The Salon of Romanian-American Artists, 2nd Edition
NOW EXTENDED THROUGH JANUARY 19, 2024!
The second iteration of our annual Salon of Romanian-American Artists presents a paradigmatic display of paintings and sculptures by five artists, Ana Popescu, Irina Alimanestianu, Leonard Ursachi, Mitzura Salgian, and Radu Serban, who derive inspiration from the complex interplay between dream and reality, seen as a source of both self-discovery and creativity. The diverse body of work that makes up the exhibition showcases the vibrancy and artistic relevance of the Romanian artists living and working in the U.S., whose experiences and memories of the old country interweave with the cultural and historical contexts of the adopted home to create potent creative expressions that narrate a transformative journey toward a new identity, personal and artistic.
The exhibition is co-curated by Francesca Popescu Ife and runs at the Institute’s Brâncuşi Gallery from October 5 through November 10, 2023.
THE SALON OF THE ROMANIAN-AMERICAN ARTISTS is a permanent program of the Romanian Cultural Institute in New York, launched in 2022, which aims to promote the works of contemporary American artists of Romanian origin and showcase the creative vitality of the Romanian-American artistic community.
BETWEEN DREAMS & REALITIES:
A JOURNEY THROUGH PAINTING AND SCULPTURE
Featuring: Ana Popescu, Irina Alimanestianu, Leonard Ursachi, Mitzura Salgian, Radu Serban
October 5 - November 10, 2023
Opening: Thursday, October 5, 2023 | 6-8 PM
Romanian Cultural Institute
200 East 38th Street, New York City, NY 10016
Gallery Hours: 9am - 5pm, Monday - Friday
"You might be aware of the Romanian Cultural Institute on East 38th Street and the art gallery on the second floor named for the groundbreaking Romanian sculptor Constantin Brancusi. But, if you aren’t, it is worth your time to check out the current show of Romanian-American artists, titled Between Dreams and Realities: A Journey Through Painting and Sculpture." - Michael Wolf, ArtFuse
MEET THE ARTISTS:
ANA POPESCU (b. 1988) is a Romanian-American multi-disciplinary emerging artist currently living in Providence, Rhode Island. After receiving her BFA from Pratt Institute, Ana co-founded an immersive underground event company in NYC where, under the moniker A. Pop, she would design and produce site-specific art installations, and curate a roster of local performance artists for each thematic event. She continued to grow her production career from there, leading large-scale high-profile branded productions across the US for various prominent advertising agencies in NYC. As one welcomed the outcome of the pandemic, Ana has been able to hone in on her fine art practice. She was awarded the Friends of Arrowmont Scholarship in 2022, the Trudy and Henry Gillette Sculpture Scholarship for the 148th Regular Session at the Art Students League of New York, a summer residency at Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts in 2023, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Ceramics at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has exhibited works across NYC, Bucharest, and London.
IRINA ALIMANESTIANU was born in Nyack, NY, and raised in New York, Switzerland, and France. Irina holds a BFA from New York University, an MBA from Columbia University, and an MFA from Claremont Graduate University. In 2019 her work was on view at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, NY for the triennial show “Artists Choose Artists”. She has been featured in shows such as “LA Current: 3 Generations of LA Artists”, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, CA, a solo show at Kravets/Wehby Gallery, New York, NY, “3-D Painting” curated by David Pagel at the Peggy Phelps Gallery, Claremont, CA, and “Continental Drift” curated by Shana Nys Dambrot at CMay Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. She currently works in New York City and Southampton NY.
LEONARD URSACHI was born in Vaslui, Romania during the Communist era. He began his Fine Art studies at university in Bucharest and, after defecting to France, continued at the Sorbonne in Paris, where he lived and exhibited his work for several years. Ursachi then left Paris, making his way to Brooklyn, New York via Toronto. He has lived and worked in New York since 1987. Bunkers dotted the Romanian landscape of the artist’s youth, most of which were erected under Communism when it was illegal to leave the country. Many of Ursachi’s sculptures are in the form of bunkers or contain recesses that reference the bunker embrasures from which soldiers shoot. But his bunkers – human-scale, woven of willow or covered in feathers – allude not to war, but to a longing for refuge from the bunker mentality that can exist anywhere. Ursachi’s large-scale bunker sculpture, “Fat Boy“, is now on view in Dumbo, Brooklyn, sponsored by Dumbo BID and the New York Department of Transportation. While its form is based on a classical Western cherub or Cupid, its title references the WWII atomic bombs, Little Boy and Fat Man. “Fat Boy“ was commissioned by the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where it was exhibited between 2013 and 2014. It was later shown in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, under the aegis of NYC Parks and the Prospect Park Alliance. Ursachi has exhibited internationally, including a solo show in 2008 at MNAC, Romania’s National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest. Elisabeth Sussman, curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, has called his work “thought-provoking and quite moving … dealing with an important aspect of our culture and … both sensitive and intelligent.“
MITZURA SALGIAN is an American artist of Romanian-Armenian origin. Born to professional artist parents, Mitzura was encouraged to draw and paint at an early age. As a teenager Mitzura felt a revealing connection to the marvelous, enigmatic, and often disturbing explorations of Surrealism, which she continuously cherished and enriched with her own vision, based on automatic, often archetypal, and mysteriously romantic imagery, well into the traditional technique of the Old Masters. Educated in her native city of Bucharest, Romania, Mitzura received a Master of Arts degree from the Institute of Fine Arts. Soon after graduation she moved to the US and established her permanent residence in New York. Mitzura’s paintings have been widely exhibited in group shows in places like the National Arts Club, Salmagundi Club, the Museum of American Illustration, New York University Washington Square East Gallery, Nina’s Choice Gallery in Bergdorf Goodman, all in New York; the New Britain Museum of American Art, in Connecticut; the Butler Institute of American Art and the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio; Bennington Center for the Arts in Vermont; Trenton City Museum, New Jersey; Attleboro Arts Museum, Massachusetts; the Museum of Texas Tech University, Texas; Huntsville Museum of Art, Alabama; Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History, Virginia; World Bank Auditorium, Washington, DC; Maison Andre Breton, Saint-Cirq Lapopie, France. A longtime Member of the Allied Artists of America, Mitzura has been the President of this organization from 2017 to 2021 and is now a member of its Presidential Advisory Committee. Mitzura is an Honorary Member of the Salmagundi Club and an Elected Member of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Arts Club. She lives and works in Queens, New York.
RADU SERBAN, PhD, Emeritus AIA, was born in 1943 in Bucharest, Romania, into a family of artists. He started to paint in his childhood. Formally educated as an architect, his complex personality and native gifts allowed him to intertwine his two passions resulting as a successful practicing architect and an acclaimed painter. To fulfill his creative aspirations, in 1974 he chose to work for a while in Algeria, then moved to Paris. In 1982 he settled in New York, a place he dreamt of reaching since his childhood. A realist artist, Radu's “tableaux“ seek new ways to evolve his favored “oils“ medium in significant applications with palette knives to yield unique textures and beautiful life-like colors in new post-impressionistic images. A demand for his images of New York City and countryside locations are juxtaposed with his sophisticated cityscapes of London, Paris, and other European destinations thus appealing to collectors worldwide. Radu’s art was shown in Manhattan’s Soho and Roosevelt Island, in Washington DC, London, Bucharest, Pleasantville, Piermont, Tappan, Nyack, and Sparkill. In the past decade, the unique domains of the Rockefeller Park Preserve natural landmark in Westchester offered him idyllic geographic resources filled with deep meanings. Radu Serban earned his Architecture and Urban Planning Diploma as well as Ph.D. title from “Ion Mincu” University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest, Romania, and attended Courses in Italian Art and Architecture at the Universita per gli Stranieri in Perugia, Italy. In the early ‘80s, before moving to New York, as in a real workshop, Radu’s Paris experience enriched his artistic and architectural background. He received the Design Award of the Masonry Institute of Maryland and awards from the Romanian Union of Architects, as well as painting awards from different art organizations. He was a member of the Advisory Board of the International Architectural Preservation Foundation “Pro Patrimonio”, aimed at supporting the architectural landmarks of Romania. Besides being an Emeritus Member of the American Institute of Architects, he is also a member of Uniunea Arhitecților din România. Radu Serban has his studio in Tappan, close to the Hudson River and not far from Manhattan, oscillating in between these two environments which became indispensable to his lifestyle.
MEET THE CURATOR:
FRANCESCA POPESCU IFE is originally from San Francisco, CA, and moved to New York City at eighteen to pursue a degree in fashion design from FIT. She emerged in the fashion industry as a denim designer collaborating with some of the leading retailers in the country. After 10 years in the industry, she decided to transition into the art world and pursued a master’s in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art. After completing the master’s program, Francesca launched her own curatorial and art advisory business, FPI Art Initiative, which combines her love for art and design. The FPI (Francesca Popescu Ife) Art Initiative is a curatorial business that focuses on creating pop-up exhibitions featuring emerging and mid-career artists from countries that are not as widely represented in New York or other major art markets. The foundation of this company is to form partnerships with real estate, hospitality, and public venues to host curated pop-up exhibitions throughout New York City and the Hamptons with future goals to expand nationally. Being a liaison of intersecting art, design, and real estate, FPI will create new possibilities for the artists to be exposed, for collectors to buy exclusive works of art, and for real estate firms to expand their scope of promoting development projects and listings. FPI also forms partnerships with international cultural institutes in NYC to source new artists and curate shows for embassies and cultural institutes. During a show in September 2023, FPI collaborated with a luxury condo development in Chelsea and brought in 3 Romanian-based women artists who were found through the Romanian Cultural Institute.
PHOTO GALLERY | EXHIBITION OPENING
Photo credit: Estefany Perez