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Exhibition Catalogues




Perfect bound, soft cover, full color, illustrated

Since prehistory, humans have been impressed by skill, prowess, and by those individuals believed to have magical abilities. There was the hope that these attributes might be transferred or preserved in some way after death. It came to be believed that the essence of a person was still present in their physical remains post mortem and that essence could also be transferred to the objects associated with the person. Sanctus brings together artists who, regardless of their creeds, venerate the object. We can look upon these works and understand their preciousness and their need to be separated from the everyday world and placed apart. In each it brings us closer to that indefinable humanness of art making. September 27 To November 20, 2015



Perfect bound, soft cover, full color, illustrated

Obsolescence was a 2-location exhibition presented at Curious Matter and Art House Gallery. Time moves on. We as a people are constantly looking for a new horizon, a better way of doing a task, or fresher coat of paint. We are somehow never satisfied with what we have accomplished. This drive for better and more has brought us miraculous inventions and lifted us out of the trees and into skyscrapers. But how sustainable is our appetite for the new? The artists of Obsolescence present alternatives and opinions, if not answers to that quandary. October 18 To November 30, 2014


Terra Incognita

Perfect bound, soft cover, full color, illustrated

Each of us is on our own journey, and often several at once. We follow a physical path, where our footsteps lead us from one place to another, experiencing the world through our senses. We also follow a psychic path, where we are led by our inner selves, sometime consciously, sometimes not, tethered to some invisible pull, always arriving where we need to be. Artists have a further journey, to follow their inspiration and drive to create. For them, this is the true terra incognita, and the most exhilarating voyage of discovery of all. May 18 To June 22, 2014


A Time in Arcadia

Perfect bound, soft cover, 116 pages, full color, illustrated

Whether it’s called Eden or Shangri-la, we long for a verdant and fecund place where food comes without toil and peace fills our days. A Time in Arcadia – a special collaboration by Curious Matter & The Jersey City Free Public Library – features work by 33 contemporary artists. The catalogue includes a bibliography of nearly 200 selections from the Main Library’s 6 Departments and 9 Branches. May 19 To June 23, 2013


Aesthetic Insubordination

Perfect bound, soft cover, 44 pages, full color, illustrated

Guest curator Travis Childers presents a collection of work by five artists who “find the beauty in… average things, and treat them with the reverence….The artists in this show are sculptors who don’t sculpt traditionally, they stretch canvas but not for painting, or sew clothing not to wear. They approach their work in the way Eva Hesse or Ann Hamilton did before them, boldly branching away from the traditions of art making to create new pieces with new narratives that are sometimes hard to categorize.” Featured: Jessica Braiterman, Zofie Lang, Elizabeth Morisette, Susan Noyes, Donna Stack. March 10 – April 14, 2013

Dangerous Toys

Perfect bound, soft cover, 48 pages, full color, illustrated

The games and toys with which we play aren’t always a benign distraction. They can be dangerous, violent, even sinister. Sometimes the menacing aspect is obvious, sometimes not. Guest curator, Sasha Chavchavadze presents us with a keenly focused collection of work that is in turns beautiful, playful and startling. October 13 – November 11, 2012

Tabula Rasa

Perfect bound, soft cover, 48 pages, full color, illustrated

The arranging plane of the table and the vast array of people and accoutrements that are its inhabitants have been reinterpreted for this exhibition as a pedestal, a stage, or the Tabula Rasa, the erased tablet where all is possible. The works assembled by guest curator Aimée Burg, survey public and private relationships, etiquette, ritual and compel us to ponder more deeply and see beyond what we might already expect. August 19 – September 16, 2012

The Fools Journey

The Fool’s Journey

Perfect bound, soft cover, 114 pages, full color, illustrated

The most courageous part of any undertaking is always the beginning. Making the difficult decision to begin pushes aside the doubts and fears of what may lie ahead and calms the expectation of failure. 40 artists explored the exhibition theme with Part One hosted by Curious Matter in Jersey City, from April 1 to May 20, 2012 & Part Two hosted by Proteus Gowanus in Brooklyn, April 14 to July 1, 2012.

Dividing Light Measuring Darkness

Dividing Light Measuring Darkness

Perfect bound, soft cover, 59 pages, full color, 23 illustrations

The fearsome dark or the joyful light, each is an intertwined yet divergent path. Science and myth tell us light came out of darkness and one cannot be separate from the other. Darkness surrounds and engulfs, while light must travel in a straight line. Darkness hides dangers, light exposes them. We need light to see. We need darkness to dream. The artists of “Dividing Light Measuring Darkness” evidence both. October 1, 2011 – November 6, 2011

NamingThe Animals

Naming The Animals

Perfect bound, soft cover, 96 pages, full color, 39 illustrations

A special collaboration between Curious Matter and Proteus Gowanus, Naming the Animals was part of the yearlong inquiry hosted by Proteus Gowanus on the theme Paradise. Naming The Animals was inspired by Adam’s task in the Garden of Eden. In our collective effort to understand the world, we’re driven to name and catalog everything around us. The diversity of life is reflected in the diverse interpretations of the participating artists. Each has gone on their own expeditions of the imagination and observation of the natural world. April 3 – May 15 at Curious Matter; April 16 – July 17, 2011 at Proteus Gowanus.


Perfect bound, soft cover, 58 pages, full color, 16 illustrations

Arriving just before death, then leading the soul to the afterlife is the role of the psychopomp. It is a beneficent spirit, a horrible creature or in various cultures an animal. In Psychopomp guest curator Vincent Como presents 16 contemporary artists who offer their point of view on this shadowy theme. Introduction by Raymond E. Mingst and Arthur Bruso, with an essay by special guest curator Vincent Como. September – October 2010.

The Ecstatic

Perfect bound, soft cover, 68 pages, full color, 25 illustrations

The allure of the ecstatic experience can pull us through the darkness of addiction to the heights of enlightenment. 26 artists present works that explore their relationship to this life altering experience. May – June 2010


Perfect bound, soft cover, 66 pages, full color, 24 illustrations

In darkness, when forms blend into on another and color is suppressed, our minds can create entire fantasies out of the shadows we encounter–that twilight image is the nyktomorph or night shape. 24 artists explore those images that form on the periphery of vision. September – October 2009


Perfect bound, soft cover, 60 pages, full color, 22 illustrations

Poisoning has been the clean, classic way evil characters subdue and eliminate rivals without the use of brute force. The artists of Curious Matter’s Poison exhibition have sensitively distilled the tincture to find its purest forms. April – May 2009

Between Worlds

Perfect bound, soft cover, 68 pages, full color, 26 illustrations

There are locations in this world that have gained a reputation for existing outside the normal experience of a place. In this exhibition, the artists follow their curiosity into these amorphous realms that put our nerves on edge–existing on the boundaries of the known and unknown–and give us their vision of what they find there. September – October 2009

Hocus Pocus

Perfect bound, soft cover, 60 pages, full color, 24 illustrations

Hocus Pocus, is either a true incantation in ancient ritual magic, or a pseudo-Latin phrase used by medieval sleight-of-hand performers. Therein lie the two branches of the Hocus Pocus exhibition: the genuine search for magic and meaning and the subsequent deceptions and trickery. March – May 2007


Saddle stitched, soft cover, 12 pages, full color, 22 illustrations

In this exhibition 22 artists attempt to make visible that which may not only be invisible, but also intimately personal. September – October 2007

Artist Monographs


A Narrow World

Perfect bound, soft cover, 80 pages, full color, 30 illustrations

The fourth and final book in the Association Sublimation series. Includes the essays “A Narrow World” and “The Second New York Trip.”

The complete set of four books from the series is available with slipband directly from Curious Matter.

Structure of the Church

Perfect bound, soft cover, 66 pages, full color, 25 illustrations

A collection of photo-based works and essays by Arthur Bruso. The title work and “An Adolescent’s Appropriation of Eliot Porter” poignantly capture a sense of yearning and the early steps of a life of artistic inquiry.

The Line Holds, the Space Beckons

Perfect bound, soft cover, 68 pages, full color, 27 illustrations

26 photo-based works by Arthur Bruso from two collections by the artist, “On the Steps Out the Window” and “Looking at Seeing.” 2009

Into the Magic Space

Perfect bound, soft cover, 56 pages, full color, 22 illustrations

The first series to develop out of Arthur Bruso’s ongoing inquiry, Association Sublimation. The Works explore a space of possibility, a space where transformation is possible. 2008

Broadsides & Brochures



Every Personal Savior


Jesus Christ may not be your personal savior. But, that’s the question we pose. What is it that each of us seek or call upon in our darkest moments, when we’re challenged by circumstance, or in our hopes and dreams? When world events make existence seem like a futile exercise, with what do we confront reality? For us, our personal connection to the Roman Catholic faith taught to us in childhood is distinct from our own idiosyncratic beliefs today. However, the catechism we learned as children remains the basis of how we are in the world. It’s the enduring cultural significance of the spiritual stories and images that remain. We return to them as we continue to ask ourselves: what are the symbolic resources each of us call upon to face the world we live in? What systems do we use to formulate our concept of reality? More specifically, as it relates to the challenge of these long, dark, melancholy nights of winter: how do we maintain a connection with our kith and kin, and how can we use those resources to extend welcome and understanding to everyone regardless of religious, filial or patriotic loyalties? December 2015 – January 2016




Arthur Bruso has captured, in the photographs of Penumbra, that particular moment when we enter a dark room and strain to see. The images are almost completely black. A sense of place is occasionally suggested with a classical sculpture that seems to glow, or a clerestory revealed with a spot of light. The darkness feels solitary, populated only by an occasional marble figure. If anyone were to appear it would be a shock—unexpected in the moment you’re still gaining your bearings. August 12 – September 13, 2015

An Imperfect Grace

An Imperfect Grace


In the Catholic tradition, we turn to Mary for comfort and guidance. She is the compassionate Mother. At this time of year, the qualities of Mary become increasingly apparent in all of us regardless of faith. In venerating the Virgin and Child, or with the lights we hang outside our homes, we declare aliveness and hope in the face of fallow winter. We declare it to ourselves, our families, our friends and neighbors — good will among all. Whether or not the icon of Mary speaks to you, there is grace in attempting to manifest a symbol of nurturing, forgiveness and acceptance. The Virgin endures for many as the symbol of perfect grace. For us, we celebrate the flawed, the imperfect, and the ruined evidence of our glorious attempts to manifest a vision of perfection in the face of our limitations. December 2014 to January 2015


Angels & Minimalists


In celebration of the holidays we offer the Angel of Albany and Raymond E. Mingst’s mandala as points of contemplation and symbols of the light of the season. Regardless of the vocabulary we call upon to articulate that which we find most significant and worthy, during this time of year, we invite you to join us and embrace the divine in all of it. December 23, 2013 to January 31, 2014


Additional Narrative Possibilities


“Arthur Bruso dodges narrative at one turn and embraces it the next. He begins this dance by using every photograph he has ever taken as the raw material for his work.” A collection of 26 photographs curated by Raymond E. Mingst. October 5 – 20, 2013


There’s a Moon in the Sky, It’s Called the Moon!


The exhibition features works by Joey Parlett from his Space Drawing series. It also includes images and objects culled from the Curious Matter archives. To complement the exhibition the Jersey City Free Public Library presents in the New Jersey Room a volume from 1652, Cosmographie, a “chorographie and historie of the whole world” by Peter Heylin. Summer 2013


Petite Voie


Inspired by the spiritual philosophy of Thérèse of Liseaux, the Curious Matter holiday installation of 2012/13 was comprised of a collection of homemade devotions.


Falling City, photographs by Arthur Bruso


The images in this collection have a fleet quality–they seem casual, unstudied, even random. A passing face on the street captured in a blur reveals a mutual awareness between the subject and the photographer, but the reverie of the moment isn’t interrupted. Curated by Raymond E. Mingst. July 25 – August 28, 2011

The Relic of 41st Street


“We knew that when we discovered the battered model of a chubby baby leg leaning against a street light, it wasn’t just an inexplicably discarded mannequin part, but rather a symbol of holiness and redemption.” December 2009

A Lesser Doxology, New Photographs and Constructions


Arthur Bruso’s exhibition of photographs and constructions touches on the sense of the eternal, and our perpetual search to find meaning and elegance in a patient universe. Curated by Raymond E. Mingst. July – August 2009

The Madonna Fragment


“Could The Madonna Fragment be a Renaissance work of significance? The style of the rendering does little to convince us of the possibility. Still, that notion generated thoughts of what we value and set aside for veneration, what merits our attention, and what stories or legends lend significance to an object or work of art. These ideas are at the heart of our installation.” December 2008

Work of the Penitent


“Raymond E. Mingst’s new drawings featured in the exhibition, Work of the Penitent follow the concepts of the Quaker penitentiary. Mingst’s drawings are reminiscent of Al Held with their abstract shapes, mostly circles, drawn in black ink or black acrylic, outlined in white. However, Al Held’s work explored the abstract spatial relationships of shapes, while Mingst’s shapes have psychological and emotional lives.” Curated by Arthur Bruso, December – January 2008.

ÆTHER, Constructions and Photograms


Artist Arthur Bruso has taken odd bits and pieces and objects collected since childhood to create box constructions and photograms that make for an exhibition of fantastical science. Raymond E. Mingst, curator. June – August 2008