Help us to raise money for an important program and collect valuable art at a discount!
Romas Viesulas was a three-time Guggenheim Fellow, artist–in-residence at the U.S. Pavilion at the 35th Venice Biennale in 1970, and one of the first artists invited to be invited to inaugurate the Tamarind Printmaking Workshop in Los Angeles in 1960. As an educator, he taught over three decades at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia and was the dean of Tyler in Rome, Italy until his death in 1986. Brandywine will host an exhibit of his most innovative prints and a series of master printer- led workshops for high school students and free public programs this fall.
Viesulas created the lithograph Olympics at the Brandywine Workshop in 1984. It was the very last imprint that he made. It is valued at $800.00.
A number of this signed, limited edition lithographic print are being placed on sale to raise funds in support of programming associated with Brandywine’s celebration in Philadelphia of the 100th anniversary of Viesulas’ birth and in recognition of his many contributions to art and the artists in the community where he taught.
The lithograph was created to mark the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, a sporting event that showcased both the promise of Olympic ideals, and simultaneously the ways in which Cold War ideology eclipsed these ideals. Fourteen Eastern bloc countries, led by the USSR, boycotted the Games of 1984, in symbolic retaliation for the US-led boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. For Viesulas, an artist whose experience of exile from Soviet-occupied Lithuania framed his artistic career, this political game of tit-for-tat was a singular event. In the abstracted elements of the Olympic torch represented here, the beacon becomes instead a conflagration of youthful ambition and ancient calendar rites held aloft on a crutch. An upended roller skate, pre-Colombian sundials evoke the symbol of the Olympic rings, while the whole ensemble is suggestive of Lady Liberty’s torch. Here however, it is ablaze with the frustrated ambitions of athletes from both sides of the Iron Curtain, and redolent of our long history of repression of the human spirit by politics and ideology.
A survey of his innovative prints will be exhibited at Brandywine’s Printed Image Gallery, October 17, 2018-January 6, 2019.