SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Performing Arts Center unveils the latest in its rotating series of visual art exhibitions in the Herb & Milly Iris Gallery at SOPAC. On view from Sept. 8 through Dec. 8, is “Politico: Art & The Humanities,” an exhibit that explores the cultural influence of politics and the humanities through the uses of various mediums of visual art. The intersection of art and politics provides an opportunity for exploration of the ideals of truth and transparency vs. censorship and political correctness as the tug-of-war between these ideological pursuits rages on.
The 2016 presidential election process has been volatile, and it continues to challenge citizens’ ideals, opinions and perceptions of ethical behavior, intelligence, moral conduct, passion and leadership. The constant presence and influence of technology and media have stoked the fires of divisiveness among the population at large, while simultaneously creating fervent unity amongst cultural sub-groups. No matter one’s affiliation or orientation, private or public, “Politico” is a “pressure-release valve” in the examination of the current state of national affairs and should be seen as a safe haven for discussion and expression of the important topics of our day.
The exhibit is part of a collaboration that showcases four arts organizations — SOPAC in South Orange; Arts Unbound in Orange; The Baird Center’s Pierro Gallery in South Orange; and Valley Arts Firehouse Gallery in Orange — connected by geography, and the desire to create a richer experience for viewers. This four-part exhibit gives artists a voice in some of the sizeable issues that are informing the 2016 November presidential election. The exhibitions can be enjoyed separately, as well as in conjunction with each other.
Arts Unbound will present “Politico: Access Ability,” a multimedia exhibition including exploring the politics around the often under-recognized issues that impact people living with disabilities of the body or mind, including issues such as lack of access and inclusion in education, employment, housing, transportation, health care, and civic and social life.
The Pierro Gallery of South Orange will present “Politico: (Do You) Know Your Place?” Running Wednesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. through Saturday, Dec. 3, “Know Your Place” — an idiom often used to keep people from challenging the status quo — seems particularly relevant in this election cycle just as one national party has for the first time in U.S. history nominated a woman as a candidate for president while the opposing party’s nominee stands charged with racism, bigotry and misogyny. Curators Raleigh Ceasar and Sandy Martiny investigate the ways artist have responded to the election issues regarding race and feminism.
Featured artists include Luis Alves, Aileen Bassis, Eric Beckerich, Kevin Bradley, Kathy Cantwell, Russell Christian, Christopher Cox, Lawrence Ciarallo, Jenny and Dean, Ron Freeman, John Friedland, Cheryl Gross, Betty McGeehan, Anne Oshman, Jay Santiago, Steve Singer, Felix Sockwell, Onnie Strother, Florence Weisz, and Miguel and Alejandro Vega, and is curated by Micha Hamilton. The artwork on exhibit is for sale with partial proceeds supporting SOPAC.