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©Karol Radziszewski. Carolee Schneemann in “America Is Not Ready for This” (2012), film still. Courtesy of the artist.
The James Gallery at the Graduate Center CUNY, the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art in collaboration with the and the Polish Cultural Institute NY

Gallery talks in response to the group exhibition Portable Landscapes: Memories and Imaginaries of Refugee Modernism



The James Gallery, The Graduate Center, CUNY

365 Fifth Avenue, First Floor

New York, NY 10016


Exhibition on view through February 15, 2020


February 11, 2020, 4:00-8:00pm –gallery talks in conjunction with the Portable Landscapes: Memories and Imaginaries of Refugee Modernism exhibit:

4:00 pm - Introduction by exhibition curators Inga Lace and Solvita Krese, Andra Silapetere and Katherine Carl.

4:20 pm - Judy Blum Reddy in conversation with curators Inga Lace, Solvita Krese, Andra Silapetere and Katherine Carl.

5:00 pm - Discussion about younger generation Latvian art scene in New York with exhibition artists Arturs Virtmanis, Viktor Timofeev and curator and art historian Ksenia Nouril

6:15 pm - Presentation of Boris Lurie book “In Riga” (2019) with participation of poet Igor Satanovsky and curator Solvita Krese.

7:00 pm - Artist talk and a discussion with Karol Radziszewski about his film “America is Not Ready for This” (2012)




Polish Cultural Institute New York announces program of conversations with curators and the artists in the exhibition “Portable Landscapes: Memories and Imaginaries of Refugee Modernism” which will uncover the themes and key questions included in the show.


How has the experience of migration and displacement contributed to the exhibition artists’ practice? What are the conditions for art histories to be shared simultaneously across locations? How does this affect national identities? What constitutes refugee modernism? Could it be said that the impetus of art since WWII is refugee modernism? What is the role of artists and curators in shaping the past and present art historical narratives?


Portable Landscapes: Memories and Imaginaries of Refugee Modernism, a group exhibit which is on view until February 15 at The James Gallery, The CUNY Graduate Center, is curated by Inga Lace, Katherine Carl, Andra Silapetere and Solvita Krese. The exhibit is a part of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art four-year project “Portable Landscapes,” which begins with the stories of the exiled, émigré Latvian artists of the Hell's Kitchen collective, and extends into contemporary international artistic voices, locating all within broader context of the 20th century art history, and wider processes of migration and globalization.


The exhibition program developed in collaboration with the James Gallery, brings to the foreground exiled Latvian artists’ and writers’ collective which was active in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City from the 1950s through the 1970s. Through examination of the artistic and political expressions of refugee artists, who in result of the 1944 Soviet occupation were forced into exile, the diverse multimedia narratives unfold both past and present processes of crossing borders and traversing territories.


Departing from the Hell's Kitchen collective, the exhibition highlights personalities and artistic phenomena that have resulted from migration, bringing forward a web of lesser known stories of individual artists and collaborators who played supporting roles in, but also worked to diversify and challenge, the overarching art historical narrative.


In addition to pursuing these stories with the help of archival material, historical works of art and artefacts, the exhibition also includes works by contemporary artists including the Polish conceptual artist, Karol Radziszewski, working on the themes of cultural displacement and its attendant questions. In his film “America Is Not Ready for This” (2012), Radziszewski embarks on a quest to America to retrace the Polish artist Natalia Lach-Lachowicz’s journey to New York from 1977, and who since 1975 engaged in the International Feminist Art movement. During his visit, Radziszewski met with the artists and gallery owners, whom Natalia interacted with during her stay in the US: Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, AA Bronson, Carolee Schneemann, the gallerist Antonio Homem, critic Douglas Crimp, as well as with the star of Andy Warhol's movies, Mario Montez. The protagonists of the film recall the atmosphere of New York in the 1970s, providing a picture of what Natalia Lach-Lachowicz could be confronted with at that time. Re-evaluating the Western and Eastern geopolitical map in different eras, the film confronts the narratives of both, the East and the West and their impact on art history, turning to questions about identity and cultural displacement in the context of the Iron Curtain. Emphasizing the importance of diversity, different modernisms and alternative undercurrents to main narratives, the exhibition suggests that both present and history are living processes in a constant state of change.


Exhibition Portable Landscapes: Memories and Imaginaries of Refugee Modernism at the James Gallery is the last exhibition in the series of the exhibition and research projects Portable Landscapes that took place starting 2017 with exhibitions at: Villa Vassilieff, Paris (2018), Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga (2018), Körsbärsgården Konsthall, Gotland (2018) and District, Berlin (2019). The project’s culmination is planned in spring 2020 when Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art together with Berlin based publisher K.Verlag will launch a book “Portable Landscapes: Art Histories of Latvian Exile”, that views together all the project’s stories.


Participating artists: Daina Dagnija, Yonia Fain, Yevgeniy Fiks, Hell’s Kitchen collective, Rolands Kaneps, Boris Lurie, Karol Radziszewski, Judy Blum Reddy, Vladimir Svetlov & Aleksandr Zapol (Orbita Group), Viktor Timofeev, Sigurds Vidzirkste, Arturs Virtmanis.


„Portable Landscapes” is one of the events of the Latvia’s Centenary Celebrations. It is supported by Latvian Republic Culture Ministry and State Culture Capital Foundation as well as the Polish Cultural Institute New York. Public programs of the exhibition in November 2019 and February 2020 is possible thanks to the support of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation.


Film “America Is Not Ready for This” (2012) is produced in cooperation with Contemporary Wroclaw Museum and Residency Unlimited with support from Polish Institute in New York.




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