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Life-size sculptures on Rowan University campus get "creative juices flowing" in and out of classrooms – Press of Atlantic City, October 14, 2010
They don't move, or talk, or give out grades. But 10 life-size bronze sculptures strategically placed around the Rowan University campus are teaching students that art can be incorporated into almost any subject. Read more

Double Take Statue Exhibit – The Whit, September 8, 2010
In previous years, Rowan students often shuffled to and from class without taking the time to admire the scenery. This year, however, new and returning students have been gathering to admire our new stone friends: “Double Take: The Works of Seward Johnson.” Read more

Double Take Press Release -  August 19, 2010
Rowan University is joining the likes of Rockefeller Center in New York City, Pacific Place in Hong Kong, Les Halles in Paris and Via Conditti in Rome.
Like those international meccas of public art and culture, Rowan will "host" 10 life-sized bronze sculptures by prominent American sculptor Seward Johnson during the fall semester. The sculptures are part of Johnson's "Man on the Street" collection and will be on loan to the University for a three-month period, from August 30-Nov. 28. Read more

Courier Post Photo Gallery (view)

 

'Double Take': Art of prominent American sculptor Seward Johnson comes to Rowan

August 19, 2010

Rowan University is joining the likes of Rockefeller Center in New York City, Pacific Place in Hong Kong, Les Halles in Paris and Via Conditti in Rome.

Like those international meccas of public art and culture, Rowan will "host" 10 life-sized bronze sculptures by prominent American sculptor Seward Johnson during the fall semester. The sculptures are part of Johnson's "Man on the Street" collection and will be on loan to the University for a three-month period, from August 30-Nov. 28.

The exhibition is titled "Double Take: The Works of Seward Johnson."

A resident of Hopewell, Johnson, founder of Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, established the Seward Johnson Artist Development Travel Scholarship at Rowan in 2005. The scholarship funds a full semester of study for a Rowan art major at Studio Art Centers International in Florence, Italy. Johnson's scholarship, which is highly competitive, includes tuition, housing, transportation and a modest living stipend.

"Mr. Johnson's generous scholarship has given talented and deserving Rowan students a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad. Now, with the loan of his sculptures to our campus, he is ‘bringing art to the masses' and enhancing the cultural community not only at Rowan, but throughout South Jersey," says Rowan President Donald Farish.

"We know the sculptures will become genuine--and beloved, albeit temporary--members of the Rowan community. We are thrilled and grateful that Mr. Johnson has chosen Rowan to host his works."

The 350- to 800-pound sculptures, which depict everyday people--a fisherman, a police officer, a pair of tourists, a veteran returning home from Desert Storm, among others--in contemporary situations, will be strategically located around campus. A host of events are in the works to celebrate the sculptures' time at Rowan.

Sculpture locations were chosen to best showcase the art--and to best highlight the breadth and depth of the University and the Glassboro community.

For instance, the fisherman, titled "Midstream," will be positioned near the pond at Rowan Hall. Meanwhile, "A Little to the Right," a statue of an older couple of tourists, one with binoculars, will be placed near Hollybush, Rowan's most historic building. In fact, the couple will be looking out from the Hollybush patio toward the rapidly developing Rowan Boulevard project, which connects the University with Glassboro's historic downtown.

After an early career as a painter, Johnson, 80, turned his talents to the medium of sculpture. Since then, more than 350 of his bronze figures have been featured in private collections and in museums in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Just this month, the monumental "Unconditional Surrender," a sculpture of the iconic sailor/nurse kiss that was inspired by the celebratory moment in U.S. history when World War II ended, went on display in Times Square for the 65th anniversary of V-J Day.

"My art is an imitation of life," Johnson says on his web site, www.sewardjohnson.com as he discusses his work. "(The sculptures) do many things. They can warm up...a park or a public space and they invite people to come into that space, so that they don't feel quite alone. They also make good neighbors--they don't make a lot of noise."

Johnson began the "Man on the Street" series in the 1980s. He received an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Rowan in 2001.

During the sculptures' three-month stay on campus, Rowan will offer walking tours of the artwork, lectures, a family program, and other events. Organizers are hopeful student organizations and other campus groups will participate in programs that celebrate and highlight the sculptures' time at Rowan.

Johnson's sculptures are designed to make art accessible to all, according to Paula Stoeke, director and curator of The Sculpture Foundation, a private foundation dedicated to providing exhibitions and contemporary landmark public artworks for a broad range of communities. Through a generous agreement, the foundation worked to bring the artwork to Rowan.

"By capturing human gesture in bronze, Seward Johnson creates a sculptural experience that everyone can enjoy," Stoeke says. "His work celebrates mini-heroics, drawing attention with life-scale bronze people reclaiming their humanness."

The sculptures are quite a coup for the campus, according to Mary Kay Long, interim executive director of the Rowan University Foundation and interim vice president for University Advancement.

"Mr. Johnson's work is ‘sited' at only 10 places every year nationally," says Long. "It's a very prestigious undertaking for us here at Rowan.

"The exhibition will bring visitors to Glassboro who will not only appreciate Mr. Johnson's exquisite artistry, but, also, will take a ‘double take' of the Rowan campus. It's wonderful exposure for the University."

Public placements of Johnson's work have appeared nationally and internationally and include CENCO in Paris, Osaka Museum in Japan, Haribo Corporation in Germany, Le Mirador in Switzerland, Rockefeller Center, John D. Rockefeller Fine Arts Center in Atlanta, Pacific Place in Hong Kong, and Sir Winston Churchill Square in Canada.

The sculptures will arrive on Rowan's campus en masse on Monday, August 23, at around noon near the Chamberlain Student Center--just days before the incoming Class of 2014 begins to move in.

But, unlike the Class of 2014, their stay is just three months. An event to bid adieu to the sculptures in November also is being planned.

Notes:
For information about the sculptures, visit www.sewardjohnson.com.