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Kirsten Hassenfeld. Cabin Fever Opens at Hunterdon Art Museum on April 1

(Clinton, NJ) — The Hunterdon Art Museum is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based artist Kirsten Hassenfeld. The site-specific exhibition, titled Cabin Fever, will open to the public on April 1 and continue through June 3, 2012. An opening reception will be held on April 1 from 2pm – 4pm.

Kirsten Hassenfeld

Kirsten Hassenfeld makes extraordinary sculpture and collage with ordinary materials. She carefully saves odds and ends from her daily life, such as bottle caps, thread spools, envelopes and wrapping paper and incorporates them into complex works of art that defy expectations. In her hands, these items become multi-faceted chandeliers, highly detailed architectural forms, and abstract three-dimensional sculptures that illuminate dark rooms, often inviting the viewer to enter a private space, and, at the same, recall the vernacular handicrafts of the original American settlers.

Over the years, the main ingredient in Hassenfeld’s work has evolved from primarily paper to recycled every day materials, a reflection of her concern about waste and conservation in today’s society. With reference to traditional household chores that kept generations of Americans solvent, she quilts, sews, weaves, canes and patches these cast-off materials into spectacular assemblages. The result is an intricately constructed wall piece that is reminiscent of handwoven objects found in early colonial households.

Given the 19th century architecture of the Hunterdon Art Museum, it is particularly apt for Hassenfeld to make her solo museum debut within its walls. While preparing for her exhibition, Hassenfeld reflected on the households that were established in this country as the pioneers headed west. In her mind, this expansion marked “the beginning of the end” for the untouched land, and she concentrates on the era when this land was first populated by non-indigenous groups. The title of the exhibition, Cabin Fever, refers to both the feverish pace of work for these early settlers, as well as to actual fever, hardship and isolation of these early years.

Kirsten Hassenfeld is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art. She attended the prestigious Skowhegan School of Painting and Scultpure in 1997 and received her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Arizona, Tuscon.

She has had several solo shows, most recently at Peter Mendenhall Gallery in Los Angeles, Brown University, Smack Mellon Gallery, Brooklyn and Bellwether Gallery, New York City. She has been included in group shows a The Hudson River Museum, NY; The Brooklyn Museum, NY; and, The Jewish Museum, NY, among others. This is her first solo Museum show. The show is organized by Hunterdon Art Museum Director of Exhibitions Jonathan Greene.

There will be a talk with the artist on Sunday, April 1 from 1pm-1:30pm.

Kirsten Hassenfeld will lead a class for kids ages 5 – 14. Kids can join the artist to learn how to make beautiful geometric structures from paper. After a brief tour of the art in Hassenfeld’s solo show, children will create their own sculptures inspired by the artist’s innovative use of mixed media and recycled paper. Students will use simple materials and techiniques to create three-dimensional, gem-shaped sculptures that can be attached together to create complex shapes resulting in an object that resembles stained glass! All materials will be provided. The class takes place on the last day of the exhibition, Sunday June 3 from 1:30pm – 3:30pm. Tuition is $27.

The Hunterdon Art Museum is located at 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton NJ 08809. The telephone number is 908-735-8415 and the website is Museum hours are Tuesday-Sunday 11am-5pm. Suggested admission is $5. Admission includes entry to the ArtZone, a permanent space for children to explore art making through guided projects developed by the Museum’s Education department.

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