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New Jersey Arts Annual Looks at Themes of Pandemic, Social Unrest

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The exhibit, the first new one since the Newark Museum of Art reopened June 3, contains 50 works by 45 New Jersey artists.

A definite sign of reopening -- the New Jersey Arts Annual at the Newark Museum of Art. It’s the first new exhibition since the museum reopened June 3, with 50 works from 45 New Jersey artists.

The exhibit is called ReVision and Respond, focused on themes of loss and isolation during the pandemic, as well as social injustice.

Curator Amy Simon Hopwood described the work of Anthony Alvarez, a photographer in Newark, who saw meaning in an empty chair.

“You have the sense of the artist really expressing these ideas of isolation, losing people with that empty chair,” she said, “and just the concerns and fears of wearing masks and protective gear and worrying about being infected with the pandemic.”

Hopwood talked about a painting essential workers can relate to.

“You just get this energy and fear again, coming out of the brushwork and the paint, and its entitled ‘Shopping Cart,’ and about having to work in a public space during a pandemic,” said Hopwood.

A work by Newark photographer Christopher Davis looks at a George Floyd protest.

“At the center is a young man holding a flag, not the American flag, but a variation, I think a protest flag from the 1990s,” said Hopwood, “and the light is coming through it, but it’s just this sense of even though you know it’s a George Floyd rally it’s very calm.”

You can see it all through August 22.