Circus-themed art exhibit opens Jan. 9 at the Hoboken Historical Museum



To highlight its current exhibition in the main gallery “The Avenue: A History of Washington Street” and to draw attention to the prestigious circus school that operated there in the late 1970s, the Hoboken Historical Museum has announced its next exhibition in the upper gallery: “CIRCUS LIVES: Soaring Above, Soaring Below” by painter Karen E. Gersch.

The multimedia and family exhibition of the famous circus artist Gersch opens on Sunday January 9 and continues until Sunday February 27, 2022.

The Hoboken Historical Museum is located at 1301 Hudson Street. It is open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. Admission is $5, free for children and members. Call 201 656 2240.

Gersch is also an accomplished circus acrobat and teacher. On opening day, Sunday, January 9 at 3:30 p.m., she will present a slideshow/discussion about the Circus Arts Center that existed at 412 Washington. Gersch trained there as an acrobatic base or “understander” and spent 30 years “running around rings and stages with a woman on her head.” She will be joined by several of her colleagues from the time and images of their actions will be shown.

The presentation by artist and acrobat Gersch is an exceptional opportunity to learn more about this unique and world-class school of circus arts which is part of Hoboken’s fascinating history and is well represented in the current exhibition. from the museum’s main gallery, “The Avenue: A Story of Washington Street.

For decades, when Gersch traveled with three-ring shows all over the country and one-ring shows in Europe, his art materials were his constant companion. During the day she trained and performed, at night she drew and painted. Several pastels and line drawings of life on the road are included in the exhibit.

The school, created and run by Nina Krasavina and Gregory Fedin, provided most of the acts that made up the early years of the Big Apple Circus and oversaw the training of two dozen students who went on to go on to professional careers. Gersch captured portraits of his Russian teachers, as well as scenes from his decades of touring with shows. She works in a multitude of mediums and is part of private collections around the world.

Highlights of his exhibition history include several works in “Dusty Glory: The Circus in American Art” at the Cahoon Museum of American Art, alongside legendary circus performers Chaim Gross, Walt Kuhn and Reginald Marsh. In 2017, ten of his paintings were chosen to be part of the Smithsonian’s FolkLife Festival: “Circus on the Move” at the Arts and Industry Museum.

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Patrick F. Williams