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Classic. Relevant

July 13, 2023 - September 10, 2023

Classic. Relevant: Ukrainian Contemporary Artists from the Andrii Suprunenko Collection

July 13 through September 10, 2023

Opening reception: Thursday, July 13, 2023, 6-8pm

Art at the Institute is delighted to announce Classic.Relevant, a group exhibition of artworks by Ukrainian Contemporary artists from the collection of Ukrainian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Andrii Suprunenko opening July 13, remaining on view through September 10, 2023. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, July 6 from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Mr. Suprunenko will be present to discuss the the genesis and growth of his unique collection.

Ukraine’s exclusion from western art history is only a by-product of its exclusion from the western art market. Without the significant amount of state and private investment that has consolidated Russia’s contemporary art market on the world stage, for example, the Ukrainian art world was pushed to the periphery. The turn of the 21st century marked the start of Ukrainian artists’ efforts to catch up with the West and overcome the missed periods in global art development, in particular, adopting new forms of contemporary art practice which broke radically with the precepts of socialist realism and developed in sync with the international cultural process. At the same time, they also aimed at preserving and establishing their national identity.

Nascent collecting practices in the last thirty years attracted Ukrainian entrepreneurs and the well-healed beneficiaries of privatization to invest in contemporary culture made by their generational peers. They sought to promote Ukrainian contemporary art within a research-driven framework pursuant of the unraveling of a complex field of post-Soviet culture within the national, international and global contexts. They sponsored many conferences, round tables and publications in Ukraine on the difficulties faced in the development of new curatorial, institutional and discursive initiatives within the post-Soviet context.

The West’s engagement in the post-communist art of the East was and is not simply a matter of expanding art history’s reach, nor is it a new commodity waiting to be discovered or curated; instead it became a necessarily political project that revealed the artificiality of the western art market and the market-orientated ideological nature of much western art and its critical disciplines. Examining post-communist artistic production allows us to deepen our understanding of art’s relationship to the social, popular and political. Surveying the still emergent art worlds of Eastern Europe offers practitioners, curators and critics a way of historically reapproaching and making visible the ideological mechanisms of power that define the production and consumption of art in the West.

The selected artworks exhibited in these halls are a peek into one man’s personality, cultural and aesthetic vision. Collector and philanthropist Andrii Suprunenko engaged and befriended a generation of young Ukrainian artists coming of age in the 1980s and 1990s making up the brightest phenomenon in Ukraine since the times of the avant-garde in the early twentieth century. He understood the transitory post-Soviet identity crisis, gradually witnessing these young artists’ thinking of the cultural and political in art, raising the degree of comprehension of the social fabric and interest in activist practices. They formed a new generation oriented on completely new meanings of multi-genre art making, audiences, and goals.

Classic. Relevant assembles mid-career and established Ukrainian artists who have garnered international critical, institutional and public audience recognition for creating artworks bridging the powerful tradition of academic painting and graphics with a world outlook of several generations shaped by life in the time of radical change, still evident today.

This exhibition was originally organized by Mr. Alex Nakonechny, Board Member of the Ukrainian National Museum in Chicago, IL where it was on view from May 19 to June 21, 2023.

Exhibition hours: Thursday to Sunday, 12-6 pm, or by appointment. Please consult the UIA website for opening hours in effect, as there are occasional closures.

For further information: Please contact Andrew Horodysky at (212) 288-8660 or andrew@ukrainianinstitute.org.

Classic. Relevant


July 13, 2023
September 10, 2023
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