Past events

Dreams & Memories: Jan Sawka, Coast to Coast: An online symposium celebrating two exhibitions of work by Jan Sawka

Saturday, May 2, 2020, at 1:00pm


The Kosciuszko Foundation Recommends: 

"Dreams & Memories: Jan Sawka, Coast to Coast:

An ONLINE SYMPOSIUM celebrating two exhibitions of work by Jan Sawka"

Saturday, May 2, 2020 @ 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. CEST

ACCESS SYMPOSIUM HERE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C08YLOwj80Q

Go to the link where you will see the countdown to the date and time of the symposium tomorrow, May 2 at 1 pm EST

Log in with your Gmail/ Google account to the YouTube channel. On the right-hand side on top of the page, you will see the chat window where you are encouraged to ask questions to the presenters during and after their talks (for 7 min after)

Panelists: Hanna Sawka (Jan Sawka's widow), exhibition curators, Hanna Maria Sawka, MFA (Jan Sawka's daughter) and Dr. Frank Boyer, as well as Ksenia Nouril, PhD., Dr. Peter Schwenger, Dr. Tom Wolf, Beth Wilson, M. Phil, Peter Frank, M.A., and Dr. Sławomir Magala

In the time of COVID-19, when our world is practicing social distancing, itself a form of displacement, the work of Jan Sawka is especially prescient and moving. Sawka's works dealing with the longing for freedom, coupled with the deep empathy and sense of loss that only exile can bring, express an expansive sense of the beauty that hope, art, and nature make available to human beings.

Separated by the whole of the country, two university art museums currently exhibiting the work of the late artist have joined together to present a symposium on his profoundly touching and, ultimately, humane work.  In early February The Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art (RAFFMA) at Cal State San Bernardino opened an exhibition featuring works dealing with his dream of the West, tempered by its problematic promises, titled "Golden West? Jan Sawka's California Dream", which is currently on view online. Almost simultaneously, the Samuel Dorsky Museum at SUNY New Paltz opened a thematic show titled, "Jan Sawka: The Place of Memory (The Memory of Place)" which is on view about memory and the places through which a human life passes. The exhibitions opened to critical and public enthusiasm, and full programs of events were planned for each institution throughout the run. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic both museums were closed to visitors in mid-March.

The staff of both museums, together with the exhibition curators, have partnered to create an online symposium, which will take place on May 2nd at 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. CEST, also announced by Hyperallergic. Viewers from around the world will be able to join in as symposium speakers consider Jan Sawka's life and achievement – and the connection of his career and art with California and New York – from several points of view, including the biographical, the historical, the technical, and the personal – yielding a composite portrait of this protean and visionary artist. After each presentation, viewers will be able to engage with any or all of the speakers over live Q&A chats.

Presenters from The Dorsky are Dr. Ksenia Nouril the Jensen Bryan Curator at The Print Center, Philadelphia, Dr. Peter Schwenger cultural critic and Resident Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism at the University of Western Ontario, Canada, Dr. Tom Wolf Professor of Art History at Bard College, and Beth Wilson, M.Phil art critic and Art History Lecturer at SUNY New Paltz.

Presenters from RAFFMA are Peter Frank, M.A., art critic and a curator, Hanna Sawka (Jan Sawka's widow), Dr. Sławomir Magala, and the exhibition co-curators Hanna Maria Sawka, MFA and Dr. Frank Boyer.

Jan Sawka (1946-2012) was a visual artist, painter, printmaker, graphic artist, set designer, and architect. Already known internationally as a member of the Polish School of the Poster, he was exiled from Poland in 1976 and settled in New York City with his family in 1977, where he illustrated commentary for the Op-Ed page of the New York Times and designed graphics and sets for Off-Broadway theaters, as well as launching a successful gallery career as a painter. In 1989, he designed a monumental art-installation for the Grateful Dead's 25th Anniversary tour.  He won major awards including the "Oscar de la Peinture" and "Special Prize of the President of France" at the International Festival of Painting in Cagnes-sur-Mer in 1975, the Japanese Cultural Agency Award (1994), a Gold Medal in Multimedia at the 2003 Florence Biennial of Contemporary Art, and the "Excellence in Architecture Award" from the American Institute of Architects (2010). Learn more at jansawka.com.

Symposium is organized by the Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum of Art at California State University San Bernardino, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art (SDMA) in SUNY New Paltz, and Hanna Maria Sawka MFA, in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute New York, and supported by The Kościuszko Foundation, the SUNY New Paltz Foundation Inc., and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Los Angeles.


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