Sam Sebren

Filthy Lucre
Curated by Nancy Mahl of Progressive Culture Works
Main Gallery

see images from all exhibitions

October 24 – December 12, 2009
Opening Reception, with performance, October 24, 7-10 PM as part of Newark Open Doors
Panel Discussion and Screening: Saturday, November 7, 2009 

What is Art Without Money?

Filthy Lucre examines the transformative power of valuation upon art and the people who make it. The artists, performers, and writers participating in the project have investigated the definitions and functions of art as a commodity and queried the practice of artmaking from inside and outside the realm of monetary exchange.The work, from the purely theoretical to the frankly hilarious, is by artists representing a broad spectrum of age, background, education, and commercial success. Particular focus is brought to unsalable art and what becomes of it, the effects of commercial success on artmaking practice, the spiritual function of art, defining the consumer of art, the difference between precious and valuable, the economic element in definitions of high, outsider, and folk art; and the ever-fraught relationship of artist and patron. 

Visual Artists:

Denise de la Cerda, Ana Cordeiro, Terrence Hunt, Rik Wave Kapler, Mark Leger, Carrie Lincourt, Eric Linton, Jeff Lundenberger, Karin Luner, Nick Minenko, Erin O’Keefe, Orange, Eric Rhein, Henry Sanchez, Sam Sebren,

Robert E. Williams, Paul Wirhun


Jason Bauman, Mary Anne Caton, Anthony Christiansen, Caroline Gonda, Sally O’Driscoll, Michelle Washington

Panel Moderator: Jeannette Louie 


Paul Wirhun
throughout evening

Garbage Couture
8 PM

A fashion collection created entirely from garbage by Justin Gooding and presented by a bevy of activist/models, including Justin Sayre, a performance artist, singer, wit, and host of The Meeting at The Duplex in NYC, and Agnes de Garron, winner of the Fresh Fruit Festival Legend award and seen at the Center for Contemporary Art in New Orleans, PS 122 and the Theatre for the New City.

Citizen Reno
9 PM

Reno is surely the only performance artist in the world to collaborate with Nobel Prize winning economists including Paul Krugman. Recently at Joe’s Pub, the Public Theatre, and the Hot Festival at Dixon Place.

About progressive Culture Works:

Progressive Culture Works is a changing ad hoc group of artists, performers, and academics who work together as a labor of love to explore specific themes. The themes are chosen by the curator on the basis of group interest and the likelihood of successful interdisciplinary participation. Since visual artists, writers, and academics usually work in solitude, these projects provide an opportunity for a larger interdisciplinary dialogue. They also challenge the participants to make their work legible across disciplines and to a larger audience. The work is presented in a non-commodified venue and usually includes a visual art exhibition, a reading and performance series, an academic panel, and a publication. Past projects have included explorations of cannibalism (literal and metaphorical); Catholicism; grief; the function of racism in our society; the Influence of parents on the intellectual and artistic process; the function of gender identity in our work; and the phenomenology of consent. PCW is an ethnically and culturally diverse group of multiple generations, and we are far from unified in our political beliefs. Our core functioning principal is a desire to experiment in our work in a venue free from commercial considerations, to work outside our regular spaces of presentation, and to function as public intellectuals who create work that is accessible, both physically and intellectually, to a larger public.

Publicly Private: Hiroshi Kumagai
with performance by Gocha Tsinadze
Project Room
October 24 – December 12, 2009
Opening Reception October 24, 7-10 PM
as part of Newark Open Doors

Hiroshi Kumagai was born in Tokyo, Japan and now lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey. His works involve the creation of conceptually based sociopolitical illustrations. In 2006 he began utilizing vinyl and images of quintessential American family and popular culture items to address issues of gender roles, the fragility of family dynamics, and the underlying threads of violence and danger that underpin American society.

“As a part of ongoing theme, I started collecting images of individuals who are engaging in online video chat, such as AIM and Skype. I was first fascinated by the intimate quality of the images and then captivated by the exhibitionist and voyeuristic quality of this method of communication. I intended not to make a judgment on digital communication or users of the medium, but to observe and abstract images as a transcription of what’s lost in translation.”

Cicely Cottingham‘s Flags
with accompanying essay by Dr. Alejandro Anreus 
Liminal Space
October 24 – December 12, 2009
Opening Reception October 24, 7-10 PM
as part of Newark Open Doors

“If a flag is a symbol, then what do my Flags stand for (or represent)? The psychologist, Carl Jung contrasted the view that a sign stands for something known and a symbol is used to stand for something that is unknown and that cannot be made clear or precise. The meaning of my Flags is certainly unknown to me, except that they continue an exploration of color, form and light and are an emotional reflection of my immediate visual environment: urban, domestic and natural.

Flags are a break from my work of fifteen years—that of single works composed of four panels each. Each Flag is composed of three panels of different dimensions and are acrylic on tracing vellum. As they accumulated, I began to picture them blowing in the wind, suspended from a line, like clothes on a clothesline or Tibetan prayer flags. Using President Obama’s first book, “Dreams from My Father” as a title oracle, I closed my eyes and for each title, pointed a finger to a place on a page. “We don’t have more time” became a title, and so on.”

Cicely Cottingham was born in Brooklyn, New York. After completing studies at Pratt, she lived for a time in Manhattan, Cambridge Massachusetts and England before eventually settling in New Jersey where she had spent her childhood in an old farmhouse surrounded by woods. It was there that she immersed herself in the light that is particular to the New York Atlantic coast. Her childhood environment became her primary creative influence. Other early influences were her mother, Marjorie, who instilled in her a deep satisfaction in the making of things; as well as the first modernist, Cezanne. Her more recent work shows a move to abstraction: color and shape reflect a more urban environment. Her work in design over the last twenty years has provided another fertile ground for expanding her vocabulary as a painter.


Zoomitography Rhizome
Rodolfo Rojas-Rocha
curated by Donna Rae Kessinger

New Media Room
October 24 – December 12, 2009
Opening Reception October 24, 7-10 PM
as part of Newark Open Doors

Zoomitograhy Rhizome is a site-specific installation created by Costa Rican artist Rodolfo Rojas-Rocha using a combination of conceptual maps, and hand-drawn elements derived from organic, rhizomatic and anatomical forms as well as mythological and pre-Columbian symbols.

Rojas-Rocha has explained: “I am interested in hybridized culture….to culture means transforming nature; I transform culture with rhizomatic drawing.

Concept mapping is the strategy employed to develop the art. A concept map consists of nodes or cells as rhizomatic links, which contain an image, words and lines. The links are labeled and denote direction with an arrow symbol related with muscles and organization structure. The labeled links explain the relationship between the nodes. The arrow describes the direction of the relationship and reads like a visual sentence.”

 Harrell Fletcher

Curated by Ethan Ham
Main Gallery
September 12 – October 3
Opening Reception September 12, 7-10 PM

Artists: Becca Albee, Holly Andres, Patterson Beckwith, Chase Browder, xtine burrough, Cassandra C. Jones, Stephanie Dean, Dennis Delgado, Joel Fisher, Harrell Fletcher, Joy Garnett, Greta Ham, Tim Hutchings, Steve Lambert, Gus Meisner, Robin Michals, Hajoe Moderegger, MTAA, Shani Peters, Anne Schiffer, Christian Marc Schmidt, Tom Thayer, Mariana Tres, Angie Waller with writing by Sarah Kate Baie, Michael Betancourt, Julia Bryan-Wilson, Sharon L. Butler, Andrei Codrescu, Greg Cook, Laurel Gitlen, Ethan Ham, Ellen Handy, N. Katherine Hayles, Paddy Johnson, Lisa Kjaer, Jonathan Martin, Carolina A. Miranda, Ceci Moss, Jack Murnighan, Laura Napier, Tim Maul, Catherine Spaeth, Hrag Vartanian, James Wagner

Camera/Chimera is a series of photographs, each by a different artist. The artists are asked to replicate the previous artist’s photograph. The result is a visual game of “Telephone” in which the image slowly (and sometimes abruptly) mutates through the process of recreation.

Ethan Ham is a sculptor and installation artist who often uses kinetics, electronics, and computers in his artwork. His projects include Tumbarumba and Self-Portrait (both commissioned by Turbulence.org), Anthroptic (commissioned by The Present Group), and Email Erosion (commissioned by Rhizome.org). Ethan is an Assistant Professor of New Media at The City College of New York.

Recent Works by Sara Wolfe
Project Room

“Working wet on wet, my abstract paintings evolve quickly through an improvisational process. I am influenced by how things move and grow, from the gradual process of a skyscraper being constructed to the way a path meanders down a hillside. My shapes combine the organic with the plastic. As infants learning to draw make figures with twenty arms, they express a new awareness of their limbs rather than a representational observation. My act of painting similarly involves capturing our physical experience of existing in the world, and memories of those heightened moments of awareness.”

Sound In Space
Curated by Adam Di Angelo
New Media Room

This installation presents an artificial landscape in sound. The artists each contribute aspects of the sonic environment. Elements move systematically across the speakers yielding various perspectives relative to the listener’s position and moment of observation.

Artists: Gina Binetti, Adam Di Angelo, Jonas Gabbai, Zach Gage, Anne Guthrie, Pablo Valencia

 Stephen Mishol

curated by Evonne M. Davis
Seton Hall University School of Law, August 1 – January 9, 2010
Arts Guild New Jersey, September 11 – October 9, 2009
Gallery Aferro, March 13 – April 24, 2010


Kate Bonner, Tammy Renee Brackett, Kyle Coniglio, Lisa di Donato, Lisa Elmaleh, Dahlia Elsayed, Jacob Galle, Kelly S. Goff, Michelle Levante, Patrick Millard, Stephen Mishol, Joan Pamboukes, K. Shelton, Dmitry Strakovsky, Kai Vierstra, Sue Zwick

Tectonic refers to large-scale processes that take place within the earth. This multi-site exhibition was provoked by the changeability of the internal environment, and the attendant reality that convictions change with the climate, relationships change as convictions do, and nothing is still.

Does the shape of our internal lives reflect the shape of the structures that surround us?

Real Cool Time: 
Andrew Leo Baron
Curated by Evonne M. Davis
with fully illustrated color catalog with accompanying essay by Kara L. Rooney
catalog design by Rebecca Jampol

June 27 – July 25, 2009
Opening Reception June 27, 7 – 10 PM

See images from exhibition

“…Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the paintings undermine the long sanctified notion of art as therapeutic, offering in their wake a realization of institutional deception and mal-intent.

Such declarations can be read on multiple levels, not simply pertaining to the art world but to the media, government and innumerable cultural institutions at large. As we as a society grow more and more compliant, content to be force fed with content and intent, we are in danger of entering an ideological vortex, one which once entered is difficult if not impossible to claw our way out of. In this sense, Landscape Narcotic, as well as many other of Baron’s pieces, act as visual equivalents of a call-to-arms.”

-from the essay

Deceptive Landscapes
Hector Canonge
New Media Room
in collaboration with City Without Walls for the 2009 Newark New Media Residency
June 27 – July 25, 2009
Opening Reception June 27, 7 – 10 PM

See images from exhibition

Deceptive Landscapes relates to the genetic manipulation of seeds, the politics of food production, and the effects of GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) on the natural landscape of farming. Inspired by recent trends in eco-friendly products, organic produce, and green marketing campaigns, Deceptive Landscapes, mediates an immersive visual discourse through a site-specific installation that integrates the use of text, video, and sonic technologies.

New Video Works:
Michael Amter
Project Room

Michael Amter will be showing new video works informed by his travels. Michael has worked in a variety of media, including experimental video with LCD projections. His work is drawn from personal experiences that are expressed through the code of graphic symbolism, and contain thematic properties from scientific theory.

Also on the 27th: Aferro Residency Open Studios

 Jonathan Franco

Tabula Rasa
Curated by Evonne M. Davis
March 21 – May 16, 2009
Opening Reception March 21, 7-10 PM
Closing Reception May 16, 4-6 PM
with fully illustrated color catalog, essay by artist Ryan Schroeder

see images from reception

Tabula Rasa (‘ täbyoŏlə ˈräsə; ˈräzə) refers to an absence of preconceived ideas or predetermined goals; a clean slate. The phrase carries baggage from belief systems in which the human mind at birth is viewed as having no innate ideas. Denying what is obvious is practiced as a gesture of resistance by some of the artists, most or all of whom are affected, however indirectly, by the notions derived from existentialism and the nothingness of existence, ennui. Inspired curatorially by the concept of residual information that persists after erasure, the exhibition is one of several to date by Evonne M. Davis concerning the nature of knowing, learning and unlearning.

ORIGIN Latin, literally ‘scraped tablet,’ denoting a tablet with the writing erased.

Artists: Dave Beck, Katrina Bello, Michael Davies, Brian DeLevie + Isshaela Ingham, Gary Duehr, Maria Emilov, Jonathan Franco, Brian Gustafson, Erik Hanson, Emily Henretta, Greg Leshé, Casey Lynch, Carol Petino, Kara Rooney, Ryan Schroeder,
Joshua Schwebel, Travis LeRoy Southworth, Ian Summers, Alexis WestJoshua Schwebel has traveled from Ontario, Canada to Newark to perform Displacement, a thematic exploration of the relationship between event, spectator and artist.”I propose to challenge the audience to a game of hide and seek. I will publish the city block (giving the co-ordinates of four intersecting streets) and time-frame in the classified section of the Star Ledger under ‘lost and found’. This will define where and when I will be hidden. I will then hide within this outlined space/time block. I will remain in that position until the allotted time has elapsed.

Nitrogen Cycles
Andrew Demirjian and Zachary Seldess
New Media Room

March 21 – May 16, 2009
Opening Reception March 21, 7-10 PM
Artist Talk May 9, 3:30 PM

see images from reception

Nitrogen Cycles from Andrew Demirjian on Vimeo.

Nitrogen Cycles is an 8-channel sound art installation that sonically maps the daily activity of live fish into the gallery space. A rectangular fish tank stands in the center of the gallery and each fish is assigned a unique tone that spatially travels through the rectangular gallery corresponding to that fish’s activity. The music generated is a reflection of the dynamic shifts in the location, speed and interactions of the fish in their daily lives. Through motion and color tracking a sonic transposition is created that immerses the listener into an aural experience of the movements in the fish tank.
Andrew Demirjian is a media artist whose work focuses on creating alternative relationships between audio, video and text that take the form of single-channel videos and multi-channel installations. He is interested in using sensors and motion tracking to create reactive environments between physical and mediated spaces. The works often explore the lines between interior and exterior, mass media effects on the individual and the psychology of male identity. Andrew employs conceptual systems of juxtaposition, categorization and randomness as structuring devices versus conventional narrative arcs and character development.

His work has been featured in numerous exhibitions and galleries including the White Box gallery, Harvestworks, LMAK Projects and GAS in Manhattan. Over the last year he has had multiple international exhibitions including the Garden of Earthly Delights in Korea, Küf/Moldin Belgium, Artist in Wonderland in Poland and Analogue/Digital in England.  Andrew Demirjian received a 2006 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Puffin Foundation Grant, an Artslink grant and has been awarded artist in residencies at the Newark Museum, the Experimental Television Center, the Visual Studies Workshop and The Armenian Center for Contemporary Experimental Art. Mr. Demirjian received his MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College and he is a professor at Monmouth University teaching courses in video production, visual culture and film history.

Zachary Seldess is Brooklyn-based composer, programmer, and media artist. His work has been published in Antennae, a biannual print journal of experimental poetry and music, and he has presented artistic and educational software at the 2007 New Interfaces in Musical Expression Conference and the Chamber Music America 2009 National Conference. Together with performer-composer Jane Rigler, Zachary is currently co-designing and programming the Manhattan New Music Project’s “Music Cre8tor” – an interactive educational sensor/software interface designed specifically for children with disabilities. Other projects include sound design and programming for New York-based dancer Johari Mayfield; and design of real-time multi-channel audio and video performance software for video artist Hisao Ihara. Zachary has also programmed for artists Lillian Ball, Rashaad Newsome, Patrick Clancy, Miguel Frasconi, Mari Kimura, Rebecca Cherry, Mem1, Tobaron Waxman, Shana Moulton, and others.

Zachary currently works as a resident programmer and teacher at Harvestworks where he regularly teaches courses in interactive programming ranging from introductory courses in Max/MSP/Jitter and Processing to special topics such as multi-channel audio/video spatialization and live video tracking. He also works as an adjunct music lecturer at Brooklyn College CUNY, and as a researcher at the CUNY Graduate Center’s New Media Lab, where he creates interactive virtual sound environments in 3D Game Space using the Torque Game Engine and Max/MSP. In 2005, Zachary founded the Intermedia Arts Group, a collective committed to the support and performance of new and interactive media artwork within the CUNY artistic community. He is also co-director of the upcoming first annual New York Electroacoustic Music Festival and Conference – featuring three days of mixed-media concert works, interactive sound installations, and paper sessions, and two days of workshops.

Into the Singularity
Tom Block
Project Room
March 21 – May 16, 2009
Opening Reception March 21, 7-10 PM
Artist Talk May 16, 3:30 PM

see images from exhibition

“Into the Singularity” is a 72 foot long painting exploring the horror of classical mystical attainment. That path is cold, lonely, miserable, unloved, terrifying, insanity producing and just plain wrong. I have created this massive paper, collage, drawing and painting piece to express the seething human singularity that percolates in the deepest recesses of the mystic’s brain. Fusing color, a morass of hands, screaming faces and dribbling tears of line, this work explores the horrifying interior space created by the classical mystic’s path. It is an empty, narcissistic and rudderless journey, leading only into a cul-de-sac of a-human experience.

I utilize the visual arts, writing projects and scholarship to explore the interaction between the spiritual life of humanity and our sometimes-sad shared reality. My work explores humans’ attempts to make sense of this world. At the very best, I hope that my art will have an activist influence, causing viewers to question their own personal roles in making the world a better place to live.”