The Signal

Serving the College since 1885

Saturday June 15th

Five New Jersey museums you may not know about

<p><em>The Bainbridge Gallery in Princeton. (Photo courtesy of Lilly Ward)</em></p>

The Bainbridge Gallery in Princeton. (Photo courtesy of Lilly Ward)

By Lilly Ward 
Staff Writer

With the weather getting colder, now is the perfect time to catch up on local arts and culture while staying warm on the weekend. Visiting a museum also offers a chance to reset yourself before finals. A recent study from the Humanities and Human Flourishing Project in the Positive Psychology Center at Penn found that visiting art museums is linked to reducing negative mental states such as stress and symptoms of depression. 

The best part is you don’t have to venture too far to enjoy a trip to a museum. Here are five museums in New Jersey that possess impressive collections.

1. The Princeton Art Museum’s Bainbridge Art Gallery and the Hulfish Gallery

Location for Bainbridge: 158 Nassau St., Princeton

Location for Hulfish: 11 Hulfish St., Princeton 

Although the grand reopening of the main museum will not take place until the spring of 2025, both The Bainbridge Gallery (once the home of a historic Princeton family) and the Hulfish Gallery are free and open to the public. These galleries feature works of art by prominent contemporary artists such as Mikyoung Lee and Ori Gersht. 

At Bainbridge, “Threading Memories,” an exhibit on the work of Lee that demonstrates the meditative power of textile weaving is on until Jan. 27, 2024. Hulfish’s upcoming exhibit, “The Ten Commandments of Renée Cox,” explores themes of motherhood, liberation, and isolation and will open on Nov. 18.

2. Grounds for Sculpture

Location: 80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton

Just 15 minutes away from the College, Grounds for Sculpture boasts over 300 works of contemporary sculpture on beautifully landscaped grounds. On Nov. 24, GFS will launch its third season of “Night Forms,” a multi-sensory light and sound experience that resulted from their partnership with Klip Collective, a creative studio in Philadelphia that specializes in Projection mapping. The “Night Forms'' installation was designed specifically to complement the sculptures on the grounds. 

In addition to GFS’s 42 landscaped acres, they also have six galleries. Currently, GFS is showcasing “That’s Worth Celebrating: The Life and Work of the Johnson Family,” an exhibit that highlights the achievements of Seward Johnson’s family, the founder of GFS, as well as “Spiral Q: The Parade” and “Local Voices.” “Spiral Q,” the result of a collaboration with the Philadelphia-based nonprofit, offers insight into how art can build community. “Local Voices” demonstrates the power of storytelling by featuring personal narratives from New Jersey’s Indian diasporic community.

3. Montclair Art Museum

Location: 3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair

Montclair Art Museum’s collection ranges from 18th century portraiture to contemporary art produced by artists such as Vik Muniz, Kiki Smith and Barbara Kruger. Some of the highlights of the collection also include work by Thomas Cole, Mark Rothko, Alice Neel and Andy Warhol. 

The museum also has an impressive array of Native American art, making up a third of the collection. Some of the highlights of this collection include basketry and regalia, particularly from California; plains beadwork; paintings and works on paper; carved ivories from the Bering Sea region; Seminole and Muscogee dress; Navajo jewelry; and Pueblo pottery. Notable names from the collection include Mary Kawennatakie Adams and Harrison Begay. 

One of their current exhibitions featured, “Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale,” analyzes the connection between space, size, scale and political gestures in the work of women artists. Another current exhibition, “Siona Benjamin: Lilith in the New World,”  features the unique perspective of the artist as an Indian-American Jewish citizen who creates artwork that represent her transcultural and multicultural narratives.

4. The Zimmerli Art Museum

Location: 71 Hamilton St., New Brunswick

Located on the Rutgers University campus, Zimmerli offers free admission to all visitors. This museum houses more than 60,000 works of art ranging from antiquity to contemporary. The museum is known in particular for having what is considered to be the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. 

The collection also includes art of the Americas, European art, Asian art and even original illustrations for children's literature. Currently, the Zimmerli is displaying the work of Alonzo Adams, an artist who depicts contemporary Black experiences through visual storytelling.  

Another current exhibition highlights the work of artist Jim Toia, who creates sculptures made from foraged natural materials which references landscapes ravaged by drought and fires.

5. The Hunterdon Museum

Location: 7 Lower Center St., Clinton

In the 1700s, The Hunterdon Art Museum was a stone mill that sat on the Raritan River’s south branch. This small, picturesque and contemporary art museum regularly offers a rotation of exhibits. Currently they are showing three new exhibits: “Ahrong Kim: Over the Paper Plane,” “Marsha Goldberg & Andrew Zimmerman: Taking Shape” and “Phillip Adams: Leave No Trace (and ‘Wild Ride’ Mural).” 

Ahrong Kim, a New York-based artist born in South Korea, utilizes ceramic figurative sculptures in order to demonstrate the wide range of human emotions. 

“Marsha Goldberg & Andrew Zimmerman: Taking Shape” involves a collaboration with two artists whose art explores color, shape and space. Goldberg creates paintings by layering paint on translucent paper, while Zimmerman makes wall-mounted sculptures from wood coated with automotive paint. In “Phillip Adams: Leave No Trace (and ‘Wild Ride’ Mural),” Adams relies on charcoal, graphite and acrylic on wood panels to convey the sense of anxiety he feels surrounding the current climate crisis. Adams’s work mediates on the human impulse to shape and over time destroy a landscape, while always seeking out the pristine, remote and idyllic land.


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