Aspen Institute and Aspen Institute Kyiv Present Art Exhibit Featuring Ukraine’s Leading Contemporary Artists Responding to Russian Invasion

August 5, 2022

Artworks are on display at Aspen Meadows campus; pieces are on sale with proceeds to benefit Aspen Kyiv

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute
[email protected]

Aspen, CO, August 5, 2022 – The Aspen Institute​ and its international partner Aspen Institute Kyiv are proud to present Beast of War​, Bird of Hope, a gallery of Ukrainian art  at the Aspen Meadows campus in Aspen, Colorado.  

The exhibit, which is on display now, is curated by Alisa Lozhkina, art historian and the former Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Mystetskyi Arsenal, the largest museum and exhibition complex in Ukraine. The artwork, which is almost entirely for sale, features various mediums of art from 11 top contemporary Ukrainian artists created before and during the war with Russia, as well as two unique pieces–never before  shown in the U.S.– by one of the most outstanding Ukrainian female artists of the 20th century, Maria Prymachenko.  Exhibition posters will also be available for sale. Proceeds from all sales benefit Aspen Institute Kyiv.  

“It is an honor to bring the artistic perspective of fellow Ukrainians to the conversations happening in Aspen and at the Aspen Meadows Campus,” said Alisa Lozhkina, curator of the exhibit. “Through this art, I hope to share the invasion’s impact on a historic culture and people.”

“When the Aspen Institute was established more than 70 years ago, the arts were foundational,” said Elliot Gerson, Executive Vice President. “Our celebration of the humanities help us illuminate our commitment to shared human values. Our partner, Aspen Institute Kyiv, has since its founding in 2015 been dedicated to building a strong democracy in Ukraine, based on those common values. As Ukraine faces the existential threat of Russian aggression, few things convey what is at stake – to them, to us and to the world – with more power and passion than the work of Ukrainian artists. “

All of the art on display has been created since the start of the ​Russian invasion into Ukraine, save for two paintings by Maria Prymachenko — for which this exhibit is named. During the first weeks of the war Russian troops destroyed the museum where dozens of her works were kept. Maria Prymachenko (1909-1997) is one of the most prominent self-taught artists in Europe. Her works have been recognized by UNESCO, praised by Picasso, and she is an icon of Ukrainian art and culture. In 2022, a Prymachenko painting was included in the Venice Biennale’s main exhibition.  This exhibition marks the American debut of the two Prymachenko paintings at the Aspen Institute. “Bird,” which resides in the United States, has only been shown in Toronto, Canada in 2007-2008. “Beast of War” had not left Ukraine in its fifty years of existence until recently. 

Another key piece in the exhibition is a large-scale painting “The Uncertainty” by Olena Naumenko, who created this work after fleeing to Poland as a refugee, to save her daughter from war.  The exhibition also includes a collection of war diaries. Kinder Album and Danylo Movchan from Lviv and Igor Gusev from Odessa present sketches reflecting their observations of the war and its impact. 

The exhibit is presented in partnership with Aspen Institute Kyiv, a member of the Aspen Institute International Network. Founded in 2015, the organization engages leaders of business and government, academics, journalists, artists and civil activists into a meaningful dialogue through seminars, policy meetings, and public conferences. Since Russia’s invasion, Aspen Kyiv has continued its vital work in support of a free and independent Ukraine. Executive Director Yuliya Tychkivska appeared at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer, discussing her and her colleagues’ experience leaving Ukraine as refugees, while her husband and male colleagues remained to fight.

“Ukraine’s fight for independence and territorial integrity caused a new wave of contemplations about eternal universal values and the complicated dialectic of life and death.” said Yuliya Tychkivska, Executive Director of Aspen Institute Kyiv. “In all historical eras, art has had its own language, which showed the context of human existence.  The sphere of artistic practice is a catalyst for reflective processes that show pain and suffering, but at the same time allow Ukrainians not to lose hope, show courage, and build a future.”

At a time when Ukrainian art and existence is threatened, the Aspen Institute invites the public to see Ukrainian culture and events through artists’ eyes. This exhibit continues the Institute’s historic engagement with the arts as a platform for dialogue and social change. 

General Information: The exhibition is free and scheduled to run through October. ​ It will be held in the Stranahan room of the Koch building on the Aspen Meadows campus. Members of the public are invited to visit between 10:00am-4:00pm MT on Monday-Friday; please check in at the reception desk of the Paepcke Building for assistance with directions or access to the room or call 970-925-7010. 

Media Resources: Images of the exhibit are available here, photo credit Tony Prikryl.

For any questions, please contact Danielle Baussan, [email protected] or Jonathon Price, [email protected]

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The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

The Aspen Institute Kyiv is an independent nonpartisan organization that supports values-based leadership, promotes a culture of dialogue and creates opportunities for the exchange of ideas.  It is a part of the Aspen Institute’s International Partners who are on the front lines to spark intellectual inquiry and respond to the need for civil discourse in their societies. Since 1974, the Aspen Institute has inspired 12 international partner organizations in 15 countries: Central Europe (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia), France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Romania, Spain, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom.

 

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