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Exhibition “Shaping the Future: Environments by Aleksandra Kasuba” at the National Gallery of Art

On March 26 the National Gallery of Art opens with the exhibition “Shaping the Future: Environments by Aleksandra Kasuba”. This exhibition presents, for the first time, the creative heritage of the visionary Lithuanian American environmental artist Aleksandra Fledžinskaitė-Kašubienė-Kasuba (1923–2019), spanning seven decades of her work (1942–2019). The Lewben Art Foundation is one of the sponsors of the exhibition.

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Exhibition “Shaping the Future: Environments by Aleksandra Kasuba” at the National Gallery of Art (photo by G. Grigenaitė)

The core of the exhibition consists of works gifted by the artist to the Lithuanian National Museum of Art and a collection of 8,000 digital images, which is supplemented by Kasuba's works on paper held at the Archives of American Art of the Smithsonian Institution (USA) as well as documents and objects that belonged to the Zubov counts and the Fledžinskas family from the holdings of Šiauliai Aušros Museum. Two works created specifically for this exhibition are also displayed: a slide projection by Vytenis Jankūnas documenting the artist's works in public spaces in the United States of America and a computer game based on Kasuba's book Utility for the Soul (1970-1975) developed by Weekend Warriors Studio. 

Due to a confluence of historical circumstances, in her art Kasuba blended the ethical and cultural traditions of Lithuanian manor owners of the late nineteenth century and the first independent Republic of Lithuania (1918-1940) with New York's democratically rebellious energy of the second half of the twentieth century, open to innovation and experiments.

Constructed chronologically, the exhibition presents and juxtaposes Kasuba's applied, experimental, and hybrid art, her design and architecture practices, and her theoretical insights-her consistently developed vision of sustainable architecture as a social instrument, shelters without right angles. To emphasize the tenacity and universality of these aims, the title of Kasuba's first solo exhibition Shaping the Future, which took place at the Esther M. Klein Gallery of the University City Science Center in Philadelphia in 1989, has been adapted as the title of the current exhibition. The artist is presented by the name of Kasuba, which she used while living in the USA and by which she is known on the international art scene.

The exhibition is centered around a reconstruction of Kasuba's first tensile-fabric environment without right angles (1970), inside which her last videowork F1 and F2 Elsewhere (2018) is screened, and a motif of three houses--living spaces that were particularly important throughout the creative career of the artist who wanted to become an architect. The first is Ginkūnai Manor, the house of her grandparents, the Zubovs, and her parents, the Fledžinskases; the family was ordered to leave the house in 24 hours when the Soviets occupied Lithuania in 1940. In the studio of the second house near Central Park in Manhattan, New York, to which she moved with her family in 1963, Kasuba installed her tensile-fabric Live-In Environment open to the public (1971-1972). The last house is Rock Hill House (2001-2005), located in New Mexico, with a residential house and a guest unit, which was built using her original K-method for membrane hardening. The artist lived there until 2012.  

This unique narrative, which has no analogues in the development of Lithuanian Modernism in its continuity and fulfillment of visionary endeavors, illustrates the artist's persuasion that "creative development is determined only by the artist's personal decisions and efforts, no matter in what regime he or she might live."

 

Exhibition curator – Elona Lubytė
Architects: Rokas Kilčiauskas and Aleksandras Kavaliauskas
Graphic designer – Laura Grigaliūnaitė
Project partners: Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Lithuanian Culture Institute, Vilnius Academy of Arts
The project is financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture
Project sponsors: Lewben Art Foundation, Art Fund, INTI
Media sponsor – JCDecaux

New artwork in the collection – "Untitled (City Wall market scene)" by Charles Avery New artworks in the collection – photographs by Laura Garbštienė
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