The Wende Museum opened multiple revolutionary new exhibits on Nov. 11, 2023, mindful of the international status of the date, and promoting, as always, a deeper understanding of human connection. Visions of Transcendence, The Wende Times, Ceija Stojka and Darling Godsonny: Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin, are all now on display.
At 2:00 pm, the Wende’s chief curator, Joes Segal, spoke in the garden to a crowd of patrons, artists and academics, all gathered to celebrate. Segal, giving credit to co-curator Emma Diffley, introduced the concept of Visions of Transcendence, noting that “the idea was born after our visits [to Europe] to see artists – Our museum always tries to make connections between the past and the present,” and noting that historically artists “in the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe,” were in similar situations to “incarcerated artists in the West.”
For people living under oppression and struggling for freedom “art is more than an expression; it’s what keeps them alive, what keeps them sane… [Our exhibitions here show] how strong these emotions are, how direct and how impactful.”
“As a second step, we included the unhoused community, working with an organizations on Skid Row, and looking at those works, we asked the artists to write their own labels, so what you see here is all written in the first person and perhaps a bit long,” Segal paused to smile, and concluded that giving these artists “full voice was essential to displaying the work.”
He also introduced ‘Dear Godsonny: Ivan the Terrible Advises the Infant Stalin’ by Anne Bobroff-Hajal, a work displayed in a side corridor of the main hall, “not to be missed.” This satirical artwork contains hundreds of colorful three-inch-high portraits of Russians of all ranks, whose stories are narrated in song by animated characters based on real Russian autocrats. It’s an intricate and deeply detailed bit of critique that covers a lot of wall – and a lot of ground.
The concurrent exhibit on Roma artist Ceija Stojka – a writer, musician, painter, and activist offers captivating photographs of Roma and Sinti daily life in Cold War-era Eastern Europe. Her colorful works reflect on Roma community life and history, again referencing the human needs for freedom, autonomy and creative expression.
Segal concluded by featuring the ‘guardhouse’ in the garden, now repurposed as a “news-stand for Fake News” by a group of high school students, whose internships over three months led to this latest interpretation of the structure.
Featured artists include Adam, Narayan Aryal, Charles Bado, Gil Batle, Sandow Birk, Jennifer Blake, Christian Branscombe, Gary Brown, Mihail Chemiakin, Manuel Compito, Angel Correa, Sidney Davis, Eugene Clark El, Lumumba Edwards, Bruce Fowler, Michael Moses El, Solomon Gershov, Dean Gillispie, Alan Glover, Ezequiel González, Lily Gonzalez, Michael D. Griego, Yousef Khan, Kirn Kim, Lev Kropivnitsky, Cirese LaBerge-Bader, Leonid Lamm, Lan, Linda Leigh, Phillip “Rock” Lester, Felix Lex Miranda, Boris Mikhailov, Omid Mokri, Stanislav Molodykh, Leonid Nedov, Delores New, M. Nguyen, S.I.S. North, Monica Nouwens, Juan Sanchez, Sean O’Brien, Jared Owens, Kitiona Paepule, People of the Golden Venture, J. Quintero, Karen Ruckman, Oleg Sadovnichky, Sergey Saka, Juan Sanchez, Evgeny Sayfutdinov, Bernard Seaborn, Shepard Sherbell, Marlen Spindler, Maujindel Sidhu, Tyler Michael Sirovy, Boris Sveshnikov, Cuong “Mike” Tran, Victoria Tedesco, Thanujan, Bumdog Torres, “Duck” Roy Turrentine, Tamás Urbán, Maks Velo, Rigo Veloso, Peter Villapudua, William Wang, Obie Weathers, Kenneth Webb, John Winkleman, Vladimir Yakovlev, Khadija von Zinnenburg Carroll, and Žyorunas.
These exhibits will all run until April 7, 2024.
Artwork by Gil Batle, Time Killer, 2016, carved ostrich egg shell