September 20, 2015 - Austrian Cultural Forum New York (ACFNY) - Fall 2015 exhibitions
September 20, 2015

Fall 2015 exhibitions

Brigitte Kowanz Muzeon. Design: studio-vie.net.

Erich Lessing & Andrew Mezvinsky
The Jewish Museum Vienna on 52nd Street

September 30, 2015–January 3, 2016

Opening: September 29, 6–8pm

Austrian Cultural Forum New York
11 East 52nd Street
New York

T +(212) 319 5300 

www.acfny.org
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Artists: Erich Lessing, Andrew Mezvinsky
Curators: Hannah Lessing, Danielle Spera

The Austrian Cultural Forum New York is pleased to announce two exhibitions touring from the Jewish Museum Vienna: Lessing Presents Lessing, featuring works by noted photographer Erich Lessing, curated by his daughter Hannah Lessing; and A Good Day, a multimedia installation by Andrew Mezvinsky, based on Primo Levi‘s account of survival in Auschwitz. Titled The Jewish Museum Vienna on 52nd Street, the two shows offer intimate insights into Austrian Jewish life past and present, serving as a platform for discussion, experience and confrontation. Lessing and Mezvinsky’s work, on display in one exhibition, is a vital symbol of the ongoing, thriving cultural bridge building between Austria and the U.S.

With their work, both artists embrace generations, cultures, and traditions but claim very distinct artistic positions. Andrew Mezvinsky is a young Jewish-American artist who was born in Philadelphia; having traveled the world, he chose the city of Vienna to be his centre of life and creative work in 2010. Erich Lessing fled Vienna for Palestine in 1939, leaving behind his mother and grandmother, who were destined for a Nazi concentration camp. Lessing returned to Vienna in 1945 to become one of the most important Austrian and international photographers, as well as a photojournalist for the Associated Press in 1947, a full member of Magnum Photos, and a chronicler of the 1956 Hungarian Uprising against Soviet occupation.

Erich Lessing achieved renown through his candid pictures of major political moments of his day, with his documentation of the signing of the Austrian State Treaty now serving as the iconic symbol of the reformation of Austria as a sovereign state after World War II. His famous portrait subjects included the likes of Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Foster Dulles, Konrad Adenauer and Charles de Gaulle. From the 1960s on, he turned his focus to the arts, notably serving as on-set photographer for The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015.

By contrast, Andrew Mezvinsky’s work A Good Day contemplates a single day in Auschwitz in 1944. Inspired by the Jewish-Italian Holocaust survivor Primo Levi’s autobiography If This Is a Man, Mezvinsky depicts Levi’s traumatic experiences in the concentration camp, including a chapter titled “A Good Day,” which describes a day at the end of winter when the first rays of sun heralded a relief from the cold.

Mezvinsky creates series of drawings, reminiscent of fairy tales, or even the figures of Commedia dell’Arte, which he then brings to life in animation. What initially appear as idyllic scenes reveal themselves to be poisoned—arising to depict one of the darkest moments in the history of Europe as the Third Reich expands. Mezvinsky approaches the agony of Auschwitz from various perspectives, addressing the yearning for normalcy in the savage reality of an extermination camp, and reflecting on the basic conditions for human survival. His interacting multimedia exhibition, consisting of an animation film and a series of drawings, also provide an interactive component, symbolizing liberation and an interminable will to survive. 

On their passage through the main gallery of the ACFNY, visitors will have direct influence on the numerous interactive elements in the exhibition as motion detectors control the brightness of the room or influence the scenery in Mezvinsky’s drawings. 

Press kit available at: www.acfny.org/jewishmuseum


Media contacts
Katharina Luger: kluger [​at​] acfny.org / T +(212) 319 5300 x 78
Andy Cushman: ac [​at​] 8op.us / T +(917) 744 4042

Fall 2015 exhibitions at Austrian Cultural Forum New York
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