The Salon of Romanian-American Artists Opens with “House of Mirrors”
Updated: Jan 24
HOUSE OF MIRRORS
Artists: Ioanida Costache, Noche Crist, Megan Dominescu, Serban Ionescu, books by Saul Steinberg
Curated by Adriana Blidaru
October 14 - December 16, 2022
The exhibition takes the idea of the traditional fun maze, often present at funfairs and amusement parks, to explore the construction of identity as the result of purposeful artifice and embedded beliefs, and to challenge the grounds upon which this is built.
The five artists in the exhibition, while from different generations, relate to one another through their interest in how selfhood is constructed, misshapen, and remodeled through idealized and refined concepts such as nationality, history, and personal memory. Together, they shape the exhibition into a sensual and virtual space, where subconscious narratives and fragmented reminiscences unravel a dream-like scenario.
"House of Mirrors" is the opening exhibition of "The Salon of Romanian-American Artists”, Romanian Cultural Institute’s newest permanent program in New York. The Salon has been designed as a platform for Romanian artists living in the U.S. or for American artists of Romanian background through a major annual event.
Ioanida Costache (b. 1990, U.S.) is a violinist, multi-media artist, and scholar. She hails from Milwaukie, Oregon, where her parents landed after immigrating from Bucharest, Romania. Ioanida completed her PhD in ethno/musicology at Stanford University in 2021. Currently, she is a postdoctoral fellow in the humanities at the University of Pennsylvania. Her scholarly work and art explore issues of race and ethnicity, performance/construction of identity, cultural memory, trauma, and history as they are refracted in sound.
Noche Crist (b. 1909, RO - d. 2004, U.S.) is a Romanian-born, self-taught artist, who is known for her acrylic paintings on wooden panels and shaped transparent polyester resin sculptures. In 1947 she moved to Washington, D.C., where she worked as an artist and writer, and where she co-founded Gallery 10. Crist became a legendary figure on the D.C. art scene for her storytelling and entertaining. Many of her works referenced her life in Romania, reminiscent of her childhood at her family's country estate outside Bucharest, but also tap into dream-like scenes where bodies of bare-breasted women, often with animal heads, appear as mythical creatures in her cosmology. In 1995, the Washington Project for the Arts, held a 50 years retrospective of Crist’s work, and in 2008 she had another retrospective at the Katzen Arts Center. Crist’s work is part of multiple international collections, including The Art Museum of Craiova in Romania. Her estate is represented by Gallery 2112 in Washington, D.C.
Megan Dominescu (b. 1997, NL) is a visual artist living and working in Bucharest, Romania. She graduated from the Department of Painting at the National University of the Arts, Bucharest. Born in the Netherlands to Romanian and American parents, Megan grew up in Washington, D.C., and later moved to Bucharest, Romania. Megan’s clashing background is a strong inspiration in her practice. Megan’s work is focused on observing and documenting the absurd and celebrating the bizarre. Megan is represented by Anca Poterașu Gallery in Bucharest. She is a member of the artist collective MOXA20 in and is one half of the DJ duo Miss Clitoral.
Serban Ionescu (b. 1984, RO) was raised in New York City, and currently lives between New York and Brussels. Ionescu’s work spans across sculpture, painting, design and architecture. With his distinctive lines which emerge from his drawing practice, vibrant use of color and cartoonish gestures, Ionescu infuses his works with anthropomorphic shapes and a constant intuitive play on shifting scale and form. Ionescu has presented solo shows in New York at R & Company, Larrie, and in Europe with a debut exhibition in Antwerp, Belgium, at Everyday Gallery. He received his B.Arch from Pratt Institute and he has been an adjunct professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s School Of Architecture from 2010-2016. His work has been published in The New York Times, Dwell, Wallpaper, Apartamento, Elle Decor and Architectural Digest.
Saul Steinberg (b.1914, RO - d. 1999, U.S.) was a Romanian-born American artist renowned for the covers and drawings that appeared in The New Yorker for nearly six decades. He was equally acclaimed for the drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures he exhibited internationally in galleries and museums. Steinberg studied philosophy and letters at the University of Bucharest and then architecture in Milan. He got his first real taste of anti-Semitism was during his years in high school, where he took a full range of courses in academic subjects and languages (French, German, Latin, and Greek). At the University of Bucharest, where he enrolled in 1932, anti-Semitism was even more prevalent. Having been rejected by the university’s school of architecture because he was Jewish, he went to Milan. In 1941, he fled Fascist Italy and by 1942 arrived in New York. Steinberg’s subject matter ranged from the whimsical to the satirical to the philosophical. He made no distinction between high and low art, which he freely conflated in an oeuvre that is stylistically diverse yet consistent in-depth and visual imagination. Several important museums have in-depth collections of his work, and examples are included in the holdings of more than eighty other public collections. After Steinberg's death, The Saul Steinberg Foundation was established in accordance with the artist's will.
Adriana Blidaru (b. 1989, RO) is the founding editor and curator of the curatorial platform Living Content in New York and has previously worked with Residency Unlimited, Swiss Institute, Rutgers University, Hessel Museum, Wendy’s Subway, ICP, Judd Foundation, and P!, amongst other international institutions and galleries. She curated three shows that are currently on view: “Fire Sermon” at PUBLIC, London (up until 05.11.2022) “Cassandra Complex” at basis e.V., Frankfurt (up until 04.12.2022), and “Unconditional Lover” at afterhours, Paris (up until 22.10.2022). She writes regularly for Cura Magazine, and has previously contributed to Flash Art, Kaleidoscope, Brooklyn Rail, Revista Arta and others.
Opening event (October 14, 2022)
© Photos by Johnny Vacar
Works featured in the exhibition
© Photos by Jason Mandella
Electronic sound piece:"triphony" (2022) by Ioanida Costache
List of works: