Glassbook Project: Provisions
Gateway Project Spaces Presents GlassBook Project: Provisions
June 4 - August 14, 2015
Opening Reception: June 4, 2015, 6-9PM
Gateway Project Spaces, 2 Gateway Center, Newark
Glassbook Project: Provisions, a collaborative project by artists Nick Kline & Adrienne Wheeler with Endless Editions, Samantha Boardman and Rutgers University-Newark Book Arts Class from June 4 – August 14, 2015. The project will open with a reception Thursday, June 4, 6 – 9 pm at Gateway Project Spaces Gallery, 2 Gateway Center, Newark, NJ.
Glassbook Project: Provisions is an exhibition of artist books inspired by the recordings of the Krueger-Scott African-American Oral History Collection, consisting of over 200 audio cassette recordings of interviews with African-American residents of Newark, NJ who migrated to the city between 1910 and 1970 during the Great Migration. Seven of these interviews are subjects for the collaborative artworks collected here, which seek to keep the interviewees’ voices alive for a new generation through a contemporary context. The title of the collection – Provisions – is inspired by descriptions of the boxes and bags used by individuals to carry food on their long journeys northward – a custom developed in response to “Jim Crow” laws that barred African-Americans from most public accommodations and restaurants.
The conceptual starting point for Provisions is the portrait series, Elizabeth (2015), by GlassBook Project Founder and Artist Nick Kline and Artist-in-Residence Adrienne Wheeler, whose mother migrated from the South during the Great Migration, and whose father was from a long-time Northern family. Working with Kline to re-photograph and re-focus the images from her parents’ wedding album, Wheeler examines a personal history through the focal point of her mother, the bride. Following the original sequence and visual narrative of the wedding album, Kline and Wheeler’s series is projected as a large-scale slideshow that alternates between entire images and carefully cropped details such as hand gestures, light fixtures, textures of church pews, and graphic elements of the bride’s dress. The new photographs, enhanced by photographically isolating details, help to reveal Wheeler’s mother’s forward-moving identity.
Similarly, each of the artist books on display—created by students of Kline’s Book Arts class at Rutgers University-Newark—is an abstract, conceptual portrait based on specific details drawn from the interviews. As part of a class assignment, students participating in the project created one-of-a-kind, interactive sculptures made of glass in book form pioneered by Kline’s GlassBook Project. Using the same concepts and narratives of the glass books, NYC/NJ-based publishers Endless Editions created a limited edition, Risograph-printed publication on paper. Kline, Wheeler, and Endless Editions also worked together to produce a publication that transforms the Krueger-Scott questionnaire originally used to conduct the oral history interviews. Both celebrating this important historical document, a collaboration created by Catherine Lenix-Hooker with renowned historians Giles R. Wright II, the late Professor Clement Alexander Price and the collective wisdom of volunteers from Bethany Baptist Church, and re-framing it in a contemporary context, the new document uses colorful inks to evoke an informal and less scientifically objectifying conversation.
Other works in the exhibition include a glass reproduction of the Wheeler family album; a Risograph publishing workshop/salon; and digitizing historic photographs from the City of Newark Municipal Archive.
About the GlassBook Project
Started in 2009, the GlassBook Project is an ongoing, socially engaged, collaborative artwork by Nick Kline, his students at Rutgers University-Newark, other artists-in-residence, writers, and local organizations. Provisions is a collection created in collaboration with artist Adrienne Wheeler. Partners on this project include Endless Editions (Paul John & Anthony Tino), Samantha Boardman, and Rutgers University-Newark students in the Spring 2015 Book Arts class. This project was produced in coordination with Rutgers University-Newark, The Newest Americans Project, and the Center for Migration and the Global City and Samantha Boardman. The Provisions Project has received support from The Office of the Chancellor, Rutgers University-Newark and The Dean’s Office, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University-Newark. The books were created at and with the support of GlassRoots, Newark, NJ.
About the Artists
Nick Kline is an artist working with photography, artists’ books and social practice. He received an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art, and BFA from the University of the Arts. Selected solo exhibitions include: R. Jampol Projects, New York, NY; Open Source Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY; Sol Mednick Gallery, Philadelphia, PA; Occurrence Gallery, Montreal, Canada; Prosjektrom Normanns, Stavanger, Norway. Selected group exhibitions include: Smack Mellon Studios, Brooklyn, NY; Berlinskej Model, Prague, Czech Republic, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown, PA; Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis, MN. Special Projects include Printed Matter Inc., Window installation, New York, NY; UNTITLED Art Fair at Art Basel, Miami Beach, FL. Kline is a recipient of 2011 Emergency Grant Award, Foundation for Contemporary Art, NYC. His artists’ publication Sorry You’re Here, was a finalist in NATT & DAG Magazine’s, Norway, National Book of the Year Award, 2012. His artists’ publications are in permanent collections including the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Artexte and Banff Center. Kline’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Time-Out NY, among others. In 2014 Kline was Artist-in-Residence at Artexte, Montreal, Canada; Center for Contemporary Arts, Prague, Czech Republic.
Adrienne Wheeler is an artist, independent curator, arts educator and advocate for social justice. Her art provides a platform for expressing her discontent with inequalities, particularly those affecting the lives of women and children. The work, informed by various Central and West African ancestral and spiritual practices and cultural traditions, explores the roles that these traditions (misunderstood, marginalized, and often demonized) have played in resistance to the inhumanity of slavery and other forms of oppression. Adrienne lives in Newark, NJ. In addition to her work as an Artist Educator at Rutgers Paul Robeson Galleries, she has participated in exhibitions in Cuba and Senegal as an artist and curator.
Endless Editions is a collaboration that aims at fusing the curatorial and printing experiences of both individuals to highlight diverse artists by and through the production of limited edition books, prints, and events. Paul and Anthony have worked together since their days as students in the Department of Printmaking at SUNY New Paltz. The curatorial eye of Endless Editions finds specific interest in artists working across a broad range of media; the partnership’s mission is to realize the print concepts of these artists, many of whom may not posses the specific printmaking knowledge to do so on their own. Endless Editions hopes to aid in interpreting original ideas, and then to bring those ideas to life in new formats. The partnership operate out of Newark and Jersey City, NJ; Queens, NY, and the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in midtown Manhattan. Works from Endless Editions can be found at Printed Matter, McNally Jackson, Art Metrople, Con Artist Collective, MoMA Library, Newark Public Library, and the New York Public Library.
Samantha Boardman received her PhD in American Studies from Rutgers University-Newark. For the past three years she has served as Research Fellow and Project Coordinator for the Krueger-Scott Collection through the Newest Americans Initiative at the Center for Migration and the Global City, developing digital humanities projects and undergraduate curricula and directing the creation of multimedia web content based on digitized textual, visual and audio archival material. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Boardman is an award-winning digital documentarian and a musician with four albums of original compositions and numerous collaborations to her credit.