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Contact Information: Tanya Klein Public Relations 973-596-3433

Monumental Sculptures Showcasing Technology Coming to NJIT

Daniel A. Henderson, Premo (2011). Photo: Bruce M. White

“The Art of Invention” featuring new sculpture by the American artist Daniel A. Henderson will be on view at NJIT from Oct. 1-Dec. 22, 2011. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, features the work of Henderson, an inventor and entrepreneur who has created a body of work to explore the viral allure of technology and its unintended consequences.  

The exhibit’s opening coincides with the advent of the fine arts program, in the new School of Art and Design at NJIT’s College of Architecture and Design. For more information about the program, please visit http://art.njit.edu/academics/index.php and for the latest in fine art and design achievements, see http://art.njit.edu/docs/ad-newsletter-0511.pdf.

Eight monumental pieces, including a larger-than-life rendition of a Princess phone in pink onyx and an oversized View-Master made of black marble, will be on view. Henderson has transformed a series of modest gadgets and appliances, familiar to the cultural landscape, into objects of artistic polish that ask the viewer to contemplate technology, progress, and human interaction.

The exhibit is to be open to the public Tuesdays (9 a.m.-noon, 5-8 p.m.) and Thursdays (9 a.m.-noon) from Oct. 4-Dec. 22, 2011 in the NJIT Campus Center Atrium.  An opening reception is set for Oct. 1, 2011, from 4-7 p.m.  It is advisable to confirm times and dates with the NJIT Campus Center Information Desk, 973-596-3605, before heading out. 

The exhibit comes to NJIT following a show at the Grounds for Sculpture, Mercerville, where it will remain on display through Sept. 18, 2011. The Schneider Museum of Art, Southern Oregon University, featured the work earlier.   

“I am a sculptor and an inventor who developed wireless picture and video messaging,” said Henderson.  “Invention, like sculpture, is an artistic endeavor. Although the two disciplines utilize different mediums of expression, both share the ability to affect our perception and how we interact. My sculpture memorializes the impact that art and technology have on humanity.”

The scale of the sculpture both amplifies the form and functional design elements of the original objects while creating tension for the viewer unable to use them. The permanence of iconic products sculpted in stone represents the connection with the natural world and contrasts with the temporality of technology and the materials they are built from. The work is symbolic of the Art of Invention and the permanent alteration to the human landscape.

Henderson would like people to consider the ethics of products made with toxic disposable materials. “In a world of virtual reality with e-mail, text messaging, and Internet shopping, we are confronted with the decline in face-to-face communication, the erosion of community and the expectation of instant gratification,” he said. “I want people to talk about technology—rather than merely use technology to talk.”

Henderson has been awarded 26 U.S. patents and his prototype wireless picturephone was received in the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in October 2007.  Henderson was assistant to Kazuo Hashimoto, the inventor of Caller ID and the modern answering machine, and also worked with Jack Kilby, inventor of the computer chip. Henderson founded a number of technology companies and was formerly with IBM. His father, an artist and award-winning creative director, exposed Henderson to art at an early age. He spent his youth painting signs, sketching, wood-working and restoring cars. This early interest in form and design and background as a technologist led to his focus on sculpture. In June of 2011, Henderson received an honorary doctorate from NJIT. Henderson is the annual presenter of the Hashimoto Prize at NJIT’s graduation. He is a member of the Albert Dorman Honors College Board of Visitors and has served as a Colloquium presenter and mentor to Honors College students. After an honorable discharge with the United States Marine Corps, Henderson received two degrees from Southern Oregon University, where he also received the 1999 Distinguished Alumni award. 

One of the nation’s leading public technological universities, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) is a top-tier research university that prepares students to become leaders in the technology-dependent economy of the 21st century. NJIT’s multidisciplinary curriculum and computing-intensive approach to education provide technological proficiency, business acumen and leadership skills. With an enrollment of 11,400 graduate and undergraduate students, NJIT offers small-campus intimacy with the resources of a major public research university. NJIT is a global leader in such fields as solar research, nanotechnology, resilient design, tissue engineering and cybersecurity, in addition to others. NJIT ranks 5th among U.S. polytechnic universities in research expenditures, topping $121 million, and is among the top 1 percent of public colleges and universities in return on educational investment, according to PayScale.com. NJIT has a $1.74 billion annual economic impact on the State of New Jersey.