By: Amanda DiMauro
Curious Matter is a local art venue in Jersey City, NJ. It was created in 1999 by co-founder Raymond E. Mingst and originally called, The Cabinet Gallery. The gallery focused on using nature such as sand, dirt, and snow as the main element to the artwork. Now, it features contemporary visual art that focuses on a persons individual experiences of the world and their curiosity of things.
“Our exhibitions are like a really terrific dinner party with all the most fascinating people you could imagine,” Mingst said. For this upcoming exhibit, Obsolescence, Curious Matter is pairing with Art House Productions.
Obsolescence, which means the condition of being obsolete or no longer used, works well with what Mingst is trying to accomplish with the exhibit. He wants artists to not necessarily give him old news, but to tweak it and bring back the obsolete in a new and interesting way.
In other words, Obsolescence seeks to find out how contemporary artists perceive something out of date or old fashioned. One example Mingst described as a little “old hat” was whether or not painting was becoming less relevant in todays digital world. So has it?
Selecting an artist’s work is an important process. “I look for interesting ideas, a clarity in interpreting the idea and a certain level of skill in execution,” Arthur Bruso, co-founder of Curious Matter said.
Forty artists will be featured in the exhibit. Even though this does not seem like a lot of work, it will take up both Curious Matter’s gallery and the new Art House Gallery. “Fortunately, Arthur has a talent for hanging an exhibition that I have yet to see matched in any gallery or museum,” Mingst said about his colleague and fellow friend.
Both Bruso and Mingst encourage thinking outside of the box. Even though the theme is important, they seek artists who work around the theme and encourage them to have open minds so that they find their ideas crossing paths with Obsolescence. “One of my favorite things to hear from an artist is that they weren’t even thinking about the theme we proposed, but when they thought about it they suddenly realized that idea was an aspect of their art,” Mingst said.
Curious Matter often reaches out to other organizations to combine ideas together in hopes to create something powerful. For this exhibit, they are teaming up with Art House Productions (AHP) of Jersey City. AHP has recently moved, and their founder and executive director Christine Goodman is very excited. They are now in Journal Square which offers them more gallery space plus a big black-box theatre. Goodman was collaborating with Curious Matter to see what they were up to and what was to come. She ended up being highly interested in their theme and wanting to work with them on this exhibit. With AHP’s “brand-spankin new gallery space,” Mingst said, “the timing was perfect for us to join forces on this project.”
Curious Matter is located on 272 fifth street in Downtown, Jersey City. The exhibition is open to the public and will run from October 18th, to November 30th. “The show is going to be rich, thoughtful and absolutely delightful,” Mingst said.