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Morris Museum Elects New Trustee
Sassona Norton

originally published: 02/03/2018

Morris Museum Elects New Trustee Sassona Norton

(MORRISTOWN, NJ) -- The Board of Trustees of the Morris Museum announced that it has recently elected a new member:  Sassona Norton.  In making the announcement, Gerri Horn, the Board’s Chairman, said: The Trustees of the Morris Museum are honored to welcome Sassona to the Board.  She is an internationally recognized voice in the art world, an artist of major consequence, and a spirited advocate for artistic and cultural endeavors."

Sassona Norton, a native of Israel, pursued painting from a very early age. After graduating from the Tel-Aviv University in Literature and Theater, she went on to teach high school seniors, produced and directed plays and published articles on various art disciplines in “Yedioth Ahronoth”, Israel's largest newspaper. Her professional career as a painter was jump-started by her sold-out first solo show at Gallery 220 in Tel-Aviv, which the “Jerusalem Post” praised for its “unique personal vision”. In 1974, Norton immigrated to the United States and joined the Art Students' League of New York, where she was awarded the Isabel Bishop Merit Scholarship.

Norton began to achieve artistic success in the US in the early 1980s with the publication of her work, “A Yellow Night”, alongside works by Picasso, Rodin, Calder and Dali, in “Twentieth Century Masters of Erotic Art” by Bradley Smith and Crown Publishing Group. One year later, she was included in “Eight Young New Yorkers on the Horizon”, a travelling show throughout the United States. In 1983, her large-scale painting, “The Rain Prayer”, was published in the 16 volume, “Discover Art”, by Laura H. Chapman, and in 1984, her second NY solo show at Sutton Gallery was signaled out by Peter Fingesten for its “strength and poetic, erotic, masculine, intellectual and sculptural nature.” 

In 1999, after working for a few years on architectural and design installations, Norton shifted from painting to sculpting exclusively. Three years later, she was awarded the Huntington Merit Medal for her sculpture, “The Edge of Rest”, at the National Arts Club in New York. 



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In 2003 Norton won the international competition to sculpt a 9/11 Memorial in Pennsylvania. The Memorial raised two immense hands lifting twenty feet into the sky a twisted and burnt I-beam salvaged from the North Tower. Heavily covered by the media, the Memorial was installed in Norristown in 2005. The documentary, “A Memorial Journey”, about the creation of the work was shown a few years later at the International Art Fair in Stockholm, and in 2015, it became the topic of the lecture on the role of monuments Norton gave at the Park Avenue Club in Morristown.

Norton's connection to the Morris Museum coincided with the installation of the 9/11 Memorial. A major show of her over life-size bronze figures, body fragments and monumental hands was extended by popular demand to over six months. The Morris Museum published a hard cover book, “Sassona Norton Sculpture”, and one year later, it celebrated the inauguration of its new wing with the installation of “Sculptures by Sassona Norton and Others from the Permanent Collection”.

Recent years have turned Sassona towards the creation of additional monuments. The work on the 9/11 Memorial prompted her to advocate the important role public art can have on changing society’s perception and behavior. In 2011, the Swedish Arne Ljungqvist Foundation selected her out of eight prominent sculptors in Europe and the USA to design and build the monument “Et Purus” (Latin for “And Pure”) for the promotion of clean sports. The monument will be produced in multiples designated for different cities around the world. The repeated image would turn “Et Purus” into a prominent icon for anti-doping. Norton sees the monument in a broader context of advocating honesty, transparency and morality in all competitive interactions. The first monument, assigned for Monaco, will be installed in 2019 on the Palace grounds of H.S.H. Prince Albert II.

Norton is a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, National Sculpture Society, International Sculpture Center, Washington Sculptors Group and Sculptors’ Guild, where she served on the board for a few years. She is the first artist to join the Board of the Morris Museum. Norton hopes that her experience in various art disciplines will help to amplify the connection between the Museum and the Morristown community, as well as broadcast the Museum to other communities in New Jersey. “Looking at and listening to art”, says Norton, “encourage people to think out of the box. Today’s cross-over disciplines in the art world open a window to seeing the advantage of a dialogue with the unfamiliar. The understanding and acceptance of our differences widens our outlook and deepens our empathy. Inclusiveness makes us better Americans and stronger as a whole.”

About the Morris Museum

Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution which serves the public through high caliber exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities.  The Museum also offers educational programs, family events, and is home to the Bickford Theatre and its wide range of performing arts offerings. Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts’ Citation of Excellence, among other awards. The first museum in New Jersey to be accredited, the Morris Museum was re-accredited in 2013 by the American Alliance of Museums.  

The Morris Museum is a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00pm. In addition, the Museum is open evenings from 5:00 to 8:00pm on the second and third Thursday of the month. Admission to the Museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for Museum members.  For more information, call (973) 971-3700, or visit www.morrismuseum.org.



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