Copyright 2016. MARIA MIJARES. All Rights Reserved.
Coined and defined by MATTHEW GOSSER architect / artist/ professor at NJIT School of Architecture & Design—
“AR+CHEOLOGY” refers to an art movement concerned with the exploration of abandoned, historically significant buildings and the transformation of this experience into artwork…“
Over the past 10 years (2006 - present) MATT GOSSER selected sites in Newark, NJ and curated fascinating group exhibitions.
I had begun three decades before pursuing soul-hollowed terrains of urban landscapes with "DESIGNATED FOR DEMOLITION."
In 2006 I began urban spelunking in Matt's Newark selected abandoned building of the year .
I entered condemned sites—buildings marked with the kiss of death—to paint and preserve the historic significance and their resonant memory from what remained. Drawn into an empty scene, I’d move guardedly beyond unattended crumble and shards of scrap poetry, crawling over trash into wastelands dripping grief for a glorious past. Painting my way out of corners, I reconstruct and color a reality that I can live in.
MATT GOSSER EXHIBITION NOTES:
JAILHOUSE REVIVAL 2006
The old Essex County Jail is a forgotten, historic gem tucked behind massive stone walls in Newark’s University Heights District. Although it has landmark status, the jail, which dates back to 1837, has been neglected to the point of ruin.
This exhibition brings together 33 of the metro-area’s hottest artists with the hopes of breathing new life into this historic landmark. Featuring photography, poetry, painting, video installation, collage, furniture design and sculpture inspired by and often created from remnants of the Essex County Jail.
“The Modified History of Downtown Newark” is an art exhibition that examines the area affected by the new arena development. A large variety of artifacts were recovered from the rubble of the razed buildings and transformed into artwork that embraces the people and the history of Downtown Newark. In addition, photographs, video, historic documents and personal accounts will be used to supplement the audiences understanding of a Downtown Newark that is rapidly being modified. “ Curator Matthew Gosser
at NJIT with TO THE FUTURE at Jersey City Museum with GOLDEN AGE RUINS
WESTINGHOUSE PROJECT 2008
The abandoned Westinghouse factory complex spans two city blocks adjacent to Broad Street Train Station just north of Downtown Newark. The original 4-story brick factory was built in 1890 along the eastern edge of the site. A year later, George Westinghouse acquired the United Electric Light Company (an 1878 structure on the western edge of the site). During the early 1900’s, the properties between those buildings were purchased, razed and replaced by structures joining the complex into a seamless 4-story brick façade bounding Orange Street, University Avenue and Lackawanna Plaza.
The first products made in the Newark factory were trolley motors, electrical switchboards, arc lamps, volt meters and watt-hour meters, most of which benefitted from advancements made by Nikola Tesla in the area of AC electricity. By the 1920’s, Westinghouse’s Meter Division (as it was now known) had increased production to a wide variety of meters and instruments, protective relays, electric fans and radio speakers... as well as housing one of the country’s earliest radio stations (The first world series was broadcast from the roof of the building). During WWII, the Meter Division focused on supplying shock-proof relays, gauges and instrumentation for military use in tanks, planes and warships. At the height of its activity in the 1950’s and 60’s, the factory produced over a thousand varieties of relays, electrical instruments and tele-metering/switchboard equipment.
In order to keep up with production, the interior courtyard was converted into a warehouse and by 1969 a 5-story modernist building capped the western edge of the 500,000 sq. ft. complex. Soon after however, Westinghouse began laying off employees and by 1984 had vacated and sold the property to a consortium of developers that tried unsuccessfully to rehabilitate the complex.
In 2007, demolition commenced, exposing room after room of electrical instrumentation, architectural salvage, machinery and varied factory debris.
THEATRE TOWN 2009
An exhibition of artwork inspired by Newark's theatre history- from the early stage/vaudeville days to the introduction of silent films, burlesque, first-run and grindhouse movies and finally the performing arts. Most of Newark’s roughly 100 theatres were demolished decades ago, although some, such as Symphony Hall, the Little Theater, Rutgers-NJIT Theatre and NJPAC* are still in operation. The Paramount, RKO Proctor’s, Adams and others, while still standing, are neglected and rapidly deteriorating. This exhibition hopes to bring attention to Newark’s forgotten theatrical heritage.
"QUEEN of ANGELS: When a Church Dies"
The church and attached school are historic landmarks; built in the 1800’s by German immigrants, home to Newark’s first African American RC congregation, was at the epicenter of the ’67 rebellion and was used by Martin Luther King Jr. to deliver a speech 2 weeks before he was assassinated. The archdiocese somehow got permission to demolish these historic structures and plans to sell the vacant land to developers.