Common interests: mobility and transformation of public life

— Glassboro, NJ: Rowan University Art Gallery is pleased to announce its upcoming exhibition Common interests: mobility and transformation of public life, which examines how public spaces – from hardscapes to natural landscapes – inform our everyday lives begins January 22 through March 16, 2013 with a reception and gallery talk on Wednesday, January 30, 5 – 7 pm. Working with sculpture, interventions, social practice, drawing, performance, and video, the artists in the exhibition reflect on the limitations and possibilities of public space, proposing new ways of accessing, navigating, and improving our shared spaces and resources.

Curated by Sara Reisman the exhibition features work by Pierluigi Calignano, Sue Jeong Ka, Jonggeon Lee, Mary Mattingly, Diego Medina, Francesco Simeti, Tattfoo Tan, Lan Tuazon, and Alex Villar. Villar and Tuazon’s projects – video installation and sculpture, respectively – highlight the tensions created by the boundaries that limit and restrict access to public spaces. As if in response to these kinds of limitations – fences, curbs, and imposing facades – Pierluigi Calignano and Diego Medina’s drawings and sculptures suggest abstracted yet expansive architectural concepts that can be read as proposals for public art, architecture, and monuments. Working with memory of both public and domestic spaces, Jonggeon Lee’s artworks reposition fragments of historic architectural details and monuments to evoke the time, place, and textures of their original existence.

Undermining the implied stability of architecture, Francesco Simeti and Mary Mattingly have both produced works that are designed as mobile structures. Simeti’s sculptural installation entitled Rubble (2007) is based on Charles Eames’ House of Cards printed with close up images of ruins and debris that is a theoretical kit designed to rebuild from the remains of destruction. Mattingly’s recent projects The Waterpod (2009) and Flock House (2012) are both human-tested mobile living systems that serve as models for living with (and surviving) the threat of rising water levels and flooding.

Both Tattfoo Tan and Sue Jeong Ka offer up ways to improve our shared resources in the form of two very different libraries that sustain our health and intellect. Tan’s Free Seeds Library provides the public and gallery visitors with access to free seeds as a means of controlling the destiny of our food and promoting ecological diversity. Ka’s Refresh Library is an interventionist approach to book conservation in which she has developed a method for restoring broken and incomplete books in the public library.

Common Interests: mobility and transformation of public life is a small survey of artist projects that call into question how public space and assets are managed, offering ideas and means for reclaiming autonomy in public space.

Reisman has curated exhibitions and projects for numerous institutions, non-profits, and other art spaces including The Cooper Union School of Art, New York; Smack Mellon, New York; Queens Museum of Art, New York; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York; Philadelphia ICA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Banjaluka, Bosnia and Herzegovina; and Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna, Austria, among others. She was the 2011 critic-in-residence at Art Omi, an international visual artist residency in upstate New York. She is currently the Director of New York City’s Percent for Art program that commissions permanent public artworks for newly constructed and renovated city-owned spaces, indoors and out.

Admission to the gallery is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 10 am to 5 pm (with extended hours on Wednesdays to 7 pm); and Saturday, 12 to 5 pm. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit

Rowan University Art Gallery is located on the lower level of Westby Hall on the university campus, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ.

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