PORTABLE LANDSCAPES: New York. Creative climate after the World War II. Cultural connections and artist networks

On Tuesday 19 December at 18:00 the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art invites you to the fourth discussion from the international contemporary art project PORTABLE LANDSCAPES: New York. Creative climate after the World War II. Cultural connections and artist networks.

Portable Landscapes is an international contemporary art project with exhibitions in Riga, Paris, New York, Sweden and Berlin, which traces the manifestations of Latvian art in exile and emigration from the beginning of the 20th century until today. Broadening the context of art events in each of the selected geographical points, these are introduced by discussion workshops where art researchers from Latvia and abroad are invited to participate.

The fourth discussion is dedicated to New York, which, following World War II, emerged as a dominant art centre of the western world, bringing together many cultures and nationalities. The conversation will turn to the creative climate in the entangled Cold War period, reviewing and re-evaluating less researched processes which took shape as a result of artists' migration, with different models and strategies of artists' collaboration being developed. This interaction of both cultures and artists in the second half of the 20th century gave rise to parallel currents to the dominant art-historical narrative, which is represented in leading museums and surveys of processes in the art of this period, therefore we want to pose questions on their role in the formation and development of artistic processes.

The discussion will be introduced by curators of the Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Solvita Krese and Andra Silapētere, who will talk about the Hell's Kitchen, a group of Latvian artists and poets in New York, also highlighting Sigurds Vīdzirkste and his creative career. Curator of James Gallery in New York Katherine Carl will set out the context and methodology for the programming of James Gallery, looking at cultural relations, migration and artist networking in the past century. Ana Janevski, curator at MoMA, will talk about American choreographer Anna Halprin and Croatian artist Tomislav Gotovac and their encounter in the 1960s in Yugoslavia. Melissa Rachleff Burtt, author of several notable studies, will present her project Inventing Downtown, which looks at artist-run galleries in New York from 1952 to 1965, also discussing the work of Boris Lurie who spent his early life in Riga. Meanwhile poet and researcher Kārlis Vērdiņš will speak about Latvian emigre artist Ronalds Kaņeps and his artistic practice.

Portable Landscapes that take place within the program of the Latvia’s Centenary, will examine the stories of exiled and emigré Latvian artists, locating them within the broader context of 20th-century art history, and wider processes of migration and globalization.

Portable Landscapes is supported by Latvian Culture ministry, State Culture Capital foundation, Embassy of US, Embassy of Canada, The Goethe Institute in Riga and Swedish Embassy.

Latvia’s Centenary celebrations take place from 2017 to 2021. The central message of the centenary celebrations is “I am Latvia” emphasizing that the main value of Latvia is its people that create its present with their everyday work and build the basis for its future together with the new generation. The project of the LCCA Portable Landscapes is one of the events of the Latvia’s Centenary Celebrations.

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