Newark Master Plan & Street Views

Newark Master Plan & Street Views

Cesar Melgar

Born in Newark, Cesar Melgar presents twenty-five digital c-prints from his series “Newark Master Plan.” With the black-and-white photographs taken between 2018 and 2022, Melgar prompts viewers to consider the frequency of Notice of Public Hearing Banners appearing on homes, commercial spaces, and landmarks throughout the city. Moving beyond the hyper-individuality associated with the nineteenth-century figure of the flâneur, Melgar welcomes visitors to walk the streets of Newark with him, especially by including glimpses of his shadow within these landscape portraits. He describes his practice as “wandering” and by doing so, offers a deeply romantic vision of Newark as a place steeped in history, nostalgia, community, and contemporaneity. The installation also features a banner Melgar found and repurposed with lost images of a family album and graffiti and asks viewers to reimagine the narratives that should be heard and noticed.

Melgar’s journey continues in the screening room with fifty-five projected images from his “Street Views” series from 2018 to 2023. The film is separated into two parts—the first, “Seduced by the Suburbs,” in which Melgar showcases iconic sites and moments in Newark, like the Adams Theater or Newark Penn Station, to show how the allure of renewed development leaves the city broken down and in decay. The second, “Regeneration for the next generation!” moves the narrative forward, leaving viewers to consider what remains or is left behind at the cost of urban renewal and gentrification.

About Cesar Melgar

Cesar Melgar was born in Newark, NJ and raised in the Ironbound section, a working class neighborhood. This upbringing as a child of first generation immigrants from Colombia and Peru influences his eye as he turns his lens onto his community that has faced environmental injustice, disinvestment, and now the force of gentrification. His photos capture the poetic nuances of daily life in a city that is often misunderstood by New Jersey’s suburbs and beyond, and especially the media. In 2015, Cesar Melgar was introduced to the world via an interview by the Design Observer, a prestigious magazine devoted to a range of design topics such as urbanism and social innovation. Cesar has exhibited his work in most of the major galleries and institutions in Newark, New Jersey. He is a contributing photographer for the International Society of Biourbanism based in Rome, Italy. His photographs are showcased in his debut photo book, Street Views, designed by John Foster in 2018. As of 2019, he completed his first residency in Artena, Italy, immersing himself in the community and making images of its people. In 2020, he self published a zine containing photos he made of Newark during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic which was included in a New York Times article featuring Newark’s creative community. He was a Scholastic Awards National Art Juror in New York City which highlights the work of talented young photographers. Cesar has also been a guest speaker for multiple colleges. In June 2023, he spent a month on a residency in France documenting the exodus and emptiness of the rural town of Bourbonne-Les-Bains. His work is in the collection of Rush Arts Philadelphia and Throckmorton Fine Art,  New York City, one of the foremost sources for important Latin American Contemporary and Vintage Photography.

Free admission


February 20 - July 19


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