Artist Ellen Harvey’s “Disappointed Tourist” opens at Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum

Artist Ellen Harvey’s “Disappointed Tourist” opens at Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum


The “Disappointed Tourist,” a travelling exhibition by internationally known artist Ellen Harvey depicting lost sites from around the world and down the street, is now showing at the newly rebranded Rowan University Art Gallery & Museum, 301 High Street W., in Glassboro.

The exhibition, a collection of paintings composed from photos of historic sites, includes eight from southern New Jersey including Whitney Glass Works in Glassboro, Salem Oak, a beloved tree that was believed to be more than 500 years old when it fell in 2019, the former Zee Orchards in Harrison Township, the entrance to the former Vineland Speedway and Vineland’s lost Palace of Depression.

Born in the United Kingdom and educated at Harvard and Yale, Harvey has shown her work in some of the world’s best-loved galleries and forums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, and the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, D.C.

For her current collection, Harvey’s goal is preservation – at least on canvas.

“We live in a world that often feels as though it is vanishing before our eyes,” she said. “Places we love disappear. Places we have hoped to visit cease to exist… the ‘Disappointed Tourist’ is inspired by the urge to repair what has been broken.”

Begun about four years ago and arriving in Glassboro after a three-year tour of Europe, the show features some 300 paintings, and Harvey is not done yet.

“The goal is 500 -- 500 or five years, whichever comes first,” she said.

Harvey welcomes ideas for additions to the “Disappointed Tourist,” which may be submitted on the show’s website,

“I’m most interested in places or stories I don’t have, maybe a community or country that wasn’t yet represented,” she said.

Art Gallery Director and Chief Curator Mary Salvante said Harvey’s exhibition of paintings, all of them 24 inches wide by 16 inches deep, features a mix of the local and the iconic, such as New York’s Twin Towers, Bonwit Teller department store, and CBGBs, a legendary club in Manhattan’s East Village.

The show also features lost sites of international importance, including ornate synagogues destroyed by the Nazis and ice shelves under siege by climate change. Lighter fare includes a painting of an old Blockbuster video store and Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium.

“They’re painted in the style of vintage postcards, some black and white, some hand tinted,” Salvante said.

Open to the public through March 9, a reception and artist’s talk takes place Wednesday, Jan. 31, from 5-7 p.m.