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Newark Public Library mounts two new exhibitions
Press Release March 23, 2006
Media only contact: J. Dennis Papp
(973) 733-7798; dpapp@npl.org

The Newark Public Library, 5 Washington Street, announced it would mount two new exhibitions in mid-April. William J. Dane, the library’s Keeper of Prints, Posters and Works of Art on Paper, is the curator for both shows. The one on the second-floor gallery, entitled Shopping Bags: Infinite Design Solutions for an Everyday Product, will be on view from April 12 through June 17. The third-floor exhibition, entitled A Salute to Two Great 20th-Century Artists: Picasso and Lichtenstein, is on view from April 17 to June 14. There will be a gallery tour of the two exhibitions with the curator on Friday, April 28 at 10:30am. Those interested should R.S.V.P. to 973-733-7793.

Carefully selected, A Salute to Two Great 20th-Century Artists includes original prints, historic posters, notable art books, biographical materials, and portrait photographs of two visual artists whose works dominate the international art world in contemporary times.

Among the works by Picasso are signed prints for the now rare edition published in America in 1934 for Lysistrata by Aristophanes, plus Au Cirque, a 1913 print showing circus performers on the back of a prancing horse, from the artist’s Rose Period. Twenty posters from the 1950s and 1960s feature Picasso’s paintings, ceramics, prints and sculptured pieces, including the celebrated likeness of Gertrude Stein, the original of which now hangs permanently in The Metropolitan Museum of Art as bequeathed in Miss Stein’s will.

The original prints by Roy Lichtenstein were acquired by purchase by the library in the 1960s when Pop art was confounding gallery and museum visitors via new visual concepts by the artist who was on the Art faculty of Douglass College in New Brunswick. One of these works is entitled Moonscape, and is a stunning screen print on Rowlux, a shimmering plastic material that the artist discovered in a novelty store. Another major print, entitled Reverie (from 1964), relates directly to comic strip art, which was a favored theme of the artist, who died in 1993.

The visual images in this exhibition include portraits of both artists, biographical data and highly colorful selections of their celebrated works.

Shopping Bags: Infinite Design Solutions for an Everyday Product is an exhibition that provides a happy and an educational opportunity for children and adults to explore a contemporary and historic survey of these items that have become a marketing fixture.

The Newark Public Library is showing well over 100 shopping bags that were selected from a gathering that now exceeds over 1,000 bags actively assembled over the past quarter of a century—going back to the great designs of the 1970s when the demand for bags became an international marketing custom. This is the seventh display at the library, and it is in response to wide interest from the general public for these portable and popular items from malls and boutiques around the world.

Some of the visual themes on the bags are directly related to specialized interests: music, food and drink, books, museums, and seasons. Upscale shops featuring deluxe merchandise are displayed from well-loved squires in London, Paris, Rome and Manhattan’s Fifth and Madison Avenues. Bags further represent international sources from Japan, Korea, China, the Ukraine, Mexico, Australia, and Europe, as well as major merchandise outlets across North America. Selected bags are from New Jersey sources, along with now redundant department stores: Bamberger’s, Woolworth’s and the much-missed Hahnes on Broad Street, Newark. The expanding museum world is well represented, as well as a grouping of miniature bags for dollhouses and tiny bags for such deluxe items as jewelry and watches.

Usually made of paper, the shopping bags of today are laminated, embossed, hot-stamped and even laser cut. They are shaped as squares, rectangles, triangles and hexagons. There would appear to be no limit to the application of creative formats. Handles are essential, and they are most often cut out of the bag itself and always near the top—but strong string, twine, colorful ribbons and even metal-linked chains sometimes appear.

The new bags on display include several with pockets on the front with a greeting card stuck into the pocket so that the card is already provided to the customer. Automobile images appear on some new bags almost as if the buyer can tuck a new car into the bag and take it home. Design elements include all-over patterns and blazing logos.

Many of the library’s bags came as gifts from people who could not discard the attractive, functional items. Others are from donors who have traveled around the globe.

Both exhibitions are free and open to the public during library hours: Monday, Friday and Saturday from 9:00am to 5:30pm; Tuesday through Thursday from 9:00am to 8:30pm. For more information call Mr. Dane at 973-733-7745, or visit these two web pages:

http://www.npl.org/Pages/ProgramsExhibits/Exhibits/Picasso06.html

http://www.npl.org/Pages/ProgramsExhibits/Exhibits/shopbags06.html

NOTE FOR THE MEDIA ONLY:
Should you wish to use examples of some works from the two exhibitions—complete with captions—you may select them from those in the two above-mentioned Internet links.

 

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