INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITS ON DISPLAY THROUGH THE SUMMER
BY EILEEN PERSIKE
This is the summer of the 31st Olympiad; a time when the world and its cultures come together in competition – this year in Brazil. While on a somewhat less grand scale, ArtStart Rhinelander is hosting an international event of its own this summer.
The gallery has secured two major art collections which will be on display through the summer. The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis and Finlandia University Gallery in Hancock, Michigan have both, for the first time, loaned out their artwork.
“These exhibitions are quite a coup for us because the Russian Museum of Art is a high end museum and this is the first time they have lent out their collection,” said Laura Ehmann. “Finlandia University Gallery has never loaned their collection, either.”
A nice first for a small gallery in Rhinelander, but what does it actually take to secure a collection? Plain and simple, Ehmann said, she asks.
“I just ask,” she said with a laugh. “We are getting some amazing exhibitions for next year just by asking.”
Not all asks are answered, but many are. The generosity of the collectors is why ArtStart is successful in getting the variety of exhibits the do. Ehmann said she is “pleasantly surprised” when they pieces fall into place.
According to the curator of the Russian Museum of Art, Maria Zavialova, Ph.D., artistic styles in the Soviet era reflected “highly variable degrees of revolutionary idealism as well as conformism and non-conformism.” The government allowed artistic expression and experimentation up until the mid 1930s when the state began to exercise control over all forms of art. Stahlin imposed a “systemic artistic standard defined as Socialist Realism” which limited creative expression in the Soviet Union until the 1980s. The exhibit is cosponsored by Ministry Health Care and WJFW.
Across the hall is the collection of modern art from the Finlandia University Gallery. The contrast in styles leads to questions about any sort of connection. And while ArtStart often has two completely different exhibits, Ehmann said there is a small link between these two.
“The common theme is a collection of two prestigious galleries,” she suggested. “The countries may not like each other, but geographically, they are close.”
The Finlandia gallery features the work of contemporary Finnish, Finnish-American and American artists. Preserving, promoting, and celebrating Finnish and Finnish American cultural history and contemporary society lies at the heart of Finlandia University, according to a promotional article. The exhibit is cosponsored by the Mary Kinnunen Memorial Fund and Ponsse.
ArtStart is open through the construction, with parking across the street, behind McDonalds. The Russian Museum of art is located at 5500 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis, Minn. Finlandia University Gallery is at 435 Quincy Street in Hancock, Mich. There will be a Gallery Talk & Reception July 30 at 6 p.m. featuring Dr. Masha Zavialova, who will discuss Russian art.