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(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)August 25, 2003

(Mahwah) — Selected video works from the George Potter Library collection are featured in Text, Number, Story, an exhibit opening Wednesday, September 10 in the Berrie Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey. A reception is scheduled the day of the opening from 5 to 7 p.m.; exhibit curator and artist Shalom Gorewitz will present a talk at 6:30 p.m. Presented in four programs, the work will rotate from September 10 through October 10 in the Photo Lounge of the Berrie Center before moving to the Potter Library where it will run through October 24.

Exile, identity and difference are central issues in postmodern life and art,” says Gorewitz. The exhibition emphasizes the work of Jewish and African American artists to point to issues of family/identity, historical memory, sexuality and prejudice.” Video griots, storytellers and muralists share communal stories and myths. The use of text, hyper-visualization and music soundtracks results in complex perceptions about duality.

The exhibit title contains a key to video art analysis. Text represents facts, principles and laws of nature. Numbers represent process, time and experience. Story represents fluidity, creativity and interpretation.

The first program begins with Allan ‘n Allen’s Complaint” by Korean-born Nam June Paik, collaborating with Japanese-born Shigeko Kubota. It is mostly about the father-son tensions of two Jews, the poet Allen Ginsberg and conceptual artist Allan Kaprow. In the same part, Gorewitz presents his work including Jerusalem Road and Excavations” recorded in Israel. His other works include Blue Swee,” Promised Land,” Borrowed Time” and Unguarded Moments,” which relate to cultural and visual concerns historically shared by Jews and African Americans.

The second program, dense with multiple layers, meanings and narratives, reflects Nicholas Mirzoeff’s idea of multiple viewpoint” and includes Drive By: Shoot” by Portia Cobb, An I For An I” by Lawrence Andrews, as well as Say I’m a Jew” by French-born Pier Marton. These intense works often refer to violence, loneliness and to W.E.B. Dubois’ phrase the double consciousness” that accompanies all in exile and Diaspora.

The third program focuses on issues of body, sexuality, desire and memory. In Black Body,” Thomas Allen Harris uses the makonde carvings of Tanzania to explore the psychic legacies of people of the African Diaspora.” Liberian-born Cheryl Dunye’s The Potluck and The Passion” is a Brechtian narrative that deconstructs a fictional” dinner party. Canadian Ellen Flanders reveals language and loss, as discussed by women talking about their study of Yiddish in Once.”

The last program is a feature-length work, These Are Not My Images (Neither There Nor Here),” by Israeli-born Irit Batsry. First-prize winner in the 2001 Whitney Museum Biennial, it is a brilliantly imagined tour de force journey into the mysteries of India, while questioning what it means to be a telenomadic artist.

The exhibit, suggested by Art Galleries Director Sydney Jenkins, reflects Ramapo College’s mission as an incubator for global and multicultural perspectives. The several videos grounded in shared themes help the viewer realize that roles flow between differences and similarities. The struggles are not the same but reflect the other. In this way, the exhibition complements the larger goals of a liberal arts education,” says Gorewitz. Numerous resources on the theme are available for study in the George Potter Library collection.

For more information including the viewing schedule and locations, call (201) 684-7147.

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Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The College is ranked #1 among New Jersey public institutions by College Choice, has been named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and is recognized as a top college by U.S. News & World Report, Kiplinger’s, Princeton Review and Money magazine, among others. Ramapo College is also distinguished as a Career Development College of Distinction by CollegesofDistinction.com, boasts the best campus housing in New Jersey on Niche.com, and is designated a “Military Friendly College” in Victoria Media’s Guide to Military Friendly Schools.

Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Business Administration, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Technology, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice.

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