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Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives
March 13 August 7, 2016
New York, NY
The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Ukrainian Museum, and an exhibition of the works of Jacques Hnizdovsky (1915-1985) is especially appropriate for the Museum's year-long celebration. Hnizdovsky embodies the ethos of post-World War II Ukrainian artists of the diaspora. He ranks among that generation's most distinguished and accomplished figures. And he designed the Museum's logo for its debut in 1976. Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives is comprised of more than 100 works by Hnizdovsky, including oils, woodcuts, linocuts, ceramics, sculptures, drawings, and more. The exhibition opens to the public on March 13; it will be on display through August 7, 2016.
Exerpt from the essay by guest curator Jaroslaw Leshko
Hnizdovsky's prodigious oeuvre, dominated by paintings and prints, places him in a long, distinguished tradition of painters-printmakers from Albrecht Dürer, whose woodcuts were Hnizdovsky's earliest inspiration, to the present.
The singularity of Hnizdovsky's vision of the world is at once direct, accessible and eloquent. It was forged by the Art Academies of Warsaw and Zagreb, the immigrant communities near Munich, the powerful force of modernism confronted in New York, moments of crisis, perseverance and ultimate triumph.
Among the themes Hnizdovsky explores in his paintings are his experiences of the aftermath of World War II in DP camps and the beauty and drama of cities where he lived. In his landscapes he explores nature's variability and beauty and his still lifes celebrate earth's bounty. The artist's religious works, powerful and expressive, probe issues of betrayal, suffering, and redemption.
Hnizdovsky's most mature and accomplished works are his woodcuts on which he concentrated in earnest since 1960, and whose major subject is nature's flora and fauna. Stylization, a word often used as shorthand to define Hnizdovsky's unique visual language does not fully convey the artist's transformative iteration of the natural world. His plants and creatures are taken from nature, but are not of it.
The importance of Hnizdovsky's achievements was recognized by Peter A. Wick, curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts of the Houghton Library at Harvard University, when he wrote in 1976: "The woodcuts of Jacques Hnizdovsky represent some of the richest and most original printmaking in American Graphic Arts of the past thirty years."
Hnizdovsky has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, among them the Tiffany, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ossabaw Foundation fellowships. His work is in many important private and public collections, which include the Cleveland Art Museum of Fine Arts, the Davison Art Center of Wesleyan University, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Philadelphia Museum, the White House and Yale University.
Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives is drawn from the Museum's extensive collection of his works, a large portion of which was generously donated by Stephanie "Fanny" Hnizdovsky, the artist's wife, and Mira Hnizdovsky, their daughter. Other gifts of major works by the artist are from the collections of Ostap and Ursula Balaban and Dr. Andrew and Tatiana Tershakovec. The exhibition is further augmented by generous loans from members and friends of the Museum. The Museum is especially grateful to the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago for an important loan of Hnizdovsky's paintings and prints to the exhibition.
About the artist
Hnizdovsky arrived in America in 1949, settling in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he entered and won second prize in two juried shows, one for his graphic work, the other for painting which persuaded him to become a full-time artist and move to New York City. The cities that he chose to paint are mainly New York, which he came in 1950 and settled, and Paris, where he resided temporarily from 1956 to 1958.
About the guest curator
Pysanka: The Ukrainian Easter Egg
March 5 May 15, 2016
New York, NY
Springtime is the season for renewal, rebirth, resurrection, and the making of pysanky, which signal the coming of Easter. Pysanky are the intricate and colorful Ukrainian Easter eggs known around the world for their beauty and originality.
The art of creating Ukrainian pysanky (from the word pysaty to write) has been handed down from generation to generation. The secrets of this ancient art form will be revealed on Saturday, March 19 from 1-5 pm, when pysanka artists will demonstrate the process live for museum visitors. The hand-crafted pysanky are made using raw eggs, dyes, and beeswax in a wax-resist method process, similar to batik. The process results in brilliantly colorful eggs ornamented with an array of detailed geometric, floral, and animal symbols. In addition to the demonstrations, the popular, award-winning short film Pysanka by Slavko Nowytski will be screened continuously for viewers to enjoy.
The Ukrainian Museum's annual exhibition of pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) counts more than 400 this year in conjunction with the Museum's 40th anniversary. Drawn from the Museum's extensive folk art collection, the eggs are decorated in a variety of regional styles, rich colors, and assorted motifs. The exhibition is complemented by a series of glass paintings with Easter and spring themes by Jaroslava Surmach Mills. Pysanka: The Ukrainian Easter Egg will be on display through May 15.
More information about pysanky: www.ukrainianmuseum.org/ex_110326pysanka.html
The Ukrainian Museum's Exhibition Catalogue Receives Prestigious College Art Association's 2016 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums
New York, NY
The 2016 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions went to the team of co-curators Myroslava M. Mudrak and Tetiana Rudenko for the catalogue Staging the Ukrainian Avant-Garde of the 1910s and 1920s, which accompanied the exhibition of the same name that had been organized by The Ukrainian Museum in New York in cooperation with the Museum of Theater, Music, and Cinema Arts of Ukraine in Kyiv, and had been shown at The Ukrainian Museum from February 15-October 4, 2015.
The Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for museum scholarship was established in 1980 in honor of the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art and scholar of early-twentieth-century painting. This award is presented to the author or authors of an especialy distinguished catalogue in the history of art, published in the English language under the auspices of a museum, library, or collection. In 2009, the College Art Association (CAA) established a second Barr award for the author(s) of catalogues produced by smaller museums, libraries, and collections with an annual operating budget of less than $10 million. The 2016 award year covers catalogues published between September 1, 2014, and August 31, 2015, and The Ukrainian Museum congratulates Myroslava M. Mudrak and Tetiana Rudenko for achieving such a distinction and becoming the newest recipients of this prestigious award.
Myroslava M. Mudrak accepted the juried award for herself and on behalf of Tetiana Rudenko at a ceremony that took place during Convocation at the 104th Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on Wednesday evening, February 3, 2016, led by DeWitt Godfrey, president of the CAA Board of Directors. Olha Ivanova, counselor for cultural affairs at the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America, attended the ceremony, and took part in handing the award to Myroslava M. Mudrak.
Prof. Mudrak thanked the Association and members of the Jury for the recognition and used the occasion to point out the larger implications of the award, especially drawing the public's attention to the current situation in Ukraine as it struggles to realign itself with Western values. "There are parallels to be drawn between the 1920s, as covered by our exhibition, and the threat of regression faced by the current forces of politics. Then, an entire generation was lost to Stalin's cleansing; our exhibition, drawn from the largest collection of Ukrainian theater design in the world, sought to honor their unfettered artistic spirit." She thanked the staff and the Board of The Ukrainian Museum, most especially its Director, Maria Shust, for their tireless efforts in producing quality exhibits. She also thanked Lidia Lykhach of Rodovid Press for her cooperation in the production of the catalogue.
The Jury consisting of David Dearinger, Boston Athenaeum, Chair; Kelly Baum, Princeton University Art Museum; Alison de Lima Green, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Peter Sturman, University of California, Santa Barbara; and Thayer Tolles, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, cited the pioneering qualities of research presented in the catalogue and underscored its revelatory significance, as it brought to light an understudied and often overlooked chapter of European Modernism. The Jury also pointed out that one of the achievements of the contributors' scholarship on the Ukrainian avant-garde of the first decades of the twentieth century is that it makes clear that "these artists, filmmakers, dancers, scenographers, theater directors, and costume designers deserve to be considered alongside their better known counterparts in the Paris and the Russian avant-gardes. Staging the Ukrainian Avant-Garde of the 1910s and 1920s stands as a model of the rich insights to be gained from interdisciplinary, cross media investigations that are grounded in the study of primary documents and concrete social history."
Myroslava M. Mudrak is Professor Emerita, Department of History of Art at The Ohio State University. She has curated many exhibitions and authored a number of books, the most recent one being the catalogue of The Ukrainian Museum's exhibition Borys Kosarev. Modernist Kharkiv 1915-1931 (Rodovid Press, 2011). She studies Modernism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union in relation to philosophical and stylistic developments of the West.
Tetiana Rudenko is Chief Collections Manager of the Museum of Theater, Music, and Cinema Arts of Ukraine in Kyiv. Among her other publications is a coauthored book on Anatol Petrytsky titled Anatol Petrytskyi. Teatralni stroi ta dekoratsii zi zbirky Muzeiu teatralnoho, muzychnoho ta kinomystetstva Ukrainy (2012).
The Exhibition Catalogue
Color illustrated, bi-lingual (English and Ukrainian), 276-page, softcover catalogue Staging the Ukrainian Avant-Garde of the 1910s and 1920s.
The publication features critical essays by consultative curators Myroslava M. Mudrak and Tetiana Rudenko, and includes contributions by these acknowledged experts: Nicoletta Misler, Professor of Russian and East European Art at the Istituto Universitario Orientale, Naples (University of Naples); John E. Bowlt, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Director of the Institute of Modern Russian Culture, and specialist in the history of modern Russian art; Valentyna Chechyk, Professor, Department of Art History and Theory at Kharkiv State Academy of Art and Design (Ukraine); Hanna Veselovska, Professor at the Department of Theater Theory and Criticism, the Karpenko-Karyi National University of Theater, Cinema, and Television in Kyiv; Mayhill Fowler, Stetson University, Department of History, specializing in the cultural history of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe.
The catalogue, priced at $49, is available in the Museum shop and online.
Essays in the catalogue:
Sixty Years an Artist: A Retrospective Exhibition of Works by Zenowij Onyshkewych
September 27, 2015 April 24, 2016 (EXTENDED)
The Ukrainian Museum is pleased to present a comprehensive exhibition featuring the work of Zenowij Onyshkewych (b. 1929), a prolific Ukrainian American artist, whose oeuvre includes a wide range of mediums spanning sixty years of creative expression. This retrospective exhibition spanning his artistic career primarily showcases his landscapes, but also includes portraits and caricatures executed in oils, watercolors, and ink or pencil. The exhibition is comprised of more than 70 paintings and drawings selected by guest curator Olena Martynyuk, Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University. Sixty Years an Artist: A Retrospective Exhibition of Works by Zenowij Onyshkewych opens to the public on September 30, 2015, and will remain on view through January 17, 2016.
A product of two continents, Onyshkewych's creative heritage is a consequence of a complex personal historythat of a Ukrainian immigrant absorbing the European painting tradition through a strong American lens. Onyshkewych himself is a vivid embodiment of the impact that the cruelty of the 20th centurywith its displacements, wars, ruptures, and losseshas had on human fate. After witnessing the terrors of the Second World War as a teenager in Poland, Austria, and Germany, young Zenowij relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1949. Settling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan Onyshkewych began taking classes at the Art Students League of New York. His teacher, Reginald Marsh, one of the best known chroniclers of 1930s and 40s New York, connected the young artist to the tradition of American urban modernism. While Onyshkewych was never fully devoted to urban visuality and street scenes, he reacted to this aesthetic through the dynamic energy and exuberant brushwork in his paintings.
After the Art Students League, Onyshkewych moved on to study at the National Academy of Fine Arts with the American Impressionist, Robert Philipp. Drafted to serve in the Korean War, Onyshkewych completed his education at Pratt Institute upon his return. There he grew more attracted to observing nature directly and spent more time working in oils and watercolors en plein air rather than in a studio. The artist further explored the Impressionist intricacy of the painting surface, and began to experiment with subtly nuanced colors and evanescent light effects. Growing inwardness, fascination with earlier epochs in art, and a general anti-modernist stance are hallmarks of his work and not surprising for someone who survived two wars, one as a youth and the other as a soldier.
Besides embracing Impressionistic traits, Onyshkewych underlines the interconnectedness of human beings with nature by juxtaposing tiny human figures with grandiose natural scenes. Rendered with just a few brushstrokes, the minute figures suggest a sense of being overwhelmed by events and memories of the times long gone. He turns an encounter with a landscape into poetic expression and personal sentiment. He evokes and develops the romanticism of a landscape with its capacity to express human emotions, most notably the sense of belonging, nostalgia, melancholy, or trepidation when confronted with the forces of nature.
Onyshkewych's work is found among prestigious American and international collections, including the Vatican, where he painted a life size portrait of Pope Paul VI commissioned for the official residence of the Pope. Onyshkewych's caricatures and editorial illustrations have appeared in The New York Times and The National Observer. He produced book covers for Reader's Digest, St. Martin's Press, McGraw Hill, and Random House, just to name a few. He taught life drawing and painting at Fairfield University for nearly 20 years. Zenovij Onyshkewych is a long-time resident of Ridgefield, Connecticut.
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