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Zimmerli Art Museum unveils 2 new exhibits addressing local, global topics

The Zimmerli Art Museum announced two new exhibits by August Will and Hayloon Jay Lee that opened in January. – Photo by Rutgers.edu

The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum recently unveiled two new exhibits addressing topics related to New Jersey and the world, according to the museum’s website.

One of these exhibits is "Picturing Jersey City: Nineteenth-Century Views," produced by August Will, an illustrator who resided in New Jersey during the late 1800s. The exhibit opened on January 11 and will close on June 18.

Nicole Simpson, associate curator of prints and drawings at the Zimmerli Art Museum, said Will was a prominent topographical creative responsible for creating visual representations of Jersey City’s development. These works have been appreciated by individuals from various backgrounds, including academics and people interested in New Jersey's history.

The collection currently maintained by the Zimmerli Art Museum was originally in the possession of the Jersey City Museum, she said. By presenting it, Simpson said that the museum continues to support local artists and provide imagery of how the state has changed.

"Jersey City is one of the fastest growing cities in the region, and its landscape is continually changing due to new developments," she said. "It is an opportune time to consider the history of the city, and through August Will's artworks we can trace the rise of industry and commerce and its origins as a major urban center."

To help the public understand which areas in the city have changed since the time Will captured them, the Zimmerli Art Museum has created a website matching the location of the artist's pieces to the positions on a map of modern-day Jersey City.

Another exhibition the Zimmerli Art Museum recently opened to the public is "Near and Far," a 6-minute video produced by Hayoon Jay Lee, a Korean-American sculptor and painter currently based in New York. The exhibit debuted on January 11 and will remain available until March 26.

Donna Gustafson, chief curator at the Zimmerli Art Museum, said that Lee's video features various natural elements, the human form, the landscape of New York City and rice.

"I chose this particular video because it is beautiful and evocative," Gustafson said. "It is titled 'Near and Far,' and that suggests to me that the artist is thinking about events happening in her neighborhood and in a larger sphere."

She said that while the video can interest a large audience, art maintains a subjective nature and that individuals bring unique perspectives while processing what different artworks mean. Individuals may gather different meanings from art, like Lee's video, based on their own experiences.

In continuing to bring pieces from diverse artists, the museum can foster representation for local communities, Gustafson said.

"One of the ways that we can best serve our very diverse audiences at the university and in the state of (New Jersey) is to bring many different artists from different cultural spaces into the museum so that our viewers have a global experience," she said.


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