer’s disease. All of the imagery relates to Alzheimer’s and aging, and is “beautiful and very moving,” Frankel-Nathanson said. “She died as the show was being planned,” the executive director said of Clarke’s mother. The exhibition was curated by Jason Vartikar.
Speaking about “Crossroads” and “Print+,” Brian Kearney, the museum’s communications manager said, “It’s valuable for the community to see these shows and get different perspectives on these timely events.”
Added Frankel-Nathanson, “We think it’s important for the museum to be responding to the social issues of the day, and we think these shows do that very well. They encompass the issues in front of us right now.”
She said there is a lot to see in each of the exhibits and much to make people think about the ways in which artists are creating work today.
The Hunterdon Art Museum, situated along the river at 7 Lower Center St., is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. The exhibitions are appropriate for viewers of all ages.
The museum offers a summer arts camp for children and classes and workshops for adults, some relating to the exhibitions.
For information, visit hunterdonartmuseum.org.


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