Asbury Underground Presents:

by Joe Harvard

With Additional Works
Submitted by MARK DAVIS

December 17th thru January 16th

Opening Reception

Saturday, December 17th
7PM – 10PM – Open to the Public

On Saturday evening, December 17th, 2016, Asbury Underground will present an opening party at art629 Gallery, located at 629 Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ, featuring the work of black light artist, musician, and author, Joe Harvard, with additional submissions from his counterpart Mark Davis. Mr. Harvard will be in attendance, and will talk at length about his recent work on display, and also about his work as the founder and creator of “The gARTen @ 713 Cookman”, where Joe has been creating an interactive art and music experience as part of the Asbury Underground on a vacant lot for the past several summers. This event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit titled “Beauty Thru Radiation” will be a showcase of the artist’s most recent work, which he refers to as, “found object ‘trash art’ and black lit Day-Glo work”. The time of the opening is 7PM to 10PM. The exhibit is currently on display, and will run in conjunction with Asbury Underground’s Light of Day Downtown Art and Music Crawl through the weekend of January 16th, 2017. Gallery hours vary, and it is suggested to call ahead for hours of operation (732) 859-1458.

This will be the first gallery showing by Harvard, who has lived and worked in Asbury Park for many years both as an artist and musician. The gallery is showing Mr. Harvard’s work in conjunction with the Asbury Underground/Light of Day event, which takes place on January 14th. Asbury Underground is a city-wide showcase for art and music which takes place two times per year in Asbury Park. The last Asbury Underground event which took place in October drew an estimated 10,000 people to the downtown, for a tow days of art and music.

For more information about Asbury Underground click HERE.


A decade after his arrival on the Jersey Shore the AP Press called him “Asbury Park’s Renaissance Man”; summer 2015 found him included in both Local Legends of East Boston and Local Legends of Asbury Park; in summer 2016 he was selected Asbury Zest Magazine’s AP Rising Star (on page 37) in recognition of his musical and artistic endeavors. The former include a busy live performance schedule as a member of local groups Dub Proof, Velveeta, and Keith Monacchio & the Dustup Troubadours, plus his solo one-man-band projects: the more traditional One Banned Man, and the all-electronic Doctor Danger. The results of three years spent re-inventing himself may be heard on his self-produced 2016 double album Hudgemabudge, on which he plays all of the dozen+ instruments and electronic controllers.

In June, 2015, as part of his first event as an Asbury Underground curator Joe founded gARTen @ 713 Cookman, an outdoor community garden-cum-art gallery dedicated to found object “trash art” and black lit Day-glo work. He and artists Mallory Massara and Marc Davis spent the next 17 months transforming a vacant lot into a faux archaeological site where plastic containers are repurposed into “monuments” to modern lifestyle. Most of the work in the Beauty Thru Radiation show was created for the gARTen during this period. Find out more on Facebook.

Joe’s 2004 book “The Velvet Underground and Nico” is one of the best-selling titles in the popular 33-1/3 series and has been re-released in Japanese and Portuguese editions. His storytelling skills were recognized when he became the first MOTH NYC Annual Grand Storyslam competition winner.

The Boston Herald called him “a uniquely rooted sort of native son – imagine ‘Good Will Hunting’ if Matt Damon’s character had stayed home and founded the studio that galvanized local indie rock and launched the Pixies,” referring to his role as co-founder of Fort Apache Recording Studios, where Pixies, Bosstones, Morphine, Lemonheads, Buffalo Tom and many others recorded seminal indie albums. During his 15 active (and very busy) years in the Boston-Cambridge music scene (’75-90) Joe worked with Breeeders, Tanya Donnelly, Connells, Gwar and played on major label LP’s by Dinosaur, Jr. and Throwing Muses, among others. He was the first recipient of the WFNX/Boston Phoenix Reader’s Poll ‘Top Local Producer’ title, and more recently was honored with Asbury Music Awards for Top Americana 2009, Top Multi-Instrumentalist and Top Avant-Garde Act 2010, the latter for the three-year run of The Long Weekend Variety Show, a Monday night music, poetry and trivia show co-hosted by partner Mallory Massara, and their monthly live talk show Rock and Talk.

Joe is the proud father of a 13-year old son, Aidan. He also loves ice cream, books and cats.


The basic recipe for a Beauty Thru Radiation piece is to turn trash into art that has a dual life – one in natural light and a second under ultraviolet light – popularly known as black light. I believe art should transcend the mundane and strive for the magical; if the ancient Egyptians or Greeks had black lights I’m certain every temple would’ve had them installed. Using them as a way of altering the palette of a piece is like placing our own “selective filter” on what we view, seeing the world not through rose-colored glasses but a magically glowing “alternate reality.”

I collect found and recycled objects, then paint them with Day-Glo paints and markers, utilizing a wide variety of materials including construction debris, trash-pickings, flotsam, Boardwalk refuse, and plastic containers from laundromat bins. Many pieces are mounted on old trays, discarded storage tub lids or scrap wood. Some are joined with “at-hand” materials like insulating foam but most use screws, wire, gravity and / or melting by propane torch; adhesives are kept to a minimum. The pieces usually develop slowly and are thematic, like frozen ideas; humor and irony often find their way into my work.

A lot of my BTR work explores means of denying the frame to reach out beyond a two-dimensional rectangle into surrounding space. My interest in art which strives for 3-D is matched by my fondness for the discarded and my admiration for the patinas and hues
of yesterday. As a kid exploring the disused buildings along East Boston’s waterfront I learned to appreciate the echoes of events past found in abandoned places. This empathy with humankind’s cast-off creations was reinforced during the two school years I spent as Assistant to the Director of the Peabody Museum, and after graduation during excavation work in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and on NYC’s East River.

These pieces reflect the fondness of a former archaeologist for the aesthetics of antiquity, including the original forms and colors, as well as the patinas and colorations of aging. Discernible echoes of my visits to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and of my studies of the art and artifacts of the past while earning my degree in archaeological anthropology at Harvard University are there to see – particularly those of the Islamic world, my area of study.

There are even elements of Warhol’s aesthetics that rubbed off while writing “The Velvet Underground and Nico” for the 33-1/3 Series, and the DIY ethos of the Underground rock / Punk / Indie musical scenes in which I was deeply immersed for most of my 20’s and 30’s.

I deliberately keep my toolkit simple in an effort to evoke the handicraft of long ago ages. Techniques range from a single color of marker on a milk jug to acrylic, enamel, oil, latex and fabric paint combinations, with multi-layered collage, decoupage, blowtorch modeling and integration of rubber, plastic, metal and wooden objects. In other words, anything and everything on anything and everything. I hope you enjoy viewing the work as much as I did making it.

– Joe Harvard, 11/27/16