Current Exhibitions

Sep 06 2016 - Dec 22 2016

31 Central

Kati Vilim, "Conditional Probability," 2015, oil and canvas on panel, 39.5"x39.5", courtesy of the artist

Kati Vilim, “Conditional Probability,” 2015, oil, canvas on panel, 39.5″x39.5″, courtesy of the artist

This exhibition is located in the Robeson Campus Center Gallery, 350 Dr Martin Luther King Blvd 1st Floor, Newark NJ 

Reception Thursday, September 22, 5-7pm

31 Central is a building located in the downtown area of New Jersey’s largest city—Newark.  It is an unofficial arts hub for the city, as within this site many creative individuals have intersected.  Their resulting artworks have made an indelible mark on the city.  This exhibition presents an array of works across many media and subject matter.  It is a testament to the dazzling creativity of the featured artists.

A parallel exhibition, “Intersection 2016,” featuring artists associated with 31 Central Ave and 237 Washington Street and curated by Lowell Craig, will be on display at Index Art Center from October 21-November 17, 2016.

Artists in this exhibition: Katrina Bello, Lowell Craig, Akintola Hanif, Stephen McKenzie, German Pitre, Kati Vilim

Sep 06 2016 - Dec 22 2016

Partner in Crime

Josh Begley, "Prison Map," 2014, c-print, 60”x66 ½”, courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco

Josh Begley, “Prison Map,” 2014, c-print, 60”x66 ½”, courtesy of Robert Koch Gallery, San Francisco

This exhibition is located in the Criminal Justice Gallery, Center for Law and Justice, 123 Washington Street 5th Floor, Newark NJ

Exhibition reception Thursday, December 1, 2016 @6-8pm, free and open to everyone.  Light refreshments provided.

Artists in the exhibition: Curtis + Ginsberg Architects, Josh Begley, Ashley Hunt, Sable Elyse Smith, and Sarah Ross

The exhibition Partner in Crime on view in the Department of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University’s Newark campus, examines the spatial representation of prisons, and the connection between geography and imprisonment. This group show contains work by artists of different disciplines, who use cartographical elements to express their concern about the sprawling developments of prisons across the United States. In a time when incarceration rates are growing, prisons are overcrowded, and discussions about prison reform are widely debated, many are investigating how prison populations and facilities can be reduced. The artists in this exhibition represent this reality by incorporating aerial views, maps, charts and architectural illustrations, through which they problematize the existing mechanism of mass incarceration. The geographical content in these works, highlights their conceptual and representational components, and also raises the following questions: what does imprisonment look like? What is the relation between prisons and land? And what is the correlation between crime, society and mass incarceration?

The growing presence of prisons and policing in the United States has contributed to the reshaping of the country’s physical as well as its social landscape, so much that the country is referred to as “the carceral state.” Despite the drops in crime, prisons are still full and continue to rise. With over 6,000 confinement facilities (be it state prisons, federal prisons, local jails, etc.), the United States currently has more than 2 million people behind bars with significant racial disparities. As some of the works in the show demonstrate, more money is distributed towards increasing the amount of prison facilities than on investments to nurture education, health and other basic social needs in the areas where crime is highly concentrated. The works express a great necessity and concern to understand the reasons for having the largest incarceration system in the world, the disproportionate numbers of imprisonment, and the growth of prisons in this country.

This exhibition aims to form and galvanize an exchange of ideas about this highly complex and expanding subject matter – indeed, a number of recent exhibitions across the country have been dedicated to this topic. In preparing for this show, various online platforms became a valuable source of material and inspiration. It is imperative to highlight them here in order to continue raising awareness and furthering the dialogue.

Curated by Shlomit Dror

Jul 25 2016 - Jul 31 2017

Indivisible: Vaughn Spann

Vaughn Spann, "Indivisible" (installation shot with the artist), 2016, acrylic, enamel paint on glass, approx. 8’x8’, courtesy of the artist and the Office of Admissions, Rutgers University-Newark

Vaughn Spann, “Indivisible” (installation shot with the artist), 2016, acrylic, enamel paint on glass, approx. 8’x8’, courtesy of the artist and the Office of Admissions, Rutgers University-Newark

This mural is located in Engelhard Hall 1st Floor near the Office of Admissions, 190 University Ave, Newark NJ

Reception Thursday, October 20 5-7pm

Vaughn Spann writes, “The inspiration for my design is Iconography and Symbolism.  2016 has been a huge blessing for me. I married my college sweetheart, welcomed my first daughter into the world and was even accepted into Yale School of Art for my MFA. I wanted to find a way to give visual meaning to all of these events while paying homage to the school that help me establish a foundation for my future, Rutgers University.  Although this year has been full of wonderful events, it has been threatened by tumultuous ones. Donald Trump is running for president, police are abusing authority and my own Alma matter has faced issues of campus separatism. What we need always and now more than ever is love… Rutgers Newark sometimes gets a bad rap due to geographic factors. I chose the Rutgers Newark campus because I believed in everything it had to offer and didn’t let anything taint my opinion.  I often called Newark a ‘hidden gem’ because many people assume the goods are solely in New Brunswick but that couldn’t be any further from the truth!

Vaughn Spann lives and works in Harlem, New York. He received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University in 2014. The artist has participated in numerous exhibitions which include shows at The Reginald Lewis Museum, RushArts, Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI), Rupert Ravens Contemporary, The Newark Museum, Aferro Gallery, and the annual Newark Open Doors. Spann will be attending Yale School of Art in Fall 2016.

This mural was commissioned by the Rutgers University Office of Admissions in collaboration with the Paul Robeson Galleries.

Apr 04 2016 - May 04 2018

Seed Grant Galleries

A New Initiative

The purpose of the Seed Grant Galleries is integration: of spaces, of voices, and of intellectual/aesthetic disciplines.  Each for the five year-long pop-up exhibitions will appear in a non-art space in order to enhance Rutgers’ academic environment by expanding on the ways in which knowledge can be acquired outside the classroom.  Seed Grant Galleries will be established through the collaborative efforts of those within and without the University context, will highlight the relevance of visual literacy in understanding our intellectual landscape, and will provide platforms for voices that historically may have been excluded from the History of Art or recognized academic pursuit. 

Click here for more information on Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s Seed Grants.

The Seed Grant Gallery exhibitions are as follows:

“The Ade Series: Ade Bunmi Gbadebo”

“Articulations: Jaz Graf”

“Re-made Garden: Ira Wagner”

“Beneath Such Dreamy Moments: Joan Pamboukes”

Seed 5 – Title and content to come

Sep 06 2016 - Jul 31 2017

Beneath Such Dreamy Moments: Joan Pamboukes

This exhibition is located at The Wall, Robeson Campus Center 1st floor, 350 Dr Martin Luther King Blvd, Newark NJ.

Reception Thursday, September 22, 5-7pm

Dedicated in memory of Ben McClellan.

Joan Pamboukes, "Interfered interior of the Ballantine House parlor, Newark, New Jersey," 2015, Archival inject print, 6' x 19', courtesy of the artist

Joan Pamboukes, “Interfered interior of the Ballantine House parlor, Newark, New Jersey,” 2016, Archival inkjet print, 6′ x 19′, courtesy of the artist

Interfered interior of the Ballantine House parlor, Newark, New Jersey is a site-specific installation, created by artist Joan Pamboukes. Informed and inspired by Newark Museum’s historic Ballantine House, the artist used readily available technology – an iPhone camera and a panorama app – through which she investigates the effects of media and interactivity in our society. In this work, Pamboukes also explores the way we experience the world through the interference of constantly evolving technologies and ubiquity of images online. The device’s basic technological capabilities and photographic functions, enables Pamboukes to depict the parlor section of the house as distorted and fragmented, causing the uneven surface and pixilated texture. The circular movement of the camera and the app’s digital ability to read certain areas and objects, or pass over them, personifies the space, making this domestic scene imaginary and fantastic. The room’s distinctive character, the scale of the work in relation to our body, as well as the distorted representation of space, conjure a psychedelic feel, as though trapped in an Alice in Wonderland moment. Experiencing this room through this work, rather than the site itself, redefines a moment in time, and by fusing together two disparate worlds, of technological advancement and history, Pamboukes further detaches the place from its past. Observing this historical and bourgeois environment in the context of Newark’s current climate, raises questions about the role of the city today, its changing landscape, diverse architecture, and its relation to the past. By observing this interior through a contemporary lens (literally), the space becomes almost unimaginable and even fictional in today’s world, echoing in a sense how we witness, stage and present false realities.

Curated by Shlomit Dror

Built in 1885 for the celebrated Newark beer-brewing family, the Ballantine House contains a suite of galleries and period rooms and has been part of the Newark Museum since 1937.

This exhibition was made possible by funding from Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s Seed Grant Initiative and by support from the New York Film Academy.



Sep 06 2016 - Jul 31 2017

Re-made Garden: Ira Wagner

This exhibition is located in Engelhard Hall 1st Floor lobby at Rutgers University-Newark, 190 University Ave, Newark NJ 07102

Reception Thursday, October 20 5-7pm

Ira Wagner, "Elizabeth", from the Garden State series, 2015, archival inkjet print, 30”x40”, courtesy of the artist

Ira Wagner, “Elizabeth”, from the Garden State series, 2015, archival inkjet print, 30”x40”, courtesy of the artist

In this photographic series titled Garden State, the artist Ira Wagner explores the industrial landscape of New Jersey. Documenting different areas familiar to many commuters passing through the Garden-State, these isolated places become remote from both their consciousness and body. In these photographs, Wagner captures factories, warehouses, abandon sites, public facilities, roads and bridges, seeking representations of development, decline and renewal. His photographs possess a spectral, unexpected beauty of industrial zones and desolate scenes, emphasizing the man-made altered landscape, where steel, smoke, and monumental structures dominate the composition, yet absent of humans. The light conditions appear soft and hazy, conjuring a sense of mystery and melancholy that is nevertheless romantic. In these carefully composed photographs, familiar objects and sceneries take on their own shape, evoking a surreal impression, such as the work Goethals Bridge, recalling De Chirico’s metaphysical landscapes and eerie cityscapes. Wagner’s photographic recording of the Garden-State follow the tradition of German photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher’s typology of industrial archeology, and can also be seen as an extension to American artist Robert Smithson’s 1967 The Monuments of Passaic, where crumbling structures and machineries he photographed around New Jersey, were regarded and treated as art installations. Each of Wagner’s images are carefully produced, with great attention given to angles and lighting, underscoring both their documentary and fictional qualities.

Curated by Shlomit Dror

This exhibition was made possible by funding from Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s Seed Grant Initiative.


Sep 06 2016 - Jul 31 2017

Articulations: Jaz Graf

Jaz Graf, Graffiti 03, 2014, monotype, 12”x9”, courtesy of the artist

Jaz Graf, Graffiti 03, 2014, monotype, 12”x9”, courtesy of the artist

This exhibition is located in Engelhard Hall 1st Floor, 190 University Ave, Newark NJ

Reception Thursday, October 20 5-7pm

Jaz Graf writes: “As an artist, I conjugate. I create lineages in different combinations of media which reflect variations in voice, tense, mood and of the mediums themselves. My body of work includes traditional and contemporary forms of print, installations, sculptural paper and drawings. The work is typically directed by concept and question, most often the starting point is writing. Language and text itself, can communicate ideas, convey emotion and act as an expressive motif. In my recent (and ongoing) series, Eviscera , narratives from old sketchbooks and personal journals are transcribed and printed lithographically onto muslin, referencing an act of evisceration in which guts appear outside the body (book). Markmaking is a form of writing. It is a visual gesture conveying sentiment, however muted or unidentifiable. I utilize scribble marks to suggest the coupling of the written word and drawn image.

“My approach involves deconstruction and reconstruction of materials and impressions with an emphasis on a physical process. I believe that my body of work, like a physical body, has both voluntary and involuntary functions. Balancing these forces is necessary in its sustainability. I am inspired by languages, nature, human nature, and the practice of play. Confronting dualities is part of my work; understanding relationships which are oppositional and contradictory yet indivisibly connected. I explore boundaries, areas that reside in between. This periphery is often where conflict can be confronted, and/or synergy can be developed. “

Jaz Graf works with paper and print, incorporating experimental techniques. She often combines materials while exploring variations and multiples. Writing and drawing are the starting point, followed by a tendency to deconstruct and rebuild impressions. Concepts dictate the medium and often explore personal histories, dualities and language. Jaz exhibits locally and internationally, has been featured in AM New York News, The Jersey Journal and on NJ’s Public Broadcast Channel, NJTV. She is a keyholder and former Vice President of Manhattan Graphics Center, a fine art print studio in NYC. For over 10 years, she has worked with a nonprofit focusing on freshwater conservation.

Curated by Adrienne Wheeler


This exhibition was made possible by funding from Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s Seed Grant Initiative.

Apr 04 2016 - Apr 04 2017

The Ade Series: Ade Bunmi Gbadebo

This exhibition is located in Conklin Hall 3rd floor, 175 University Ave, Newark NJ


Opening reception Tuesday April 12 @ 6pm
324 Conklin Hall, 175 University Ave, Newark NJ
Free and open to everyone.

Ade Bunmi Gbadebo writes: “Historically, the dominant legacy of paint has not been inclusive of people who look like me, so I in return excluded paint from my practice. This decision to abandon paint forced me to adopt a material that was connected to my culture, history, and identity. This material was human Black hair. My material is my people. Not only is Black hair dripping with cultural and historical content, but also human hair is DNA, which makes it tangible information. I purposely do not solely address women’s issues within the Black hair community, such as the perm and weave epidemic, because the historical issues involving hair impact men as much as they do women. I aim for my work to be genderless, so that men too can see themselves in my work.

“Before the Atlantic slave trade, many African cultures believed that a person’s spirit resided in his or her hair because hair was the closest part of the body to God. ‘One of the first things slave traders did to their human cargo was shave their head…which to the African was tantamount to erasing one’s identity”’ (Tharps).

“Informed by this heritage, I enact very little manipulation into my material. Instead I organize the hair, letting the material speak for itself. I am more interested in manipulating and conducting small acts of vandalism to Western materials. In Black Gold, the hair does not share with the white canvas, instead it overwhelms it. In this piece I replace my paintbrush with a needle stabbing the canvas, and interjecting my own medium, establishing a new definition of  ‘a painting”’ In Dada I puncture ‘white walls’ and insert erect locks at heights that force the viewer to look up to Black hair, both physically and metaphorically. The hair invades not only the wall’s surface, but also the physical space.

“Ironically, my decision to let the hair speak for itself, has put my work in direct conversation with the very history I am trying to reject. I am in dialogue between my work and Abstract Expressionist, Minimalist, and color field painting, and I have embraced this reality. How the Abstract Expressionists used scale, the proportions of the rectangle, how they emphasized the viewer’s experience of the painting, are all devices I incorporate in my work.

“David Hammons is an artist I am influenced by, not only because he uses Black hair– but how he uses materials intrinsic to Black culture, and how he pushes the viewer to reconsider art with a big ‘A’. El Anatsui’s work has also been a major influence. That he takes a single item and proliferates it to produce majestic works is my analogous to taking a single strand of hair from one person and uniting that hair with thousands of other strands.

“I have to relinquish control in my process. I do not know from whom or what type of hair I will receive. I cannot force the hair to do what it will not. I have to listen and submit to the hair and allow it to speak and through this ongoing Ade Series I aim to have it speak to viewers through the canon of art.”

Ade Bunmi has been a featured artist in Glocally Newark’s website and has exhibited at Newark Open Doors, the Jacob Javits Center, and other venues in New York and New Jersey.  In addition to her artistic practice, she is involved in volunteer and activist work on subjects such as literacy, race, and inhumane conditions in prisons.

Curated by Adrienne Wheeler


This exhibition was made possible by funding from Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s Seed Grant Initiative.