September 17 – October 29, 2021
Author: Viorel Florescu
Where: Brâncuși Gallery (Romanian Cultural Institute, 200 East 38th Street, New York 10016, NY)
When: September 17 - October 29, 2021
A labor of love a long time in the making, our new exhibition space, Brâncuși Gallery, created as part of last year’s major renovation works and named after the greatest Romanian artist, was inaugurated on September 17, 2021 with the first retrospective of two-time Pulitzer winner VIOREL FLORESCU, one of the most celebrated photojournalists among New York press of the past decades.
Entitled RECOLLECTIVE and presented in partnership with Howland Cultural Center, Beacon NY (co-curator: Anda Onesa-Lieberman) and the Bronx Documentary Center, the exhibition brings together some of the artist’s most haunting images, captured with insatiable curiosity and a keen eye for the tragic irony of life, which unfolds itself in conflict zones and dangerous places in Haiti, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Russia immediately after the collapse of the USSR, Romania during the 1989 Revolution, and New York during the 9/11 attacks.
The event marked the relaunch of in-person programs at the RCI (with the mandatory health security protocols), on Friday, September 17, 2021 with a reception followed by an Artist Talk and Dialogue with Dorian Branea, Director of RCI, and photojournalist Jon Naso, former Photo Editor at the The Record (NJ), NY Daily News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
About the exhibition:
“Recollective” is a visual exploration of over five decades of intricate and evocative images by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner international photojournalist Viorel Florescu. Throughout his career, Florescu has directly confronted the zeitgeist with provocative works that tell truths as he has ventured on a courageous journey documenting humanity and our times with his camera and curiosity - not being afraid to depict a wide range of human moments.
In this exhibition of over 60 photographs - some from the early years, depicting scenes from his beloved homeland, Romania, plus many historical events, portraits of real people affected by huge life experiences, and peculiar urban life stories - are also included images of conflict zones, often distressing and violent documentary photographs from across the world. Overall, scenes beautiful and disturbing unfold as Florescu finds the truth beyond the visible and the tangible.
About the artist:
VIOREL FLORESCU was born in 1949 in Sighișoara, Romania, emigrating to the United States at age 30, where he landed his first newspaper job at The Connecticut Post. Since that time, he has covered hundreds of major news stories but always gravitated toward documenting the plight of human beings caught helplessly between forces struggling for political power. His images have been published in Life, Time, Newsweek, New York Newsday, LA Times, NY Times, NY Daily News, numerous international newspapers, and magazines.
Florescu’s vivid portraits are a judicious, on-the-spot examination of ourselves, often jarring the historical political memory of events. His photographs have been published worldwide, and he’s been witness to a world of change. His photography has chronicled lives and loss, creating visual narrations of place - like Bangladesh between disasters, child soldiers fighting in Colombia, Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Florescu witnessed the health care disaster following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the Revolution in Romania, Palestinian Intifada, the war in former Yugoslavia, the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, the conflict in Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, the building of the post-9/11 New Freedom Tower NYC, and covered numerous local issues, sports, and events.
While at New York Newsday, Viorel Florescu received a World Press Award for documenting
Haiti’s first free elections that tragically ended with a massacre at a polling station in Port au
Prince, in 1987, followed by two Pulitzer Prizes, the first in 1992 as a member of a reporting and photography team covering first the Manhattan subway crash, and again in 1997 for coverage of the TWA flight 800 disaster on Long Island. He was honored with a third Overseas Press Club award in 1994, for work documenting the Haitian military coup d’état and the subsequent US intervention there.
In May 2020, Viorel just finished working, as a staff photographer with The Record in New Jersey. Currently, Mr. Florescu is dedicated to writing and curating for a book of his photographs.
More about Viorel Florescu:
Dialogue with Viorel Florescu & Photojournalist Jon Naso (video-recording)
Info Balkans (interview)