New Jersey Pop-Up the Gateway Project Gets Permanent Newark Gallery Home

The inaugural exhibition will trace this country's movement toward racial equality.

"Color Polemics: Unpacking the Movement towards Racial Equality and Identity in America," at Newark's new the Gateway Project space. Photo: courtesy the Gateway Project.

This Thursday, April 30, New Jersey pop-up art space the Gateway Project will debut its new permanent home with “Color Polemics: Unpacking the Movement towards Racial Equality and Identity in America,” an exhibition featuring Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Nina Chanel Abney, and Richard Barnes, among other artists.

The exhibition is inspired by two important artworks that demonstrate the evolution of race relations in the US: Jacob Lawrence‘s “The Great Migration” series (1940–41), depicting the movement of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North, and The Problem We All Live With (1964), a Norman Rockwell painting of six-year-old Ruby Bridges becoming the first African American child to attend an all-white public school in New Orleans.

“Color Polemics” explores the still-charged race relations in the US, and attempts to examine the contentious issue from all sides. (See Police Remove Guerrilla Performance Protesting Eric Garner Death From Armory Show and After Ferguson, A New Protest Culture’s Challenge to Art.) The show is the first in the institution’s four-part “Visualizing OUT Americana” exhibition series, which will critically address contemporary social issues.

“I’m hoping that people like the work and start conversations about the topic that the work addresses,” Jasmine Wahi, founder of the Gateway Project’s partnering non-profit, Project for Empty Space, told NJ.com. Wahi co-directs the Gateway Project with founder Rebecca Jampol.

The Gateway Project has had a small space at 2 Gateway Center, a commercial complex attached to Newark’s Penn Station, for the past two years, but Thursday’s opening will inaugurate a new nearly 50,000-square-foot facility with artist studios, workshops, and exhibition space over three floors.

The new facility looks to be an excellent destination for a mini-summer road trip (see Get Outta Town! 30 Art Day Trips), joining other New Jersey art institutions including Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary (see Marina Abramović Teams With New Jersey Art Empire Mana), the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, and Hamilton’s Grounds for Sculpture.


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