Art inspired by and created from the recent demolition of Newark’s Westinghouse factory will be on view in the Gallery, 267 MLK Jr. Blvd. The New Jersey School of Architecture at NJIT sponsors the gallery. Work by more than 40 artists will be on view in this exhibit, which will be open weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Oct. 13, 2008 through Nov. 29, 2008. The public is invited. There is no charge.
“This project is an attempt to breathe new life into the artifacts from the Westinghouse factory and promote greater appreciation for the site and its place in the history of the City of Newark,” said Matthew Gosser, curator of the show. Gosser, a special lecturer at NJIT, is gallery director as well as an exhibitor in this show.
The public is invited to a free opening reception Saturday, Oct. 11, 2008, 5 p.m.-11 p.m., in the gallery. Live music by Plush Interior + Manchild, refreshments and a chance to meet the artists will be available. For more details, see www.gosser.info.
The Westinghouse Project is the latest Ar+chaeology exhibition to be hosted by NJIT. Ar+chaeology is an art movement exploring culturally-significant abandoned buildings and the transformation of found artifacts into artwork. The objects speak somehow of the places in which they were found, said Gosser.
In conjunction with the exhibit, a film documenting the demolition of the factory to the reinterpretation of the artifacts from the site will be screened Oct. 25, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., at the gallery. The event is part of Newark's Open Studio Tour.
The recently demolished Westinghouse factory played a significant role in Newark's industrial history. Spanning two city blocks, the original 4-story brick factory was built in 1890 alongside what is now the Broad Street Station. Over the next nearly 100 years, the Westinghouse complex underwent a number of additions and renovations, bound by the iconic 4-story brick facade.
During its most active periods, the factory produced trolley motors, electrical switchboards, arc lamps, volt meters and watt-hour meters, and protective relays, as well as electric fans and radio speakers. In fact, the first World Series was broadcast from the roof of the building. The Westinghouse factory produced shock-proof relays, gauges and instrumentation for military use during World War II, and over a thousand varieties of relays, electrical instruments, and switchboard equipment at the height of its activity in the 1950's and 60's.
The decline of the manufacturing sectors and sociopolitical unrest in Newark spelled the end of Westinghouse's history in Newark. The factory began shutting down its operations, and by 1984, Westinghouse had vacated and sold the property to a consortium of developers who tried unsuccessfully to rehabilitate the complex. Demolition of the Westinghouse complex finally began in 2007. By the end of Summer 2008, the only remnants of the Westinghouse factory were the piles of rubble left on the site.