Paul Henry Ramirez Transforms Newark Museum’s Court Into Blackout

Newark Museum

March 17, 2010

BLACKOUT: A Centennial Commission by Paul Henry Ramirez
Through May 23, 2010

49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Related Programs for BLACKOUT:

Wednesday, April 28, 6-8 PM
Centennial Conversation: Abstract Art — A Living Legacy

Using a palate of playful pop-inspired colors and stark black, acclaimed artist Paul Henry Ramirez transforms the Newark Museum’s formal architectural signature of the Engelhard Court into an animated, artistic space in BLACKOUT: A Centennial Commission by Paul Henry Ramirez, on view through May 23.

Organized by E. Carmen Ramos, Guest Curator, BLACKOUT is the fourth and final commissioned project initiated to celebrate the Newark Museum’s Centennial year. To the delight of museum visitors, each site-specific installation has been extraordinary in its content, creativity and unique departure from anything else on exhibit.

Celebrating the possibilities of abstraction in contemporary art, BLACKOUT allows viewers to experience painting as an environment that one can enter. Using the Charles Engelhard Court as his canvas, artist Paul Henry Ramirez employs his signature curvaceous biomorphic forms amidst a profusion of pop-inspired colors that punctuate the twelve arches surrounding the sky-lit atrium.

Dynamic rounded and black forms and fine lines spill and shift against the adjacent walls further animate the space, as do three playful geometric canvases that are presented against bold, colorful backgrounds. Together these elements create a dynamic tension between curves and angles, color and form, movement and stasis, human and architectural scale. For visitors familiar and new to the Engelhard Court, BLACKOUT will spur a rediscovery of the beauty and monumentality of the Museum’s traditional architecture.

Like some of the pioneers of abstract art, Ramirez seeks to empower viewers as active participants. His site-specific installations—which dissolve the boundaries between art object and gallery space—grow out of Ramirez’s dialogue with specific environments. By painting wall surfaces and incorporating three-dimensional elements, deliberately integrating canvases into painted environments, and carefully orchestrating everything from lighting to furniture, Ramirez creates an aesthetic environment viewers physically experience as they move and take in the installation from multiple vantage points.

Born in El Paso, Texas, Ramirez moved to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area in 1990 where he began to develop his signature style of pop-inspired abstraction. Since 1994, he has created site-specific installations that push the boundaries of how we experience and define painting.

“The transformation of the Engelhard Court is a remarkable undertaking, both in conception and implementation, and it is the perfect culmination to our Centennial Celebration,” remarked Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director of the Newark Museum. To mark the Museum’s Centennial, five contemporary artists, Jennifer Angus, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno and Jerome Bongiorno, and Paul Henry Ramirez, were asked to explore spaces within the Museum to create insightful investigations that draw upon connections within the various collections, curatorial departments and the Museum’s longstanding vision.

Wednesday, April 28, 6-8 PM
Centennial Conversation
Panel Discussion: Abstract Art — A Living Legacy
6-7 PM Coffee Reception; 7-8 PM Program
Pre-registration required; call 973.596.6550.

Matthew Deleget will moderate a discussion with an international group of contemporary artists including Lenora de Barros, Paul Henry Ramirez and Don Voisine. The artists will talk about the legacy of constructivist abstract art as it relates to their work and explore why abstraction continues to be a vital mode of expression.

Podcast: To view the podcast about Paul Henry Ramirez and BLACKOUT, please visit The Newark Museum’s official page on YouTube, download it on Itunes, or watch it on .

Newark Museum
49 Washington Street
Newark, NJ 07102

Mary Sue Sweeney Price, Director

For Further Information:
Please visit
Contact: publicrelations [​at​] or call 973.596.6638

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Twitter: @newarkmuseum

Image above:
BLACKOUT: A Centennial Commission by
Paul Henry Ramirez (2010), Newark, New Jersey
Courtesy of Paul Henry Ramirez
Photograph by Raymond Adams