Morality and Mass Media: Ben Shahn and the Art of Journalism
This is the fifteen-year commemoration of the historic Dialogue: Prague / Los Angeles show of 1989-1990 that defied Communist sanctions and presaged the final dissolution of communist Czechoslovakia. A multi-venue exhibition taking place in Los Angeles and Prague, Certain Traces celebrates the achievement of the original project, as it extends the original concept to explore the meaning of creative discourse for a diverse group of artists from Los Angeles and Prague in a newly defined open society. In 1989 twelve Czech artists risked official sanction to take part in an artist exchange with twelve Los Angeles counterparts. Dialogue opened just three months prior to the massive public demonstrations in Prague that set off the final collapse of communism. The exhibition attracted hundreds of visitors daily and was later proclaimed a harbinger of change and a “miracle of free expression.”
Fifteen years have brought significant change to the political and cultural landscape in both countries, yet the basic notion that inspired the first exhibition—that a creative discourse in the arts might rise above national borders to promote artistic innovation, mutual understanding, and amity—remains unchanged. This is the point of departure for Certain Traces: Dialogue Los Angeles / Prague 2004.
The artists at other venues include: Kim Abeles (USA), Lynn Aldrich (USA), Deborah Aschheim (USA), Barbara Benish (USA/CZ), Erika Bornová (CZ), Jiri Cernicky (CZ), Tomas Cisarovsky (CZ), Habib Kheradyar (USA), Jan Jakub Kotik (USA/CZ), Alena Kotzmannova (CZ), Karl Matson (USA +), Leland Means (USA), Jan Merta (CZ), Vladimir Merta (CZ), Christian Mounger (USA), Petr Nikl (CZ), Tomas Ruller (CZ), Štepánka Šimlová (CZ), Margita Titlova (CZ), Marnie Weber (USA), Alexis Weidig (USA), and Liz Young (USA). Other venues in the Los Angeles area include: Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery; Post Gallery; Sam Francis Gallery, Crossroads School; Czech Front Gallery; and S.C.A.P.E., Corona del Mar. Organized by Barbara Benish with curator Sarah Brock in Prague, the exhibition will open in November 2004 in Prague.