NEW YORK.- The new facility of The Ukrainian Museum in New York City will open on April 3, 2005, with the inaugural exhibition Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity, consisting of some 65 sculptures and sculpto-paintings of one of the 20th century's most innovative and influential artists.
The majority of the works are from the collection of Frances Archipenko Gray, the artist's widow. Other works come from a number of private collections and museums, including the Brooklyn Museum, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Yale University Art Gallery.
Alexander Archipenko: The subject of the new Ukrainian Museum's inaugural exhibition is Alexander Archipenko (1887-1964), one of the 20th century's leading and most innovative sculptors.
Archipenko was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, where he studied painting and sculpture at the Kyiv Art Institute until 1905. The following year, he moved to Moscow, where he participated in exhibitions and where he was exposed to a large exhibition of French art at the Golden Fleece Salon of 1908. Later that year he relocated to Paris, then in the throes of an artistic revolution led by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.
Archipenko quickly established a reputation for brilliant innovation. His exploration of convex/concave forms, volume/space transference, the reintroduction of color to sculpture, his mixed-media constructions, and his invention of sculpto-painting solidified his reputation as the most important sculptor of the time. Archipenko's position was validated by an exhibition of his works at the 1920 Venice biennale, then the highest honor accorded a living artist.
In 1921 Archipenko moved to Berlin, where he opened an art school and also began experimenting with naturalism. The same year, he married the sculptor Angelica Bruno-Schmitz.
In 1923 Archipenko moved to the United States, where he remained for the rest of his life. In 1929 he purchased a stone quarry in Bearsville, New York, which became his home, studio, and art school.
In his forty-year career in America, Archipenko traveled widely. He taught in numerous colleges and universities from coast to coast, opened an art school in Los Angeles in 1935, and in 1937 taught at the New Bauhaus in Chicago. He participated in such seminal exhibitions as the Museum of Modern Art's Cubism and Abstract Art, curated by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., in 1936. He continued to create such celebrated works as Torso in Space (1935).
Archipenko also pursued his innovations in America. In 1927 he was granted a patent for his invention entitled Archipentura, a motorized structure that allowed painted images to move. He experimented with new materials like formica and bakelite. In his works in Plexiglas from the 1940s, he also experimented with illumination.
In the 1950s, Archipenko's most important and productive period since his Paris years, he returned to sculpto-paintings in which he used the new materials. His masterpiece from this period is the sculpto-painting Cleopatra (1957), the artist's largest work in this medium. During these years he was represented by the Perls Gallery.