NEW YORK, NY.-
Columbia Universitys The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery
opens its second exhibition of the season with Project Europa: Imagining the (Im)Possible. The past two decades in European history have been marked the fall of the Berlin Wall and the unification of Europemonumental events seen by many as symbolically heralding a new social and democratic vision. This exhibition brings together 19 artists whose work, created in the aftermath of these historic events, considers the relationship of art to democracy and responds in various ways to the conflicts and contradictions of Europes democratic dream.
Project Europa is open to the public from Wednesday, January 19 through Saturday, March 26.
Organized by the Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida, Project Europa addresses the complex positioning of Europe in the modern world. While the continent embodies the notions of democracy, human rights, peace and diversity, it also reverberates with xenophobia, racism, religious intolerance, andespecially after the fall of the World Trade Center towersheightened security and the hardening of immigration policies. Project Europas artists are catalysts for new ways of seeing, thinking about and imagining Europe.
Columbia/Barnard art history professor Alexander Alberro emphasizes the timeliness and relevance of Project Europa for U.S. audiences. The shift in world order that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and its satellite states has rendered our relationship to the metropolitan centers of Europe more complex than ever, said Alberro. It is crucial that we understand the fundamental ways in which the cultural and political ideals of Europe are changing, as well as our current commitment to those ideals. This exhibition addresses these and many other topical questions.
Exhibition curator Kerry Oliver-Smith, curator of contemporary art at the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art similarly notes that The fall of the Berlin Wall, the attacks of 9/11, and the worlds recent economic collapse bring the challenges and mutual destiny of Europe and the United States closer than ever. With the current cultural, political and economic crises, it is all the more urgent to question the recent past, to examine our global impact, and to envision more clearly our commitment to a democratic society.
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