In honor of New Jersey’s investment in the restoration of Trenton’s cultural landmark, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Artworks Trenton presented the newly-restored State-owned artwork PBS (1963-2000) by renowned artist Nam June Paik on Monday, October 7 at Artworks Trenton and the former NJN Building on Stockton Street between Front and Market Streets in Trenton, NJ.
Nam June Paik, known as “the father of video art,” surfed the forefront of cutting edge technologies and utilized them to realize artworks, the likes the world had never yet seen. His various experiments positioned video as a viable art form, and a tool toward accomplishing widespread, global connectivity – an oeuvre eerily prophetic to our contemporary information age. His revolutionary practice laid the groundwork for today’s artists working in new media art.
“One of the things that Artworks is moving toward is public art; looking at how to transform the landscape of the city of Trenton and building and encouraging public art in the city and in the region,” said Stephen Slusher, Artworks’ Board Chair.
Artworks, which has been instrumental in shepherding the project to restore and reinvigorate the Nam June Paik structure, is working to bring art to life in the city through efforts like Art Walk, which aims to be an inspirational path of creative art from the train station to the Downtown and neighboring communities.
“Public art is about having the community out and seeing works of art that make people think and inspire the inner artist in themselves,” said New Jersey State Treasurer Liz Muoio. “I have a soft spot in my heart for Trenton and I know what an incredible arts community we have here — so I’m so excited about this effort.”
In 1992, as part of New Jersey’s Arts Inclusion Program, Paik was commissioned to create a piece for the New Jersey Network building. PBS (1963-2000) was finished in 1993, consisting of two 20-by-12-foot wall panels filled with neon and 54 19” televisions streaming video created by Paik as well as live feeds of NJN programming. The piece also specifically references Trenton-area contributions to communications technology like the invention of color television at the Sarnoff Center.
The exhibition at Artworks Trenton focuses on Paik, considered one of the most innovative artists of the 20th Century, and details how he came to create his Trenton masterwork, PBS (1963-2000), which recently underwent a full restoration (funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and overseen by Artworks) after being unlit for more than a decade.
Artworks’ Art all Day is happening on November 2nd. “It’s a great event featuring one-on-one with artists and other people who are interested in art,” added Slusher. “I would encourage anyone who is interested in Trenton and wants to learn more about what’s going on, to attend Art All Day because it really does give you a good introduction.”