Pictures of Newark

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As a lifelong citizen of Newark, I spent much of the past few years painting and photographing my changing city. Pictures features a selection of my work, complemented by classical music. Five of Modest Mussorgsky’s pieces from his composition Pictures at an Exhibition are selected, each of which represents the feel of a certain part of Newark. The following five locations are featured:
1. THE PASSAIC RIVER – music: Mussorgsky’s Promenade
2. OLD ESSEX COUNTY JAIL – music: With the Dead in the Language of Death
3. MOUNT PLEASANT CEMETERY – music: Promenade
4. DOWNTOWN NEWARK – music: Mozart’s Death March (k 453a)
5. PORT NEWARK – music: Promenade
Growing up in Newark, I am inspired and saddened by the inner city. I am inspired by Newark’s hope of renewal after decades of white flight, under-investment, and urban neglect. I am saddened by the loss of my city’s historic architecture and urban fabric to the wrecking ball of what is called progress.
Curious about the history of the old Essex County Jail? Explore this interactive exhibit.

 

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 Featured work from this film

Proposal for a pop-up park near the Flatiron Building

In front of Manhattan’s Flatiron Building is an unused, triangular spit of land bordered by three major streets: Fifth Avenue, Broadway, and 23rd Street. Every day, thousands of pedestrians pass and cars through this highly visible intersection. This underutilized space with traffic on all sides could become a vibrant, public square. This park should reflect and respond to the dynamic and energetic neighborhood.
Pop-up Park creates a mixed-use public space that responds to users. Narrow metal panels measuring three by five meters roll out of a wedge-shaped storage container. Each panel serves a different function: bleachers, benches, bookshelf, public mural, basketball hoop, etc. When in use, the panels are alternated to adapt to multiple uses. When not in use, the panels slide back into their container, leaving an open communal space. The dimensions of each rectangular correspond to the geometrically perfect shape of the golden rectangle. This permits a functional yet aesthetically pleasing geometric composition to be incorporated into each panel. The park’s periphery is planted with trees to shade the communal area and to act as a visual buffer from the hectic city.

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urban park 1

urban park 2

South Bronx

View more artwork like this about my experiences walking in New York City.

Strolling in the Bronx, one aspect arrests me every time: Homogeneity. Block after block, street after street, a never ending treadmill of bodegas, tenements, hair salons, C-TOWN supermarkets, strip malls, and laundries. I ask myself, “Wasn’t I just here before?” I become an explorer lost wandering; I retrace my footsteps.
And then . . .  There is the ceaseless cacophony of Spanish speakers, buses, and autos. The chaotic maze of streets leads me to fantasize walking thru a painting by de Chirico. The copious signage for SHOES, SHIRTS, PIZZA, etc. hints at shabby decadence. The never too distant fast food joint hints at obesity in a relative food desert. The din of distant cars on the Cross Bronx or Major Deegan hint at the childhood asthma that I, too, had. I momentarily immerse myself in the urban grid.
After many hours, I spy an elevated subway stop in the far distance. I take the next southbound train back to Manhattan. I must return to the Bronx soon. The outer boroughs beckon.

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New Jersey Meadowlands

The New Jersey Meadowlands, nestled between New York City and Newark, is a strange sort of in-between zone. It belongs neither to nature nor to man. The grasslands and birds of nature are abundant. So, too are the derelict factories and warehouses. The unwanted detritus of civilization is cast off into the Meadowlands, ranging from garbage to industry.
Millions of commuters to and from the suburbs to New York City pass through this region of indeterminate identity. Many look out the windows of passing trains, planes, and cars. Yet few care to observe the lapping tides and bizarre beauty of this unwanted strip of land. These views show various scenes from my daily train ride on New Jersey Transit between Newark Broad Street and Hoboken Terminal.

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When dinosaurs take over New York City at night

In the New York City of my imagination, dinosaurs emerge from the Museum of Natural History to prowl “the city that never sleeps.” They roam the streets engaging in dinosaur-like activities: scaring people, stealing from butcher shops, and terrorizing the skyline. For one night, the city belongs to them.

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Political Cartoons

The following images are political style cartoons about nationalism, fascism, and communism. They are intentionally drawn in the pedantic and high-contrast style of propaganda images from the Soviet Union. The rigid use of geometry and symmetry is intentional, to subtly communicate the oppression these regimes stand for.

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McDonald’s Fast Food Slaughter Machine

This image is inspired by H.G. Wells 1895 book The Time Machine. H.G. wells describes two worlds. The world above is a peaceful garden and amusement park full of naïve residents. Monsters live in the dark world below of tunnels, machines, and the equipment that sustains the garden above. The monsters emerge only at night with their nasty machines to harvest people for “USDA approved grade A” burger patties.

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A Goliath made of corporate logos fights a tiny David dressed as Uncle Sam.