Concentric Circles Judith K. Brodsky, Yvonne Burk, Trudy Glucksberg, Lonnie Sue Johnson, Margaret Johnson, Joan Needham, Helen Schwartz, Marie Sturken, Linda White
January 18 - March 8
FROM NEW JERSEY’S elevated highways to its pastoral ruins, from its academic centers to its corridors of industry, artists have found inspiration. Central New Jersey became a hotbed of cultural activity beginning in the mid 20th century. Throughout the region, different art communities were forming, often overlapping and influencing each other. Concentric Circles of Influence: The Birth of Arts Communities in Central New Jersey explores several of these groups: The Queenston Press, the Artists of Roosevelt, the Trenton Artists Workshop Association, Princeton Art Association, Artworks, the Arts Council of Princeton, the Princeton Artists’ Alliance and MOVIS.
Beginning in 1965, a group of artists came together to take classes in printmaking with Judith K. Brodsky in the old bank building at 14 Nassau Street in Princeton. These women produced three portfolios, published by Brodsky and the late Zelda Laschever, two of which sold out. More importantly, they formed a community.
Although educated as artists, the women were in the midst of taking care of families and uncertain about how to further develop their professional careers. Few knew each other beforehand. Within the intense environment inherent in a printmaking class, these women forged lasting friendships and found the support necessary to continue to develop as artists. Margaret K. Johnson, Marie Sturken, Joan B. Needham, Helen Schwartz, Trudy Glucksberg and Lonni Sue Johnson, among others, have grown into important artists working in Central New Jersey. To this day, nearly half a century later, many continue to encourage each other’s work. Yvonne Burk, Ofelia Garcia, Renee Levine, Mayumi Oda, Clare Romano, Mae Rockland Tupa, Linda White and Ann Woolfolk have enriched other regions of the U.S. with their art. For those who have passed away, such as Jane Teller, Naomi Savage and Dorothea Greenbaum, their influence continues. The women printmakers published under the rubric of Queenston Press, a play on the fact that they were all women living in Princeton. Their community went far beyond their group to a feeling of shared culture throughout the region.
Princeton’s roots as an art community can be traced back to 1948, when Rex Goreleigh was recruited by a group of Princeton University professors and members of the Jewish and Quaker communities to form a racially and religiously integrated arts organization. Goreleigh directed Princeton Group Arts, emphasizing inclusivity in teaching theater, music, dance, painting, sculpture, writing and crafts. But despite such fundraisers as a Marian Anderson concert at McCarter Theatre, Princeton Group Arts folded in 1954. Goreleigh set up the Studio on the Canal to continue workshops in painting, printmaking and ceramics and ran it until 1978. Some of the instructors were Glenn Cohen (sculptor), Hughie Lee Smith (painter), Vincent Ceglia (painter) and Stefan Martin (printmaker).
Goreleigh’s own work focused on farming culture in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. He visited and painted farms in Cranbury, Roosevelt and Hightstown, depicting aspects of the human condition while chronicling labor history. He served on the board of the Arts Council of Princeton and taught at Princeton Adult School, the Neuropsychiatric Institute in Skillman and Trenton school district.
Goreleigh also served as director of the arts and crafts program in Roosevelt schools in 1955-56, a town that was another hub for artists. Originally named Jersey Homesteads, it was the site for an experimental program during the FDR administration that brought Jewish garment workers out from the tenements to work as farmers. Ben Shahn came to create a mural depicting the project. Shahn knew Goreleigh, with whom he’d worked on the Rockefeller Center murals with Diego Rivera. Following Shahn and his artist wife, Bernarda Bryson Shahn, to the Louis Kahn-designed flat-roofed houses of Roosevelt came other artists: Jacob Landau, Gregorio Prestopino, Stefan Martin, and Sol Libsohn.
The area was flourishing with artists, and the artists needed communities to tie them together. Some who’d joined Goreleigh’s Studio on the Canal went on to form the Princeton Art Association, while others helped establish the Arts Council of Princeton. The PAA offered classes to the community first at 14 Nassau Street – the same building where the Queenston Press artists met — then at Princeton Borough Hall, followed by a move to Ettl Farm, an art colony on Rosedale Road in Princeton. Founded by sculptor Alex Ettl, a high school dropout who became a millionaire philanthropist by selling sculpture tools and making castings, the farm offered living and working space in a barn to a group of artists, some of whom went on to join the Johnson Atelier. Others taught at Rutgers.
When artists form communities, it’s inevitable that they will program events and festivals. In 1970, the Arts Council of Princeton established the town’s first public arts festival. The Art People’s Party was a collaboration with the students of Princeton University, held on the lawn in front of Nassau Hall. This event would evolve into Communiversity Festival of the Arts, the largest annual cultural festival in the region. Several years later, in 1979 the Trenton Artists Workshop Association (TAWA) formed and organized Eyes on Trenton, a festival with 50 events including music, theater, to revive the capital city.
With so many exciting events taking place, brick and mortar became necessary to house these institutions. Mary Yess, president of TAWA, went on to become Executive Director of the Princeton Art Association. Susan Hockaday, Judith K. Brodsky and Pam Mount were on the board and supported Mary Yess when she proposed moving the headquarters of the Princeton Art Association to the old Sears warehouse in Trenton, where it could serve the economically deprived population as well as the affluent Princeton community. The PAA became Artworks in the early 1980s and, in 1982, the Arts Council of Princeton, under the direction of Anne Reeves, took over the Paul Robeson Building, which had previously housed the Witherspoon YMCA in downtown Princeton.
The TAWA artists had a strong connection to Mercer County Community College, and several TAWA members were MCCC faculty: painter Mel Leipzig; ceramic sculptor James Colavita; and photographer Lou Draper among them.
MOVIS is the newest group, made up of John Goodyear of the Rutgers group; Maggi Johnson, a member of the original Queenston Press group and Princeton Artists Alliance; Marsha Levin-Rojer, also of the Princeton Artists Alliance; Susan Hockaday, an original Princeton Art Association board member as well as Princeton Artists Alliance member; Berendina Buist; and Eve Ingalls. The group met over a chance encounter at a Princeton café in the early 2000s, and the conversation proved so provocative, they decided to meet weekly, adding pianist-composer Rita Asch, who creates sound installations with MOVIS, and photographer Frank Magalhaes. Rather than critiquing each other’s works, MOVIS members discuss books they’ve read, exhibits and movies they’ve seen, and exchange ideas on theories of modern art.
Johnson, who studied at Black Mountain College with Josef Albers and Robert Rauschenberg and taught at the Museum of Modern Art, brings these influences on the group. And Goodyear – himself influenced by Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and Leon Golub — was taken by a talk given by Ben Shahn at the University of Michigan. Goodyear found himself working in the style of Shahn for a short while before graduate school. Goodyear also belonged to a breakfast group of artists attended by Vincent Ceglia, who once taught at Studio on the Canal. That group included members of the Bucks County, Pennsylvania, art community.
After Queenston Press, Brodsky, who has been a professor as Rutgers as well as a curator, went on to found the Institute for Women and Art and the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions at Rutgers, important institutions inspiring and influencing countless artists on a national and international level.
Like the Utopian communities in New Jersey during the 19th century, central New Jersey’s visual arts communities of the mid 20th century became a vehicle for social change. Brodsky’s printmaking class opened the way for women to fulfill the ideals of the women’s movement of the 1960s. Along with Princeton Arts Group and TAWA it brought about greater integration of ethnic diversity in the central New Jersey region. Finally, organizations were repurposed to broaden the reach of the arts into culturally and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods, such as moving the Princeton Art Association to Trenton.
Concentric Circles of Influence shows the relevance and importance of these artists and the groups they formed. In the shadow of New York City, arguably still the center of the art world in the 21st century, Central New Jersey artists then and now continue to standout and enrich contemporary arts and culture.
The PNC Foundation is the generous Lead Funder for the Arts Council of Princeton, Historical Society of Princeton, and the Princeton Public Library “Concentric Circles of Influence: Queenston Press” exhibitions.
Additional funding from a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. Funding also provided by Claudia Weill and Walter Teller in honor of Jane Teller.
Concentric Circles of Influence: The Birth of an Artists Community in Central New Jersey exhibition venues include the NJ State Museum, Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University, the Gallery at Mercer County Community College, Princeton University Art Museum
Judith K. Brodsky
Judith K. Brodsky is Distinguished Professor Emerita, Department of Visual Arts, Rutgers University; Founding Director of the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper, renamed the Brodsky Center in her honor. She is co-founder with Ferris Olin of the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art and The Feminist Art Project, a national program to promote recognition of women artists. With Olin, she was co-organizer and co-curator of The Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society (2012), which focused on women artists, filmmakers, writers, and composers of the Middle East. Brodsky was also founder and chair of the international city-wide print festival, Philagrafika (2010), which took place in Philadelphia; past national president of ArtTable, and the College Art Association, and the Women’s Caucus for Art; a former dean and associate provost as well as chair of the art department at the Rutgers campus at Newark. She was a contributor to the first comprehensive history of the American women’s movement in art, called The Power of Feminist Art. Brodsky along with Olin and Muriel Magenta is an organizer of Momentum, a project focusing on women and transgender artists who use technology. A printmaker and artist, Brodsky’s work is in the permanent collections of over 100 museums and corporations.
Yvonne Burk was born in Iowa, and studied art at the Milwaukee Art Institute, the University of Wyoming, and the Art Students League in NYC. After working closely with the Queenston Press women in Princeton, she moved to Texas, where she enjoyed similar support in several artists’ groups there. Burk refers to herself as a contemporary realist, and has shown her paintings and prints widely, in New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, Wyoming, and California, where she presently lives.
Ofelia Garcia recently retired as a Professor of Art at William Paterson University, where she also served as Dean of the College of the Arts and Communication beginning in 1997. Previous administrative posts include the presidencies of Rosemont College and of the Atlanta College of Art, GA, and the directorship of The Print Center in Philadelphia. She has been faculty and administrator at Boston College and Newton College, MA, and faculty critic at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She holds a BA from Manhattanville College, NY, and an MFA from Tufts University/Boston Museum School, with postgraduate work at Duke University. She has lectured widely on fine prints and related matters, as well as on higher education, and has juried numerous national art competitions and print exhibitions. She is chair emerita of the Jersey City Museum board. Previous volunteer service includes: the boards of Haverford College, Haverford, PA; the American Council on Education; Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Commission for Women, Philadelphia; the board of the College Art Association; and national president of the Women’s Caucus for Art. She has served as panelist for the state arts councils of Pennsylvania, Georgia and New Jersey. Garcia currently serves the Hudson County commission for public art and the national board of Catholics for Choice. She is an avid collector of works on paper.
Trudy Glucksberg studied art at the City College of New York, lithography at Brighton (UK) College of Art, and computer graphics at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She applied her art training first in ad agencies and later as assistant designer at American Heritage magazine. After raising her family in Princeton, and long after making prints with the Queenston Press women, she began working as a graphic designer at the Princeton University Press. Her art has been shown locally at Ellarslie, Princeton University and the Arts Council of Princeton, and is in private and corporate collections.
Dorothea Greenbaum was born June 17, 1893, in Brooklyn, N.Y., and died in 1986 in Princeton, N.J. She studied at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts and the Art Students League. She was a founding member of Artists Equity and the Sculptors Guild. A representational sculptor, Greenbaum’s heads and figures came in many sizes, from miniature to life-size, in materials ranging from bronze to stone, and from marble to alabaster. Greenbaum first gained recognition when the National Academy of Design included her in its 1914 exhibition. In later years, she was often included in the annual exhibitions at the Sculpture Center on East 69th Street, New York, the National Association of Women Artists and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the National Gallery in Washington. The Pennsylvania Academy awarded her its George D. Widener Memorial Medal in 1941. She was inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1968.
Lonnie Sue Johnson
Lonnie Sue Johnson received her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Architecture and Design in Printmaking and Drawing. Further study included humorous illustration at The School of Visual Arts in New York City with Chas. B. Slackman and R.O. Blechman. During the thirty-one years of her career as a professional illustrator, Johnson’s art has appeared in many prominent publications, such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal and on covers of The New Yorker. Over 50 books have her illustrations, and she created note cards for the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Her art has been recognized by the White House and the United Nations and resides in the collection of the Smithsonian.
Margaret Kennard Johnson
Margaret Kennard Johnson received a BFA from Pratt Institute, and a Master of Design degree from the University of Michigan School of Architecture and Design. She later studied two and three-dimensional design with Joseph Albers and stone carving with Jose DeCreeft at Black Mountain College, N.C. Her teaching has included 23 years at The Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., three years at Pratt Institute, and before that, two years at Drake University, and one year at Texas State College for Women. Since living in Princeton she has taught many years at The Princeton Adult School, Princeton Art Association, Artworks, and the Montgomery Art Center. She was a founding member of The Princeton Artists Alliance, and more recently of Movis, a small discussion and exhibiting group. While living eight years in Tokyo, she worked among Japanese artists in a printmaking workshop, taught design classes, curated print exhibitions, and co-authored the book, JAPANESE PRINTS TODAY: Tradition with Innovation, published by Shufunotomo International Ltd., Tokyo. Her work is represented in museum collections in the United States, Japan, and Europe, including: The British Museum, London; The Library of Congress, Washington. D.C.; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio; and The Tochigi Prefectural Museum in Japan.
Joan B. Needham
Joan B. Needham received a BFA from Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, PA, and later studied abroad with Laurence Barker, a master papermaker in Barcelona, Spain. In 1981 she introduced papermaking to central New Jersey. Needham has had a long teaching career that includes: Artworks; the Princeton Art Association; The Printmaking Center; Trenton After School Program; and 36 years as a Professor at Mercer County Community College, where she created a course in Papermaking. Needham received a New Jersey State Council on the Arts fellowship in Sculpture and is part of the New Jersey Public Arts program with a lobby installation at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton, N.J. Needham volunteered as a teacher in Khayalitsha, South Africa. After introducing a printmaking program in 2007, 2010 and 2011, she taught a group of women the fundamentals of linoleum block printing. By developing their skills, the women were given the opportunity to sell their prints and provide income for their families. Her artwork has been exhibited both locally and internationally, throughout the United States, Japan, China, Spain, England and France. Important collections in which she is represented include: The Trenton State Museum, Trenton, N.J.; Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.; The Newark Library Print Collection, Newark, N.J.; Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y.; The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan; Prudential Life Insurance, Newark, N.J.; United States Trust Company, New York, N.Y.; the Albright-Knox Gallery, Buffalo, N.Y.; and the Firestone Library, Princeton, N.J.
Known to many as the “Matisse of Japan,” Mayumi Oda has done extensive work with female goddess imagery. Born to a Buddhist family in Japan in 1941, Oda studied fine art and traditional Japanese fabric dyeing. In 1966, she graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts. From 1969 to the present, Oda has exhibited in over 50 one-woman shows throughout the world. Her artwork is also part of the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, N.Y., The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, M.A., Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT, Library of Congress, Washington, DC, among others. In addition to her work as an artist, Oda has spent many years of her life as a “global activist,” participating in anti-nuclear campaigns worldwide. She founded Plutonium Free Future in 1992. On behalf of her organization, Oda lectured and held workshops on Nuclear Patriarchy to Solar Communities at the United Nations NGO Forum and the Women of Vision Conference in Washington, DC. In 1999, she launched the WASH (World Atomic Safety Holiday) Campaign and is currently working to raise awareness among the citizens of Hawaii, where she lives, about the use of Depleted Uranium at the Pohakuloa military base.
Clare Romano, printmaker and painter, was born in 1922 in Palisades, New Jersey. She attended Cooper Union Art School in New York. The artist is known for her innovations in the collagraph print. After moving out of New York City in the 1950s with her husband and two children, Romano felt cut off from the art world. Eventually she received a Fulbright grant to study in Florence, Italy. As an arts educator, Romano’s role in the feminist movement has been to encourage young female art students. Although Romano’s mature work has evolved through a number of different influences and styles, the one constant is the immediacy of her response to landscape. Her work is in the permanent collections of: the Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Ill; Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay, ME; Museum of the National Academy of Design, NY; and the University Art Museum, Albany, NY, among others.
Naomi Savage was born Naomi Siegler in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1927 and died in Princeton, New Jersey in 2005. While still in high school, she took a class in photography at the New School for Social Research with Berenice Abbott. Some twenty years earlier, Abbott had studied photography in Paris with Man Ray, who was Savage’s uncle. In 1946, Savage enrolled in Bennington College, where she studied art and music, but before graduating, left to be an apprentice for Man Ray in Hollywood. When she returned to New York in 1948, she combined her love of music with her skill in photography by taking portraits of the best known composers of day, including Aaron Copland, John Cage, and Virgil Thomson (over 30 in all). Throughout her career, she experimented with the medium of photography, continuously inventing new and highly original techniques. Perhaps her best known work is a series of metal photo engravings (1972) dominating the walls of the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas. In her later years, she became attracted to the enormous potential of digital imagery, experimenting with various methods to manipulate and enhance color, even using new and unconventional materials for laser printing. She exhibited widely, most recently at the Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, N.J., and her photographs are included in major institutional collections throughout the United States.
Combining her degree in economics and her early experiences in art, Helen Schwartz began her career in publications and public relations as a graphic artist. While raising her family in Princeton, she became involved with the Queenston Press women, and also the Princeton Art Association which she helped found. She showed her paintings and prints widely before she moved back into publications and public relations, first as a journalist, then as author of “The New Jersey House,” and eventually as head of public relations at the Princeton Art Museum. Her most recent work in art has been basket making, having found in it the potential to integrate its sculptural form into her other skills as an artist. Her baskets have been shown in national exhibitions, museum and corporate galleries and shops.
Marie Sturken studied at Pratt and the Art Students League in New York, and began her career in the fashion industry as a commercial artist. Since moving to Princeton she has been instrumental in numerous artists’ groups in addition to the Queenston Press. These include TAWA, the Princeton Art Association, and the NJ Printmaking Center. She has taught workshops in printmaking and paper making and shown her work throughout New Jersey and in New York. She is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The New Jersey State Museum, Firestone Library at Princeton University, and Johnson and Johnson, New Brunswick, among others.
Jane S. Teller
Jane S. Teller, sculptor and printmaker, was born in Rochester, N.Y., in 1911, and died in Princeton, N.J. in 1990. Apprenticed in her father’s woodworking factory in upstate New York, Teller proceeded to study at Rochester Institute of Technology and Columbia University, absorbing ideas from Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, and eastern philosophy. In New York City, she met photographer Aaron Siskind, her lifelong friend and mentor, in an art class sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. During the 1940s, Siskind introduced her to abstract expressionist artists who inspired her including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. Around the same time, Teller became acquainted with Lloyd (Bill) Ney and other members of Bucks County’s artistic community, when she exhibited her work in New Hope, Pennsylvania. She and her husband, Walter Teller, a writer who co-founded the New Hope Gazette, bought a large farm near Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania in 1938, and later moved their family to Lahaska and Princeton. A stroke in 1984 left her partially paralyzed, but she continued to work, primarily on drawings, until her death in 1990. Teller’s work is in major museum collections across the country.
Mae Rockland Tupa
Mae Rockland Tuba was born Mae Cecilia Shafter on December 18, 1937 in the Bronx, N.Y. Tupa graduated from Music & Art High School, a public alternative high school that eventually merged into the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Tupa (her second husband’s surname) continued her education at Hunter College, and at Alfred University’s College of Ceramic Design and later earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota. She traveled and lived in Japan, Argentina, and eventually Spain because her spouse worked for the United States Foreign Service. While performing duties as a diplomat’s wife, Tupa developed her skills as an artist. In March of 1963, she had her first solo exhibition at the Galeria El Portico in Buenos Aires. Tupa continued to cultivate her artistic strengths as a printmaker and etcher in Madrid. She subsequently lived in Princeton, where her work was exhibited at the Nassau Gallery and where she taught graphic arts at the Princeton Art Association. Tupa spent much of her later life engaged with Jewish traditions in art and published many books, including: The Work of Our Hands: Jewish Needlecraft for Today (1973); The Hanukkah Book (1975); The Jewish Yellow Pages: A Directory of Goods and Services (1976); The Jewish Party Book: A Contemporary Guide to Customs, Crafts, and Foods (1978); The NEW Jewish Yellow Pages (1980); and The NEW Work of Our Hands: Contemporary Jewish Needlework and Quilts (1994). Tupa, who received many commissions from individuals and synagogues, eventually transitioned away from paper-cutting and printmaking to tapestry quilts with such diverse subjects as medieval Jewish streets in Spain and the immigrant experience in America.
Linda White moved from Princeton to California where she presently resides. Her recent collages focus on perils at sea, and are founded on experiences she has had sailing the coast of California, Mexico and Hawaii with her husband in their sailboat. She received her MFA from University of Pennsylvania and went on to show at venues in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, winning a New Jersey Council on the Arts Fellowship and earning a solo show at the New Jersey State Museum. When living in Princeton and actively involved with her Queenston Press peers, White was also a member of MUSE gallery in Philadelphia.
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