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Day November 18, 2010

Perspective Founder Profiles Gov. Christie for The Nation

The Rise of Chris Christie, Governor Wrecking Ball

This profile was first published at TheNation.com

From National Review, which ran an August cover story designating him the “Scourge of Trenton,” to conservative bloggers electrified by his boisterous YouTube clips, just about every relevant Republican constituency has found something to be taken with in Chris Christie. Policy analysts in Washington appear just as enthralled by his critique of public pensions as are the familiar talk-radio personalities. “Ladies and gentlemen, is it wrong to love another man?” Rush Limbaugh asked one afternoon. “Because I love Chris Christie.”

In a feat of strategic jujitsu, Christie has managed to tread a tenuous ideological line between Beltway Republicans and the Tea Party, endorsing Mike Castle over Christine O’Donnell in the Delaware Republican senatorial primary. The calculation implied that although he clearly welcomes its support, Christie is not tethered to the Tea Party’s every whim; meanwhile, the Republican National Committee was happy to shuttle him around the country on behalf of various candidates this election cycle. Even among social conservatives, to whom Christie does not often pander, he has amassed impressive credentials: Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, lauded “the victory of a pro-life, pro-marriage GOP governor in New Jersey” last year after Christie vowed to veto a same-sex marriage bill. This ubiquitous adoration suggests that should rumored presidential aspirations materialize, he may be able to unite the party’s balkanized base.

‘Pixel’ Artist to Give Lecture

Last November, Willie Cole installed his divisive, sparkling “Pixels,” a public artwork comprising four huge, glittered spheres of different colors, on the grass between Loser Hall, the Music Building, and the Art & IMM Building at TCNJ.

The Pixel Project - The College of New Jersey (WillieCole.com)
The Pixel Project, The College of New Jersey WillieCole.com

The installation provoked responses both legion and varied. Some were taken aback by the Pixels, either irked to be uninvolved in the selection process or distracted by the contrast with Campus architecture. Some welcomed the piece as a bold artistic statement, but most were skeptical about its funding and confused about its message.

Cole addressed these concerns in January: according to the Signal, Cole affirmed, “This artwork has nothing to do with the money that pays for their education. It in fact is a gift to them…”

Regarding the Pixel concept, Cole said, “The pixel, as represented in this work, links art and interactive media… In sculpture, the sphere is emblematic of minimalism. In media the sphere — as an abstract representation of the pixel — is primary. It also represents the single dot of color in a pointillist painting, or the single particle that is the basic building ‘dot’ of all living things.”

From October 28 through December 8, Cole’s work is featured in IMM room 115. Most pieces comment on race and gender issues, and all of his work is political, thoughtful, and confrontational.

Today (Thursday, November 18), Willie Cole will be giving a lecture in the new Art & IMM building, room 115, at 11:30am. Afterword, we will talk to Cole about the political roots of his work, his assessment of current issues, and more. Check back here soon for the interview and photographs of some of his work.