William Paterson University Galleries Presents “The Universe of Ben Jones,” a Retrospective Celebration of New Jersey Artist and Alumnus Ben Jones ‘63

--Jones to discuss his work during artist talk during opening reception on Wednesday, September 20

Ben Jones, detail of "Quiet Fire," 1977, 40" x 30", silkscreen, collection of the artist. Photo by Manuel Acevedo.

Ben Jones, "Untitled," 1980, photo reproduction on board, acrylic, and gouache, 40" x 30, courtesy of the artist. Photo by Manuel Acevedo.

A retrospective exhibition focusing on six decades of creative expression by the New Jersey artist and William Paterson University alumnus Ben Jones ’63 is currently on view in the William Paterson University Galleries in the Ben Shahn Center for the Visual Arts on campus. Jones will present an artist talk on Wednesday, September 20 from 4:30 to 5:30 during the exhibition’s opening reception, which runs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by appointment and on Saturday, October 14 and Saturday, November 18 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Admission is free. The exhibition runs December 8, 2023.

Many of the 28 works in The Universe of Ben Jones—bold, insightful, and in a visual language all his own—have rarely been exhibited or are on display for the first time. The exhibition is part of a year-long collaboration between William Paterson University and New Jersey City University funded by a grant from the Mellon Foundation to celebrate Ben Jones, a 1963 graduate of William Paterson University and a New Jersey City University professor emeritus of art.

Over his six-decade career, Jones has focused on interconnections and relationships between global issues including politics, health, the environment, racism, and capitalism, among others. The exhibition is co-curated by Casey Mathern, director of the William Paterson University Galleries, and Midori Yoshimoto, director of the New Jersey City University Galleries; it will be on view in the Harold B. Lemmerman Gallery at New Jersey City University during spring 2024.

Ben F. Jones was born in New Jersey in 1941. A graduate of William Paterson University with a bachelor of fine arts degree, he earned a master of arts from New York University and a master of fine arts from Pratt Institute. Jones has made nearly 100 cultural exchange visits to Cuba since the 1970s, and is noted by the Granma International of Havana, Cuba as one of the most important African American artists of his generation. For more than four decades, his multimedia installations have reflected his travel and research in Africa, Europe, South America, the United States, and the Caribbean. Jones has lectured at universities, museums, and cultural institutions across the world including Harvard University, Howard University, Savannah College of Art and Design, the Wilfredo Lam Center in Havana, Cuba, and the University of Ghana.

In addition to the exhibition, Constellations, an exhibition celebrating the legacy of Jones’s teaching and mentorship, will be on view from October 16 to December 8, 2023 in the Court Gallery. It will feature artworks by 17 artists who have been mentored and influenced by Ben Jones. The year-long project also includes theatrical performances, multicultural collective music, and academic courses focused on art, community, and social justice.

The Universe of Ben Jones is one of two exhibitions on view concurrently in the University Galleries. Faculty Exhibition 2023, on view from September 5 through September 29, 2023 in the Court Gallery, features recent artworks by 11 by William Paterson University faculty who teach animation, drawing, digital art, graphic design, textile design, painting, photography, and sculpture.

In addition to support from the Mellon Foundation, The Universe of Ben Jones is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The William Paterson University Galleries are wheelchair accessible. Large-print educational materials are available. For additional information, please call the William Paterson University Galleries at 973-720-2654.