Sunday, September 5, 2021



WHEN: September 10 – October 15, 2021, An opening reception will take place on Sunday, September 12, 11:00am-5:00pm at Montclair Art Museum and 3:00-5:00pm at Studio Montclair Gallery. 
3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair, 3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair, AND STUDIO MONTCLAIR GALLERY, 127 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair (Above, Sharon Pitts, French Lace, Watercolor on paper, SMI)

Inspired by an Object is the fourth in SMI’s Community Partnership Exhibition Program created by cofounder and past president Virginia Block and features the artwork of 51 artists. It is based on the words of Jasper Johns, who made a note to himself in 1964 to “Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” Since then, these instructions have referred to artwork that uses everyday objects and other non-fine art materials and describes a revolutionary approach to art-making that developed during the early 20th century and continues through the late 1950s, 1960s, and beyond. (Left: Ann Volum, The Pants They Wore—Blue, Up-cycled jeans, lace, textiles, wool, washers, buttons, beads, MAM)

The works in the exhibition cover a broad range of political, societal, and personal issues. They incorporate both national icons (RBG collars or baseball) and common everyday objects that at one time had a preassigned gender identity (construction materials, tools, kitchen items) but have been elevated to become the subject of a work of art. According to curator Virginia Block, “It was very exciting to see what artists selected for their objects and how they chose to use and/or alter them.” Citing the importance of installation as a critical component of an exhibit, Block said, “I took into consideration how each piece relates to the next and how the viewer will be visually guided through the exhibition and how it would come together in a coherent manner for maximum impact.” Juror Ira Wagner, the Executive Director of the Montclair Art Museum, was “inspired to see a broad range of strong submissions; these show that Jasper John’s instruction to do something to an object continues to be inspiration to artists as they transform objects that are everyday items while also unusual subjects for a work of art.” (Above, right: Oscar Peterson, Paintbrush Selfie, Acrylic on paintbrush MAM)

This partnership between the Montclair Art Museum and Studio Montclair, Inc. marks a significant opportunity for artists in community to demonstrate their abundant talent, creativity, and artistic proficiency and give audiences a broad insight into artistic inspiration. (Left: Robert Kogge, Vice, graphite on canvas, MAM)

In addition to the partner exhibits, the museum will also be installing an exhibition titled Transformed: Objects Reimagined by American Artists, which will focus on works mostly from their permanent collection of American and Native American art.  Organized by Chief Curator Gail Stavitsky, the exhibition will include historic, modern, and contemporary works by Jasper Johns, Maurice Prendergast, Arshille Gorky, Andy Warhol, Man Ray, Louise Nevelson, Romare Bearden, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Sanford Biggers, just to name a few. This exhibition will run from September 11, 2021 – January 2023.

About the Curators:

Virginia S. Block is a native of New Jersey. She holds a BA degree in Art Education and an MA in Visual Arts from William Paterson University along with a NJ Teaching Certificate. One of the five co-founders of Studio Montclair, Block served as its first president from 1997–2002 and as Studio Montclair’s gallery director from 2010–2018. Her work is included in hundreds of corporate and private collections throughout the East Coast and the Midwest. She has had a long and varied art career, including working as an art teacher, package and logo designer, and director of incentive marketing for an advertising company. Throughout this time, she has continued to develop her career as a fine artist.

Ira Wagner is the Executive Director of the Montclair Art Museum. A Montclair resident for more than 30 years, Wagner began studying photography in 2008 after working on Wall Street for more than 25 years. With an interest in urban history and design, he has focused on photographing the urban landscape. Wagner received his MFA from the Hartford Art School in 2013 and has taught photography at Monmouth University in New Jersey. His project “Houseraising,” photographs of houses being razed on the Jersey Shore following Hurricane Sandy, was featured in The New Republic, National Geographic, and was released in a photobook by Daylight Books in 2018. His most recent project, “Twinhouses of the Great Northeast,” had a photograph included in MAM’s Personal Landscapes exhibition during 2020. Based on images from Twinhouses, he was selected a Critical Mass Top 50 photographer by Photolucida and participated in Review Santa Fe during 2019.

About the Virginia S. Block Community Partnership Exhibition Program:

The Virginia S. Block Community Partnership Exhibition Program was created by SMI’s cofounder and past president Virginia S. Block. The partnership aims to reach out to other nonprofit organizations each year to create a collaborative exhibition designed to inspire SMI members, create new connections, and reach new audiences.

Artists showing at Studio Montclair Gallery:

Olga Alexander, Gabrielle Baker, A Bascove, Stacy Bogdonoff, Bob Calleja, Pam Cooper, David Derr, Philip Drill, Harriet Finck, Yolanda Fundora, Michael Gabriele, Bennett Gewirtz, Anita Gladstone, Jay Goldberg, Bart Gorin, Pam Grafstein, Beth Heit, Jang Soon Im, Paul Jervis, Eleni Litt, Lara Lo Re, Dave Magyar, Deborah Morris, Harold Olejarz, Denis Orloff, Sharon Pitts, Amee Pollack, Steven Purtee, Theda Sandiford, Jen Scheuer, Debra Schore, Miriam Stern, Sandra Styer, Ann Vollum, Miroslav Vrzala, Agnieszka Wszolkowska. (Left: Debra Schore, Grater: Paper, medium)

Artists showing at the Montclair Art Museum:

Olga Alexander, Gabrielle Baker, A Bascove, Stacy Bogdonoff, Bettina Cousineau, Anne Dushanko Dobek, Harriet Finck, Leslie Ford, Bennett Gewirtz , Nancy Iovino, Paul Jervis, Martta Kelly, Robert Kogge, Annette Kushen, Steven Kushner, Lara Lo Re, Oscar Peterson, Jennifer Place, Amy Putman, Miriam Stern, Sandra Styer, Karen Tuveson, Ann Vollum, Miroslav Vrzala, Bill Westheimer, Agnieszka Wszolkowska.

(Left: Bennett Gewirtz, Top of the Mops, Acrylic on canvas)