The Montclair State University Galleries to present ‘Nothing Under Heaven’

Photo Courtesy of Whitney Browne
Dancers Héctor Cerna and Chris Tabassi perform ‘To Move Is To Remember.’

MONTCLAIR, NJ –– The Montclair State University Galleries will present the exhibition “Nothing Under Heaven,” by Joseph Liatela, from Sept. 13 through Dec. 9. The exhibition will be on view at the University Galleries’ newly reconfigured flagship exhibition space, the George Segal Gallery, 1 Normal Ave. in Montclair. 

The artist’s first solo museum exhibition brings together new commissions and recent works that explore the need for connection, pleasure and agency within oppressive systems. Exhibited alongside photography by Andy Warhol and religious art by Carlo Dolci from the University Galleries’ collection, Liatela invokes a range of stories to assess what it means to move together, remember together and repair together.

In “Nothing Under Heaven,” Liatela correlates spaces of communal experience — churches, medical institutions and clubs — where promises of salvation and healing commingle in proximity to loss and grief. By uniting these different spaces through a range of mediums and interdisciplinary analysis, Liatela reveals how these seemingly disparate environments hold similar contradictions that impact the way individuals perceive themselves and each other. 

The exhibition is curated by Jesse Bandler Firestone, curator and exhibition coordinator of the University Galleries.

“In connecting aspects of religious belief, health care and underground spaces, Liatela presents the opportunity to reorient our understanding of how these fields relate,” Firestone said. “The ecstatic joy shared on the dance floor, the yearning for salvation in a church and the discomfort or alienation felt in the waiting room at a hospital are all blurred and recategorized. These emotional experiences are meant to be contemplated and moved through.”

An opening reception will be held Thursday, Sept. 22, from 4 to 7 p.m., featuring a live performance to “To Move Is To Remember,” a dance piece. On Monday, Feb. 26, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Liatela will be in conversation with Firestone in conjunction with Montclair State University’s art and design program. On Thursday, Nov. 3, from 1 to 2 p.m., Firestone will lead a curator’s tour of the exhibit.

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