UIMA Mission Statement
The Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art preserves and promotes contemporary art as an expression of the Ukrainian and American experience. Established as a primary venue for the exhibition and study of modern and contemporary Ukrainian art outside Ukraine, UIMA’s collection encompasses a half century of art, which is brought to life through exhibitions, concerts, readings, lectures and films.
To leave home and start a new life in an unfamiliar place is at the core of the immigrant experience. For the artist, there is much to process—new cultures, colors, forms, sensations, and environments, all different from those left behind. New roots form atop old ones, and the past never strays far from reach. Since the beginning of the 20th century, more than five
million Ukrainians have emigrated from their homes in Ukraine, Poland, and Russia to settle abroad.
Then as now, artists have been among the most vibrant and vital figures of emigre society. The permanent collection of the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art traces their experience. It highlights work by artists whose careers extend far beyond today’s Ukraine to global capitals of modern and contemporary art like Paris, New York, and Chicago. Included in the collection is the work of Europe’s first cubist sculptor, Alexander Archipenko, and avant-garde artists Alexis Gritchenko and Mychajlo Andreenko, who fled Ukraine for France during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. The next generation of emigre artists left under German and Soviet occupation between 1939 and 1945. In this circle were renowned New York printmaker Jacques Hnizdovsky and the painter Jurij Solovij. Also part of this wave of new refugees were Konstantin Milonadis and Mychajlo Urban. As students of the Art Institute of Chicago, they adapted the traditions of Ukrainian modernism to American minimal and abstract art.
These and other Chicago artists rented a Ukrainian Village store to hold their first exhibition in 1959, and helped found the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in 1971. With the help of Achilles and Vera Chreptowsky and other patrons, and with curator Wasyl Kacurovsky, they later purchased and remodeled the building where the Institute stands today. At a time when Soviet rule in Ukraine offered few artistic freedoms, the Institute gave Ukrainian artists a forum for creativity and experimentation. At the height of the Cold War, artists and community members established a space that remains to this day the main venue for the exhibition and study of Ukrainian art outside Ukraine. The selection of works exhibited here from the collection of the Institute encompasses a half century of art. In sections devoted to
landscapes real and imagined, figure and form, color and structure, memory and myth, it highlights the diversity, imagination, creativity, and prospects of Ukrainian artistic life abroad.
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• Stanislav Grezdo - Curator
• Andriy Hudzan - Administrator