Collection Made Available Through Bequest Agreement
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. — Under a new agreement, Monmouth University will have the opportunity to share one of the most comprehensive collections of Street and Urban Art in the nation.
“The Simon and Rachel Hirschfeld Graffiti/Street Art Collection is one of the finest groupings of its kind,” said Kenneth Womack, dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the university.
Simon Hirschfeld is Rachel’s paternal grandfather. “He taught me to love God with a passion. That inspired me to appreciate life in the form of the creative arts, living artists, and their work. It opened the door for all kinds of love, even love for my first rescue dog, my late companion, Soupbone, and all the animals who have followed.” said Hirschfeld.
“Not only does the collection feature esteemed works by many of the genre’s leading and founding fathers of Street Art,” continued Womack, “but it also affords Jersey Shore communities with access to masterworks from active and present-day contemporary artists.”
Hirschfeld’s bequest to Monmouth University includes over 50 works of art. Among the artists represented in the collection are Banksy, Blek le Rat, John “CRASH” Matos, DalEast, Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring, JR, KAWS, Jeff Koons, Mr. Brainwash, and SWOON.
On her first visit to the studio of John “CRASH” Matos, she instantly fell in love with the art of this “Dean” of the New York Street Art scene, and the feeling was mutual. “Art, I’ve felt, has the power to take you somewhere,” said CRASH, “and seeing Rachel react so strongly was such a powerful moment. We became friends and I respect her dearly.”
The collection is expected to tour other museums throughout the country and will be used for scholarly purposes at the university and elsewhere. In the future, works will continue to be exhibited from time to time at Monmouth University’s DiMattio Gallery in Rechnitz Hall.
Michael Richison, assistant professor of art and design at Monmouth, is particularly excited to expose students to these works. Calling the gallery program at the university “top-notch,” Richison, who is currently teaching a course on Street Art, said that “as an instructor, it is my priority to bring these kinds of enriching experiences into the classroom.”
Hirschfeld will guest lecture on Street Art on occasion.
“The Simon and Rachel Hirschfeld Graffiti/Street Art Collection is a great tribute to Ms. Hirschfeld’s devotion to aesthetic refinement and, in many ways, the act of collecting fine art itself,” said Womack. “Her generosity lends vital luster to Monmouth University’s growing reputation as a leading institution of higher learning with an accent on the arts. We are indebted to her for her great vision.”
In fact, Hirschfeld said that her interest in learning about new ideas and forms of expression is what led to her passion for collecting Street Art.
Her father was the visionary New York developer Abraham Hirschfeld and, she noted, as someone with a real estate upbringing, she had equated graffiti with vandalism.
“I didn’t want someone defacing our buildings,” said Hirschfeld. But when she met Asbury Park graffiti artist “Stinky Cheese,” her mind was changed.
“His point was that, ‘The developers were enabled by the politicians who stink!’” said Hirschfeld. “And I said, ‘You know what? I like that this guy is expressing himself. He’s using the First Amendment, through his talent, as art.”
After that she purchased her first piece of Street Art; a work by the artist known as KASO, who also calls himself “Stinky Cheese.”
“Stinky Cheese” by Street and Graffiti artist KASO, is a social commentary painted on scrap lumber from the redevelopment of Asbury Park, N.J.
Her collection expanded after she viewed secretive Street Artist Banksy’s documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop.”
She likens many street artists today to those artists who gathered to live and work in a section of Paris more than 100 years ago.
“I realized that, to some, the street was their Montmartre,” said Hirschfeld. “I came to know that they had something to say. They wanted to move the art world to the next level.”
“Always subversive, Banksy, like many other graffiti artists, uses his work to expose and undermine the most sordid aspects of our society…Whether it’s political or within the art industry, inspiring change is what graffiti does best,” from British Vogue by Olive Pometsey.
“When you look at Street Art,” Hirschfeld explained, “everyone has created a reflection of their own essence. No two artists’ works look alike; each one is a definite reflection of the artist and not of an art period. The only thing that speaks to the period is that they do it on the street, but they are as different and individual as they can possibly be.”
Hirschfeld believes that graffiti and Street Art are “the only new art forms” and that excites and engages her. “Modern art is old. Contemporary art is old. For me, Street Art is the contemporary art form of our day.”
Womack said that plans are being developed to showcase a portion of the collection at the university and to integrate it into the curriculum.
Hirschfeld concluded, “My collection of street artists fuses their work with humanity, they romanticize the world. And, like all the greatest artists of the world, they don’t seek permission to make art. Street artists just do it!”
Images of the artwork and interviews with Ms. Hirschfeld available upon request.
About Monmouth University
Monmouth University is the region’s premier private coastal university that offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs in a dynamic and personalized learning environment. Located in West Long Branch, New Jersey, Monmouth University’s magnificent coastal campus is approximately one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia. Innovative academic programs, individual faculty attention, and nationally ranked Division One athletics make this private university a great place to find your future.
About Rachel Hirschfeld
Aside from being one of the foremost collectors of graffiti and Street Art, Rachel Hirschfeld, Esq. is an internationally renowned expert in estate planning and a fervent advocate for people, their companion pets and owned animals. She has advised animal shelters, rescue organizations, farms, zoos, and wildlife sanctuaries. Ms. Hirschfeld is an animal welfare attorney, one of the first ever attorneys to develop an expertise on Animal Law.
The trauma of the catastrophic illness of Soupbone, her beloved rescue dog set her on one of her life’s two passions: Animal Welfare. She created the Pet Protection Agreement® pet trust and The Hirschfeld Pet Trust©. Both offer legal ongoing care, valid in all fifty states, for all animals’ uninterrupted care.
Ms. Hirschfeld’s Pet Protection Agreement, which continues to save millions of pets each year, is available through www.PetTrustLawyer.com.