The Battle at Grovers Mill, by Princeton Art Impressions artist  Robert Hummel, is on display at the Grovers Mill Coffee House. www.ArtistRobertHummel.com | www.BattleAtGroversMill.com

A Made-Up Martian Invasion That Continues to Fascinate

By Anne Levin

Decades before the term “fake news” became familiar, there was “The War of the Worlds.” The infamous 1938 radio broadcast, inspired by the H.G. Wells novel of the same name, announced to fans of the CBS Radio drama series Mercury Theatre on the Air that Martians had crash-landed in a farmer’s field in Grovers Mill, New Jersey, and were invading the earth.

It was the golden age of radio, and Sunday night was prime time. October 30, 1938 also happened to be mischief night. Led by 23-year-old Orson Welles, the theater company decided to take things a bit further than usual and give listeners a jolt. Just how much of a jolt they intended remains in question.

An announcer who claimed to be at the crash site just a few miles from Princeton breathlessly described a slimy Martian slithering its way out of a metallic cylinder.

“Good heavens, something’s wriggling out of the shadow like a gray snake,” he began. “Now here’s another and another one and another one! They look like tentacles to me. I can see the thing’s body now. It’s large, large as a bear. It glistens like wet leather…. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it, it’s so awful! The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent. The mouth is kind of V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.”

It was all a spectacular hoax, of course. But to some listeners across the country, the sophisticated sound effects and supposedly terrified announcers reporting Martians firing “heat-ray“ weapons created chaos. Newspaper reports at the time said people claimed they saw things that didn’t exist, and crowded the roadways in an effort to escape the invasion. Local legend has it that in Grovers Mill, an inebriated farmer shot at the wooden water tower because he thought it was an alien (never proven, but people who grew up in the West Windsor town have recalled seeing bullet holes in the tower). more

The Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) invites the community to a Fall Open House on Saturday, September 18 from 1-3 p.m. 

Free and open to the public, the Fall Open House will feature the inaugural ACP Pottery Throwdown where attendees can watch ceramic artists in friendly competition while competing in various challenges on the potter’s wheel. In addition, each studio will be filled with opportunities to watch artists at work and discover the variety of classes and workshops the Arts Council has to offer, including painting and drawing, dance, textile art, clay, and more.  more

Flag, 1954–55, by Jasper Johns (American, born 1930) (The Museum of Modern Art, New York: Gift of Philip Johnson in honor of Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 106.1973) © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

From September 29 through February 13, 2022, patrons and art lovers will have the opportunity to see, in-person, a 65-year survey of the artist Jasper Johns’ works of contemporary art at both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  more

The 22nd annual Festival of Fine Craft at WheatonArts offers two days of an art and shopping experience for the entire family with more than 125 juried artists and craftspeople displaying and selling their works. Visitors will also partake in special artist demonstrations, hands-on family art activities, a Beer and Wine Garden, Glass Pumpkin Fundraiser, live music, and more.

This year’s event will be held on October 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. WheatonArts is located on 45 wooded acres at 1000 Village Drive in Millville, New Jersey (GPS address). This historic organization is home to the Museum of American Glass, the Creative Glass Fellowship Program, New Jersey’s largest Folklife Program, Artist Studios (hot glass, pottery, and flameworking), Museum Stores, and nature trails. Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors (62+), and $7 for students. Members and children under age 5 are free.  more

The annual Hopewell Tour des Arts returns this fall on Saturday, September 25 and Sunday, September 26. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

For 14 years, this event has showcased the heart and soul of Hopewell’s artist community. With the opportunity to showcase their live work, the event allows patrons to step inside artists’ studios and study them and their craft. From painting to drawing, sculpture and photography, the tour delivers a wide range of artistic skill and techniques. A self-guided tour map can be accessed at https://www.hopewelltourdesarts.com/map-2021. The tour begins at Hopewell Train Station, 2 Railroad Place in Hopewell.  more

Robert Beck (b. 1950), Sunday Morning, 1996. Oil on panel. 24 x 18 inches. James A. Michener Art Museum.

The Michener Art Museum presents “It’s Personal: The Art of Robert Beck,”  opening July 30. The exhibition focuses on Robert Beck’s place in the storied world of the  New Hope-Lambertville arts community. Beck has played an important role in advancing and  expanding the region’s traditions of Impressionism and Urban Realism, with distinctive oil paintings of the people, places, and occupations of our time. He is well known for documentary paintings,  as he refers to his paintings done on site in one go. Whether single works or multi-image “visual essays,” these distinct paintings record his world much like the Pennsylvania Impressionists recorded theirs in their time. Unlike those images, Beck describes a world that contemporary audiences  recognize as their own. Viewers respond to his keen perspective on the storefronts, street corners, bars, restaurants, carnivals, basketball games, funeral homes, and parades, of their here and now. While New York, Bucks County, and the villages along the upper coast of Maine, present subjects  and contrast for his examinations, the exhibit includes work from series he created in the American West, Europe, and Africa. It is a remarkable story of a contemporary artist establishing a voice, becoming part of a community, and creating a body of work that will resonate in Bucks County and well beyond for many years. more

First TSPS Operators in US, Morristown, NJ, 1969. Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center. 

Did you or someone you know work for the Bell System in New Jersey?

In March 2022, Morven Museum & Garden will open an exhibition, “Ma Bell: The Mother of Invention in NJ,” that will explore the ways in which the company pioneered innovations that transformed all aspects of modern-day life.  more

Image Source: https://www.roeblingmuseum.org

The Smithsonian Institution announced that it has chosen Roebling Museum to develop an exhibit about work in a steel-making company town founded in 1905. Roebling Museum, which documents the history of a company town built by suspension bridge engineers John A. Roebling’s Sons Co., is one of five museums nationwide to participate in Smithsonian’s Museums on Main Street program.  more

A resident of Princeton for seven years, artist Carole Jury will showcase her art from May 4 through May 9 at 19 Hulfish Street in Palmer Square. A portion of the proceeds will go to support Share My Meals, a non-profit that fights food insecurity and food waste in the Princeton area.  more

Greek, Tarentine, statuette of Nike, mid-3rd century B.C. Terracotta. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, gift of friends and colleagues in honor of Frances Follin Jones.

“Drawing from the Collections: Rendering Clothing and Drapery”

On Thursday, March 4 at 8 p.m., Princeton University Art Museum, in partnership with the Arts Council of Princeton, presents “Drawing from the Collections: Rendering Clothing and Drapery.” more

Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675) “Officer and Laughing Girl,” ca. 1675. Oil on canvas. The Frick Collection, New York.

The Frick Collection announces days/hours and timed ticketing for its temporary new home on Madison Avenue.

Advance tickets available for purchase beginning February 19.

The Frick Collection announced today that it will open the doors to Frick Madison, its temporary new home, on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Located at the Breuer-designed building at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street, former site of the Met Breuer and the Whitney Museum of American Art, Frick Madison will welcome visitors Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Timed entry tickets will need to be purchased in advance, with online sales beginning February 19. The Frick Collection will operate Frick Madison for approximately two years while its historic buildings on East 70th Street undergo renovation. This temporary relocation enables the Frick to provide public access to its celebrated collections during a time when the museum and library would otherwise be closed. Details about member previews and a virtual press preview will be shared in the coming weeks. more

All artwork by Honor Titus

Timothy Taylor Gallery now presents “For Heaven’s Sake,” the first solo New York exhibition of paintings by self-taught American artist Honor Titus (b. 1989). This exhibition will be on view through March 27, 2021.  more

Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay in the former Applegate’s Hardware Store in Bay Head, New Jersey, Alexandra Vaga and Shayne Boyle operate an inspired and unique ceramics studio and gallery. Lightly renovated to preserve the integrity and stories occupied by the original Jersey Shore business, the space is currently filled with all manner of coastal inspired ceramic objects.  more

Image Credit: Grouse, 1885. Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh (1856-1915), oil on canvas. Private Collection.

Opening February 19, 2021

In line with its mission of celebrating the art of New Jersey, Morven Museum & Garden will present the first exhibition examining the work of Gerard Rutgers Hardenbergh (1856-1915). more

Image Source: The Frick Collection

The Frick Collection now marks the 85th anniversary of its opening with a range of free content across its digital platforms. On December 16, 1935, the museum opened its doors to the public, sharing with New York City and the world, Henry Clay Frick’s extraordinary art collection and the Fifth Avenue Gilded Age mansion that houses it.  more

Experience the magic of the holidays at New York Botanical Garden’s (NYBG) Holiday Train Show. Marvel at model trains zipping through an enchanting display of famous New York landmarks – imagine the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Rockefeller Center, and other favorites – each delightfully re-created from natural materials such as birch bark, acorns, and cinnamon sticks.  more

Saturday, November 7, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.

Join the Rubin Museum in Manhattan in celebrating Diwali or Deepavali, the festival of lights, at home and bring light to these challenging times.

This virtual gathering features opening music from Neil and Maitreya Padukone, a father-son duo who play guitar, sitar, and table in the Indo-Latin fusion band Salsa Masala, and recipients of awards from the Queens Council on the Arts and The Shed. India Home seniors and Telugu Literary and Cultural Association will showcase their talent, and community members will share Diwali song and dance, including the traditional folk dance form of Garba. During the themed live drawing class, attendees can participate from home, and they will learn how to create Rangoli flower designs. more

Image Sources: https://artyard.org

ArtYard now presents “Shelter Is,” an exhibition that brings together the work of nine artists whose practices consider the physical and psychological function of shelter, its construction, and its improvisational nature. The works on view also explore questions of who seeks shelter, and for what reasons – political, socioeconomic, or environmental. At a time when people around the globe are being asked to “shelter in place,” the concepts of home, safety, security, and residence take on special meaning. more

Celebrate el Dia de los Muertos with the Arts Council of Princeton (ACP) for socially distanced outdoor workshops beginning October 10. The public is also invited to view and display their Day of the Dead artwork in the ACP’s Taplin Gallery from November 1-14. more

Paulus Moreelse (Dutch, 1571-1638), “Shepherdess,” 1633. Oil on canvas. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase.

Join Ronni Baer, Allen R. Adler, Class of 1967, Distinguished Curator and Lecturer, for a virtual visit to the planned installation of 17th-century Dutch paintings at the Princeton University Art Museum that was canceled due to COVID-19. Baer will introduce you to works that haven’t often been on view, place familiar paintings into new contexts, share discoveries resulting from ongoing research, and explore a recent acquisition or two. more