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Library holds "shopping bag" exhibition
Press Release September 11, 2000

The Newark Public Library is mounting an exhibition centered on the design and production of shopping bags: a portable art. Entitled Shopping Bags Go Worldwide, it will be on view from September 20 to December 30 in the third-floor gallery of the main library, 5 Washington Street. There is no charge to view the exhibition.

Curated by William J. Dane, the library's keeper of works of art on paper, the exhibition focuses on the international development of highly useful and decorative bags that are part of urban and mall life.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Bloomingdale's department stores produced scores of bags for special events arranged in their stores. These bags to this day remain a high point in this specialized field of design. A wide selection from this source is shown, demonstrating the spirited vitality and high originality from this up-scale commercial firm.

"We have selected one hundred bags from the library's total collection of more than one thousand," said Dane. "Included are examples from France, Italy, Russia, the Ukraine, the United States, England, Israel, Japan, China, and other Pacific Rim areas. The exhibition is often playful in spirit," he explained, "with a selection of bags highlighting Mickey Mouse and other designer creatures from the animal kingdom."

A grouping of notable, prize-winning designs on bags from international sources points out the highly competitive spirit which are part of the background creative environment of now essential items for all serious shoppers. A grouping of miniature bags for dollhouses and other toys is shown along with "odd and unusual shaped" bags from specialized boutiques.

There are colorful bags-mainly in red, white, and blue, with stars and stripes-featuring American patriotic holidays and special national events. The domestic market also is represented by "December holiday" bags from major retail outlets. The local (Newark) scene is represented by a salute of bags from Hahne's department store, along with other long-gone firms-large and small-that Dane felt "stir up warm feelings of nostalgia for many people."

For more information about Shopping Bags Go Worldwide, patrons are invited to call William J. Dane at (973) 733-7745, or they may visit the library's home page at


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