It’s All American

New Perspectives of Americana


New Jersey Museum of Contemporary Art presented its inaugural exhibition “It’s All American” in more than 12,000 square feet of temporary pop-up space at the historic Convention Hall in Asbury Park. Curated by Haley Mellin and Alex Gartenfeld, the Museum brought together 37 local and international artists whose practices explore the artistic and folk traditions that characterize Americana.

The exhibition featured artists: Les Rogers (photo detail of Rogers’ sultry lyrical abstraction entitled “Homecoming” shown), Peter Coffin, Rob Pruitt, Jessica Houston, Francesca DiMattio, Aurel Schmidt, Polly Apfelbaum, David Adamo, Martin Creed, Robert Melee, Sterling Ruby, Grayson Revoir, John Giorno, Mathew Cerletty, Jeremy Deller, James Fils-Aime, Ryan Kitson, Martin Soto Climent, Philippe Decrauzat, Uri Aran, Josephine Meckseper, Jason Loebs, Joe Bradley, New Jerseyy, Daniel Turner, Ryan McGinley, Rita Ackermann, Keltie Ferris, Brendan Fowler, Matt Sheridan Smith, Monica Bonvicini, Davis Rhodes, Michael St. John, Michele Abeles, Heather Rowe, Zak Prekop and Van Hanos.

The artists used various strategies and media to address the promise of progress and prestige offered by the “Made in America” brand and the designation as “all-American.” This inaugural exhibition was supported by its location in New Jersey, a media-saturated state characterized by its economic, social, and ritual co-dependency with urban centers. The exhibition reflected an evolving approach to Americana and what it means to be American. The work tested sentiments of endurance, optimism and reconstruction, depth, individual perspective and wisdom; the maturation of America figures largely into this show as the artists here engage the ability of the activity of art to respond to recent political and economic events. Fittingly, this New Jersey-based exhibition takes place in the state that informed Philip Roth’s 1997 novel, American Pastoral, about a crisis of individual experience brought to bear by larger contemporary events. Many of the artists here engage handmade monumentality and series in order to unpack the resilience of these strategies amidst a confusion and saturation of images. The show exhibits a maturation of America and its construction of contemporary perspectives.

Printed Matter director, Catherine Krudy
“It’s like Dia:Beacon.”

V Magazine
“NJMoCA, New Jersey’s first contemporary art institution, was christened on a quiet beach under the light of a full moon … the inaugural exhibition reflects upon today’s Americana and brings together over 30 artists in a spectacularly derelict building on the Asbury Park boardwalk. In any case, museums with walls are a thing of the past: NJMoCA’s current location is only a temporary shell for a new, ambitious Kunsthalle.”