In 1971 the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art was founded in Chicago by a doctor, two artists, and a misfit group of volunteers. This is their story.
Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art presents The First Lions - a feature documentary by On The Real Film. The First Lions uncovers the history of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art’s founding in 1971 in Chicago and the Institute's early years. Exploring the stories of Ukrainian-American artists working in modern and contemporary art methods in post-WWII Chicago, The First Lions follows the handful of founding members still living and utilizes archival photographs, films and documents. The film serves as a time capsule for the oral histories of the aging founders, as well as a catalyst for new conversations and research of Ukrainian-American art in Chicago. The First Lions is co-directed by Erin Babbin and Michael Sullivan of On The Real Film.
Join us for the premiere of the film, followed by a Q&A with select cast and crew along with snacks from the Ukrainian Village neighborhood and a cash bar. Doors open at 6pm, screening at 7pm, reception and Q&A at 8:30pm. RSVP here
This film is produced in conjunction with LIONS: Founding Years of UIMA in Chicago - a featured exhibition of Art Design Chicago, co-curated by Stanislav Grezdo and Robin Dluzen at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago. In this exhibition artworks by the Institute’s Ukrainian emigre founders are supplemented with selections from UIMA’s extensive collection of ephemera, including vintage posters, archival photographs, video interviews with founding members, and early notes, sketches, and letters. These items from the Institute’s archive have never before been publicly displayed. LIONS aims to showcase the unique spirit of UIMA’s founders, which continues to contribute to the character of the Ukrainian Village neighborhood and Chicago’s art history at large. Alongside the innovations, the excitement, and the artistic endeavors, LIONS also addresses the trials that accompany being a visible immigrant community in the United States. The items in the archive are over 45 years old, but the discussions of immigrant identity and heritage are just as resonant today.
The First Lions film is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The First Lions film is funded in part by the Terra Foundation for American Art and The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation
In 1971 the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art was founded in Chicago by a doctor, two artists, and a misfit group of volunteers. This is their story.
Sunday, July 8th, 2018
Lakshmi Ramgopal: Maali Performance (1:30pm); Reinterpreting Religion Artist Talk and Catalog Release (2:00pm)
Lakshmi Ramgopal, joined by violinist Lucy Little, gives a performance that activates Maalai, her installation in Reinterpreting Religion, integrating sound, performance art, and dance to produce a ritual that explores sacrilege and gender identity within a Hindu context.
Following the performance, Ramgopal and the other Chicago-based artists of Reinterpreting Religion—Yvette Mayorga, Roni Packer, and Rhonda Wheatley—will participate in a discussion about their artistic practices and will read excerpts from the newly released exhibition catalog that highlight their perspectives on contemporary religion. This discussion will be moderated by curator, Lauren Leving.
In his new book Chernobyl: The History of a Nuclear Catastrophe, Serhii Plokhy, acclaimed historian and writer describes the gripping account of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Plokhy provides the story of the Chernobyl crisis and its aftermath, utilizing Communist party, government and KGB security police archival materials that were made available after Ukraine’s 2014 revolution. Plokhy’s most insightful chapters deal with the political fallout. Attempts by Moscow to downplay design flaws in the reactor and to make scapegoats of a handful of managers and operators failed to reassure public opinion in a new era of open discussion. Chernobyl, Plokhy writes, 'ended one era and initiated another'. The disaster proved an impetus to both Ukrainian independence and the end of the Soviet Union
Join us as we explore and honor the memory of the Chernobyl tragedy with the book presentation by Dr. Serhii Plokhy on Sunday, June 10th, at 1 pm.
Q&A with the author, book signing and light reception will follow the presentation.
"Pravytsya," an ethno-jazz band from Ukraine, puts a modern spin on traditional folk songs, sung for hundreds of years across the various regions of Ukraine. They are performing for the first time in the United States on Friday, June 8th, 7pm, at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art.
Featuring performers Marta Lubchyk (vocals), Myroslava Saliy (vocals), Bohdan Reshetilov (piano), and Nazar Stets (bass)
May 26th, 7pm
UIMA will host Oksana Mukha in a charitable concert to benefit Revived Soldiers, Ukraine.
Revived Soldiers Ukraine, is a 501(C)(3) not-for-profit organization that helps severely wounded Ukrainian soldiers receive advanced medical care in the U.S. and acquires rehabilitation equipment to provide appropriate and affordable medical care, to improve the quality of life.
Join us for this charity concert and enjoy an amazing performance by Oksana Mukha, a renowned singer from Lviv, Ukraine.
All proceeds will go to Revived Soldiers Ukraine. The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art is pleased to help Revived Soldiers Ukraine and be part of this very important effort.
Admission: $30, purchase tickets HERE
Friday, May 25, 2018, 7PM
Presentation and Book Signing with Jaroslaw Martyniuk
From the author's experience of spying from the air for US Army intelligence in the mid-sixties to his special work of coordinating undercover research with Soviets in Europe, Martyniuk recollects a most extraordinary life that begins in Ukraine during WWII and ends with his conquest of Switzerland's highest peak in mid-August 1991, the same week the Soviet Union imploded.
The book focuses on the author’s life and intelligence work in Paris, France, focusing on his involvement in gathering information about the Soviet Union, which provided the US Government with unique insights about the life of average citizens in the Soviet Union and helped the White House to shape strategy in dealing with Soviet leaders. The narrative, told in 40 vignettes, covers a fifty-year span of the author's life from his escape from the Red Army juggernaut to his upbringing and life in Chicago, and in 1979 his fortuitous appointment as an administrator-diplomat in Paris, France.
In addition to an autobiographical account and European travelogue (he visited every country on the European continent) the memoir contains reflections on history, politics, economics, philosophy, art and architecture. The book also explores leitmotifs such as the meaning of freedom, synchronicity, luck, survival, mountains and the impact of political correctness on free speech and liberty.
Saturday, May 12, 12 – 5pm at the National Museum of Mexican Art
For Art Design Chicago Neighborhood Day, UIMA presents a contemporary fiber arts demonstration with Ukrainian-American, Chicago-based artist Lialia Kuchma. The artist has been integrally involved with the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art since before its founding in 1971, and continues to be an active leader in the artistic programming of the museum. Kuchma is also featured largely in UIMA's ADC projects, "The First Lions," a documentary film about the museum's founding and trajectory within Chicago's art history, and the exhibition, "LIONS: Founding Years of UIMA in Chicago," which will open in August 2018.
Kuchma will be creating a small-scale tapestry at Art Design Chicago Neighborhood Day on a portable 28" x 40" loom. This particular tapestry is also linked to Kuchma's printmaking practice, and so her original etching will be on display, as well as the "cartoon" behind the warp that illustrates what the final product will look like. Visitors will be able to watch as Kuchma weaves from the reverse side, using tabby: an over-and-under weave.
Friday, May 4, 2018, 7:00 pm
The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art together with Razom for Ukraine, Canada-Ukraine International Assistance Fund and Kyiv Mohyla Foundation of America invite you to the Chicago premiere of the documentary film, Invisible Battalion.
Produced and filmed by women, Invisible Battalion, is the first full length Ukrainian documentary film about women’s participation in ATO military operations in Ukraine. The film follows six women as they are fighting the war against Russia and explores the challenges they’ve faced over the course of their service, from evacuating casualties, to recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, to reintegrating into civilian life. These six heroines represent a much larger group of Ukrainian women in combatant units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, calling attention to stereotypes, gender discrimination and the combatant struggle for recognition and compensation on par with men who serve.
Come and see this Chicago premiere and meet the heroines, directors and producer of this riveting Ukrainian documentary film subtitled in English.
A Q&A session will follow the documentary film.
Tickets available here
View the official trailer here
Saturday, April 28, 7:00 pm
Olena Hirna and Linda Camp, two acclaimed Chicago area musicians in recital, performing Elgar, Bach, Beethoven, Revutskyj, Dan'kevych, Stepovyj, Kosenko, Stankovych and more. This performance is a part of an ongoing project presenting less known pieces of Ukrainian composers to a contemporary audience.
Friday, April 27, 2018, 7:30pm
Acclaimed author, screenwriter and poet Iren Rozdobudko has not only mastered the art of reader suspense, but has cultivated across her works a deep writer-reader-character bond in the most effortless of ways. The protagonists featured in her works are endowed with normal, human traits inherent in all of us readers, but the distinguishing factor which separates them from the general public is a sincere authenticity among interpersonal relationships and the sympathies which they portray to the world.
Rozdobudko was born in Donetsk and studied journalism at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. Her post-grad years were spent working different jobs in radio broadcasting and journalism. It was only in the 80s that she began to speak in Ukrainian--a decision that would spark the start of a blossoming writing career in the early 2000s.
Many of her novels have received awards at the international literary contest "Coronation of the Word," which takes place every year in Ukraine. The taut psychological thriller "The Lost Button" took first place in 2005.
"Dewed Flowers are Thrown Away," "Everything I Wanted Today," "I Know That You Know That I Know," "Twelve..." and "Here and Now" are among the works to which readers have responded most enthusiastically. "The Swallow Has Arrived" is the most recent of her published works--a literary masterpiece dedicated to Ukrainian composer and choral conductor Mykola Leontovich.
Rozdobudko's cinematic career launched in 2008, with a combined eight movies and shows having appeared on screens worldwide. The author has also immersed herself in academia, bringing up the next generation of talented, forward-thinking producers.
April 21st, 2018, 5:30
After the collapse of the USSR Ukraine faced a decade of significant social change. Since the late 1980s, and particularly after the independence of Ukraine in 1991, with the disappearance of censorship, a whole new generation of writers had emerged, among them Stepan Protsiuk.
Due to increased freedoms and the openness of Ukrainian society to foreign influences, and exposure to literature of other countries, writers began exploring previously forbidden topics such as the forced famine of the 1930s, sexuality, drugs, the darker sides of human life, while employing new writing styles such as postmodernism and neo avant-garde, using profanity, mixing genres, and reflecting on social problems. These elements are found in Protsiuk’s writing as he is considered one of the most controversial intellectuals of contemporary Ukraine. A multi-award-nominated laureate, Protsiuk has authored close to 15 works of literature. His most celebrated pieces include “Romance,” “Sacrifice,” “Totem,” and his renowned collection of essays — “Tightrope Walkers.” In 2010, “The Rose of Ritual Pain” was published as one of the first attempts of serious artistic-psychological comprehension of Vasyl Stefanyk’s figure as a human being and creator. Shortly thereafter, “Under the Wings of the Great Mother” was published. The most recent of the author’s works is “The Grass Cannot Die,” whose moving themes led to the creation of a short film in Ukraine.
The prose in which Protsiuk writes is often not easy, stringing words and thoughts together in a manner that warrants a close, scrutinized reading. Protsiuk has more than once received the criticism of being too much of a naturalist, subject to accusation of excessive openness. He has maneuvered his oeuvre of works into one that both pushes the limits of experimentation and novelty, while simultaneously resting on a profound appreciation of tradition. A few of the writer’s works have been translated to languages including Polish, German, Russian and Azerbaijani.
Presentation in Ukrainian
Investing Millions in Ukraine's Future: A Transformative American Experiment
Sponsored by Chicago Business & Professional Group
Jaroslawa Johnson, President and CEO of the Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF), and Roman Tychkivskyy, WNISEF's economic leadership program manager, will discuss the equity fund's trade/export activities in Ukraine as well as its sponsorship of the Ukraine House at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January. Additionally, the two executives will review the various WNISEF-sponsored education programs that are helping to prepare Ukraine's youth for leadership roles in their country. The Western NIS Enterprise Fund was established by the U.S. Congress in 1994 and funded by the U.S. government via the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID).
Martin Hurtig began his professional training at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1952. In 1955, he studied at the Atelier 17 in Paris. In 1957, Hurtig received a Master’s degree, also from the Institute of Design in Chicago. Hurtig has presented his works extensively, with national exhibitions such as the Detroit Institute of Arts, Portland Museum, Maine, and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Hawaii to name a few. He has also exhibited on the international stage, with shows including the Bibliotheque National, Paris, France, Osaka Triennale, Osaka, Japan. He received numerous commissions for his sculptural murals, including from the Waukegan Public Library, Waukegan, IL; the National Republic Bank, Chicago; and a stained glass window and wall mural at the Union Church of Lake Bluff, IL. He also curated a number of exhibitions, including Sight/Insightat the Suburban Fine Arts Center, Highland Park, IL, and Chicago-Paris Abstract Affinities at the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago. In the late 60s and early 70s, Hurtig struggled against the dominance of “Imagism” in Chicago, forming with Larry Solomon, a group committed primarily to abstraction called “The Five,” which also included Ted Argeropolis, Larry Booth, and Vera Klement.
In an essay on Hurtig’s one person show Enigmatic Relation at the Columbia College Chicago Art Gallery, art historian Sue Taylor thoughtfully observed: “Poignant and beautiful, Hurtig’s images are like dancers in an existential ballet. They spring from a rigorous and fully formed aesthetic, and draw their power from a profoundly empathic human spirit.”
Corey Postiglione, a Chicago-based artist, writer and Professor Emeritus of Art History and Critical Theory at Columbia College Chicago, wrote: “Hurtig has maintained a certain aesthetic position that runs through his entire oeuvre. In fact, he has adhered to two main concepts over the last 50 years of art making: his unflagging commitment to abstraction, and his need to speak visually in a non-regional voice. Art, for Hurtig, was its own domain, to be appreciated on its own terms, in its own language of the visual. His work from the beginning of his career embraced an art that operated from a more formal or conceptual base.”
Be–longing: Proximity, Sweat, and Duration is an ongoing project that plays with, and performs within, the ontological mess that belonging interjects into the attempt to stabilize identity. It is a series of gestures that use the idea of belonging to dislodge you and me from the political forces that language, performance, and façades have on our unconscious. Is there a place to build one’s identity that exists between speaking and listening?
Image: Matthew Metzger, The Be-longing Project (The Shell, both halves), 2018, acrylic and oil on panel, size contingent on installation
Guest Speaker: David Satter