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Word and Image Gallery Exhibit Opening – Joseph Kurhajec
June 1, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Joseph Kurhajec (Paris, France) is a Wisconsin-born sculptor currently living in France. Kurhajec’s international exhibitions began in the early 1960s with the Allan Stone Gallery, New York; Galleria Etrusculudens Rome, Italy; Art 6’75, Basel, Switzerland; “Ten Independents,” Guggenheim Museum; Gallery Alexander Monet, Brussels, Belgium; Galerie Caroline Corre, Paris, France; The Chech Museum of Fine Art, Czech Republic, Gallery Pelegro, New Orleans, LA; and Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY. The Whitney Museum of American Art exhibited Kurhajec’s sculpture in the 1964 Annual Exhibition and in “Young America 1965”. In 1961, after receiving his MA in Studio Art at the University of Wisconsin, Kurhajec lived in Merida (Yucatan), Mexico, for two months to study Mayan culture and its powerful visual imagery. Returning to Racine, Wisconsin, he opened his own gallery, The New Generation, where he exhibited his first fetish sculptures, human images wrapped and bound, which he called “mummified art.” The Whitney Museum of American Art exhibited Kurhajec’s sculpture in the 1964 Biennial Exhibition and in “Young America 1965.” As Associate Curator of the Whitney Museum at that time, it was the writer’s pleasure to select the Kurhajec works for those exhibitions. In 1976 Kurhajec created his largest and most abstract works to date: monumental geometric sculptures juxtaposing massive black sheets of steel with enormous blocks of carrara marble still retaining parallel grooves from having been quarried. These were effectively exhibited in the Piazza Rondanini in Rome. Significant to his recent work is Kurhajec’s personal and professional move from Italy to France, where he has become very interested in l’art brut, avidly studying the large collection established by Jean Dubuffet and the Compagnie de l’Art Brut. Kurhajec’s work is collected and exhibited worldwide, in private and public collections.