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Mueller Gallery to Present Exhibitions on US-Mexico Border, Historical Crowns

"Panel 1 - Plazas and Parks" by Dionisio Cortes Ortega
 ‘1560’ by Mauricio Cortes

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 16, 2019 – The Mueller Gallery at Caldwell University will open its 2019-20 season Sept. 4 with exhibitions on historical crowns and the U.S,-Mexico border.  “Mauricio Cortes Ortega: Scin-til-late” and “Dionisio Cortes Ortega: Blurred Boundarieswill be on view Sept. 4 to Oct. 8.  The public is invited to a talk with both artists from 5 to 6 p.m. followed by a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4.  The exhibitions are free and open to the public. 

“Scin-til-late” brings together recent work derived from research on historical crowns such as the Crown of the Andesa 17th century votive crown made in Colombia. The crown, purportedly made from melted down Inca objects and stolen emeralds from the last emperor, was sold to a Chicago jeweler in the 20th century and subsequently paraded at fairs, car shows and fancy dinners and finally acquired by the MET in 2015. Mauricio’s work reimagines history and corrupted splendor, complex and historical objects imbued with untold stories; alternative interpretations emerge from disfigured symbols and the redaction of the decorative.

“Blurred Boundaries” is a photography and video installation that challenges the perceived differences between the United States and Mexico. The work consists of recent images taken in two sets of cities in the USA and Mexico: Chicago, Illinois-Saltilllo, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas-Matamoros, Mexico.  These visuals are juxtaposed and presented on custom-made stereoscopic devices with the intention of mixing and blurring the identity of each photograph. Still and moving imagery are paired by location and feature everyday scenes of life in places such as markets, schools, and parks among many others. Cortes Ortega says that his exhibition draws its foundation from the public discourse on immigration that has emphasized the differences on either side of the border, differences that were rooted at the dawn of colonization and have grown over time and with ongoing political agendas. “Blurred Boundaries” seeks to puzzle the viewer by showing indistinguishable images from either side of the divide. This exercise enables viewers to question how the assumed differences dissipate, exposing the porous nature of physical and metaphysical borders. 

For information on the exhibitions, go to www.caldwell.edu/gallery or call 973-618-3238


Mauricio Cortes Ortega is an artist and educator living and working in New York. His independent and collaborative projects reflect on histories of colonialism in the Americas that have reshaped everyday symbols, religious idols and craft production. Ortega is interested in making objects and images inspired by the dramatic history of colonial America. His paintings, drawings and sculptures depict shrouded objects like crowns, hoods and other bodily adornments. In his paintings and drawings, he uses bingo markers and glitter pens to achieve shimmering and vibrant effects. He often employs line patterns, a visual connection to his hometown’s historical production of the Mexican Saltillo sarape: intricate textiles that trace colonial history through changes in design, material, and function in society. For his sculptures, he glazes the ceramic pieces in a super high gloss black for a deep mirror finish; each sculpture stands as an individual object but when brought together represent a growing still-life collection. 

Dionisio Cortes Ortega holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from The Cooper Union in New York City.  In addition to the numerous life drawing classes, Ortega took film and photography in the art school, all of which influenced his artistic and professional practice. Recently his work has focused on tackling social and political issues including: the series of missing 43 Ayotzinapa students in Mexico; the upheavals along the border between Mexico and the United States; and the current state of the justice system in the United States. Ortega has worked with number of different media. Currently he is shooting photography and creating large scale sculptures. Dionisio is also a registered architect in the State of New York and has a studio in the Bronx.


Caldwell University Poets Celebrate

The Tower Poets at Caldwell University have announced that they will celebrate their twentieth anniversary on Sept. 25 with a special visit with national award-winning poet, Mark Doty. Following the reading there will be a reunion dinner with Mr. Doty to which former members of the Tower Poets have been invited. An exhibit of publications by The Tower Poets will be on display in the Alumni Theatre. Mr. Doty will be available book sale and signing. Sponsored by the Sister Elizabeth Poetry Celebration Fund, the event is free and open to the public.

Founded in 1999 with the encouragement of Mark Doty,  The Tower Poets have met monthly for constructive criticism of each other’s work. The original group of five professors from the English and Psychology Departments expanded steadily to include librarians, counselors, administrative staff, and most recently, several retired professionals previously unconnected to Caldwell University.

Tower Poet

(*Caldwell Alum)

Founders: Sister Elizabeth Michael Boyle

Sandra Duguid

Marion Goldstein   *

Maxine Susman

Rita Wolpert

Kendall Baker

Lorenzo Bottolini

Kathleen Buse   *

Carol Demas

Maureen Hagggerty

Ted Kozinski

Mary Ladany

Mary McGuiness, O.P.   *

Joan Reamer   *



Preview Day for Prospective Undergraduates

Preview Days are an opportunity to learn more about our programs, campus life and financial aid. You will meet with admissions counselors to answer questions, hear from current students about the Caldwell experience, and tour our beautiful campus.

Instant Decision Day

You can also bring in your transcripts, SAT/ACT scores, essay, and letters of recommendation and receive an admissions and scholarship decision before you leave. This event begins at 10:00am.

Undergraduate Open House

These days are free-flowing days where you will meet Dr. Blattner, our University President, speak with faculty and admissions counselors about the programs you are interested in, hear from current students about the Caldwell experience, and tour our beautiful campus. Our Open Houses begin at 11:00 am.