THE POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE NEW YORK
and MORE ART
ABRAHAM LINCOLN: WAR VETERAN PROJECTION
Artist’s Talk, November 1, 2012
New York University
Installation, November 8 – December 9, 2012
Union Square Park, New York City
New York, October 24, 2012
– The Polish Cultural Institute New York and More Art are proud to present
Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection – a major new public art installation by
Krzysztof Wodiczko, one of Poland’s most celebrated contemporary artists.
Beginning November 8, 2012, voices of recent veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will animate a bronze commemorative statue of Abraham Lincoln that has stood silently
in Union Square since 1870. The memories and feelings of ordinary Americans will speak through Lincoln as part of an outdoor public art installation by Krzysztof Wodiczko, an artist renowned for his large-scale light projections
on architectural facades and monuments. Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection marks a return of sorts to Manhattan for the artist, whose last monumental work here was the influential and still often cited
Homeless Project (1988).
“As our troops withdraw from Afghanistan, this commemorative statue, commissioned just a few years after the Civil War, again becomes a place for dialogue about war,” says
Micaela Martegani, founding director of More Art, an eight-year-old organization devoted to bringing new and innovative works of art into public spaces in New York City.
In preparation for
Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection, Wodiczko interviewed approximately thirty veterans and their family members over the course of several months,
taping conversations about their war experiences and the toll of duty on their family life. It will be these points of view, presented in each person’s own words, voice, and gestures, that will be projected in sound and light onto the figure of Lincoln.
This is a continuation of Wodiczko’s exploration of veterans’ issues. Since 2008, using similar techniques, Wodiczko created several installations addressing this topic, most recently the
The Veterans Project (2010) at the ICA in Boston also in collaboration with the Polish Cultural Institute.
"Although these testimonies defy easy characterization, Wodiczko sees the parallels between the experiences of often estranged, neglected and traumatized US war veterans today
and of those who survived the carnage of the Civil War, and the project draws a bold connection to Lincoln who, as president, presided over the nation’s bloodiest conflict, and who, as captain, (though not serving in combat) witnessed atrocities during the
Black Hawk War. This striking work of contemporary art is certain to be a ‘happening,’ and will reinvigorate interest and give new meaning to this historical civic monument, causing New Yorkers to stop and reflect on our history and its consequences,” concludes
The project will be presented in Union Square – the site of some of the largest activist gatherings in American history since 1861, when thousands descended on the square to
show support for the Union cause, as part of a war that would end up taking the lives of over a half million Americans. More recently Union Square was the gathering place for peaceful protests against the 2003 Iraq War, as well as a place of healing after
the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
In conjunction with
Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection, More Art will present a panel discussion at New York University titled “War, Trauma and Public Art” on November 1, 2012. Along with Krzysztof Wodiczko, participants will include
Rosalyn Deutsche (Barnard College, Columbia University), an art historian who has written on the relationship between art, architecture, and urban planning;
Joseph Ledoux (NYU), a neuroscientist who studies the effect of trauma on the brain; and
Paul Riekhoff, a veteran and the Executive Director and Founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
Carol Becker, author and Dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University will be the moderator.
A related curriculum is being designed for Manhattan’s 7th and 8th grade students, focusing on American history as part of their required course of study.
Krzysztof Wodiczko (b. 1943 in Warsaw, Poland) is internationally renowned for his large-scale
slide and video projections on architectural facades and monuments. Since the late 1980s, he has developed a series of objects that he calls "nomadic instruments" for homeless and immigrant operators that function as implements for survival, communication,
empowerment, and healing.
In the last decade, Wodiczko has produced more than eighty public projections on four continents. Since 1985, he has been honored with a number of major retrospectives at such
institutions as the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum Sztuki, Łódź; Fundacio Tapies, Barcelona; Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford; and the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. He has represented both Canada and Poland at the Venice Biennale. He
is currently a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Cambridge, Massachusetts where he directs the Art, Design and Public Domain program; before coming to Harvard, he was a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and
visiting professor at many prestigious schools, including École National Supérieure des Beaux Arts, California Institute of the Arts, and Cooper Union School of Art in New York. His major awards include the Hiroshima Prize "for his contribution to the world
peace"; the Georgy Kepes Prize at MIT; the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture; the Katarzyna Kobro Prize; the Gloria Artis medal from the Polish Ministry of Culture; and More Art's own “Feed More Art to the World” Award.
His major monograph
Krzysztof Wodiczko was published in 2011 while his new book Abolition of War
was just released. He is represented by Galerie Lelong.
Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection was made possible by public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural
Affairs in partnership with The City Council, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Galerie Lelong, A Blade of Grass, individual donors. The project was made possible by generous support from The Polish Cultural Institute New York and by the special assistance
of the City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation and the MFA Photography, Video and Related Media Department at the School of Visual Arts. Special thanks to Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, Studio PASS and The Union Square Partnership.
Collaborating Veterans Organizations are: Coalition for the Homeless, Cornell University - Program for Anxiety and Trauma Stress Studies, CUNY - Office of Veterans Affairs,
ECAD - Educated Canine Assistance Dog Program, Emotional Freedom Technique - Jondi Whitis, HonorVet.org, Hope for the Warriors, Housing and Services Inc., Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University, IAVA - Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Intersections
International, North Shore LIJ - Ways to Give Foundation, Phoenix House of New York, Inc., Services for the UnderServed, Inc, Shining Services Worldwide, SWAN - Service Women's Action Network, UWVC - United War Veterans Council Inc., Veterans Mental Health
Coalition of NYC, Warrior Writers, Wounded Warrior Project
The panel discussion titled “War, Trauma and Public Art” is presented by More Art in collaboration with New York University.
firstname.lastname@example.org or Paulina Bebecka,
212.239.7300 ext. 3011
Abraham Lincoln: War Veteran Projection – outdoor public installation
WHEN: Nov 8 – Dec 9, 2012
WHERE: Union Square Park, New York, NY
ADMISSION: Free and open to the public.
Subway L, N, Q, R, 4, 5, 6, to 14st-Union Sq; M14A, M14D, M1, M2, M3 bus to Union Sq.
War, Trauma and Public Art – panel discussion
Krzysztof Wodiczko, Rosalyn Deutsche (Barnard College, Columbia University);
Joseph Ledoux (NYU); and Paul Riekhoff, (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
Carol Becker, (Dean of the School of the Arts at Columbia University) will be the moderator.
WHEN: Nov 1, 2012, 7:00-9:00pm
WHERE: New York University, Barney Building, Einstein Auditorium, 34
Stuyvesant Street, New York, NY
Subway 6 to Astor Place and N,R to 8 Street-NYU.
ADMISSION: Free and open to the public.
The POLISH CULTURAL INSTITUTE NEW YORK, established in 2000, is a diplomatic mission
to the United States serving under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland.
The Institute’s mission is to build, nurture and promote cultural ties between the United States and Poland by presenting Polish culture to American audiences and by connecting Polish artists and scholars to American institutions, introducing them to their
professional counterparts in the United States, and facilitating their participation in contemporary American culture.
The Institute has been producing and promoting a broad range of cultural events in theater, music, film, literature, the humanities, and visual arts. Among its American partners are such distinguished organizations as Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts;
Brooklyn Academy of Music; The Museum of Modern Art; The Jewish Museum; The PEN American Center; The Poetry Society of America; National Gallery of Art; Yale University; Columbia University; Princeton University; Harvard Film Archive; CUNY Graduate Center;
Julliard School of Music; The New Museum; La MaMa E.T.C.; and many more. Our programs have included American presentations of works by such luminaries as filmmakers Roman Polanski, Andrzej Wajda and Jerzy Skolimowski; writers Czesław Miłosz , Adam Zagajewski
and Wisława Szymborska; composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Witold Lutosławski and Mikołaj Górecki; theatre directors Krystian Lupa, Jerzy Grotowski, Tadeusz Kantor and Grzegorz Jarzyna; visual artists Alina Szapocznikow, Katarzyna Kozyra, Artur Żmijewski; and
many other important artists, writers, historians, scholars, musicians, and performers.
More Art is a non-profit organization based in New York since 2004, connecting the public with renowned contemporary artists, focusing on innovative public art projects in unconventional
spaces and ongoing school partnerships that give students the opportunity to engage with artists. All of the projects are subsequently exhibited in galleries, outdoor venues, and museums. More Art works with artists who have a sincere interest in the paradoxes
of this city. The organization helps develop programs that represent a variety of media and aesthetics and is primarily concerned with involving people who, due to ethnic, social or economic barriers, have limited access to the arts resources in the city.
The Union Square Partnership
(USP) is a private, not-for-profit, community-based organization responsible for the revitalization of the 14th Street-Union Square neighborhood. USP’s mission is to improve the quality-of-life
for the district’s residents, businesses, and visitors, by providing public safety, sanitation, marketing and business development services, as well as investing in the beautification and maintenance of Union Square Park. USP also conducts a host of free events
for the public, including volunteer days, networking opportunities and “Summer in the Square,” a weekly event series in the park.
NYC Department of Parks & Recreation Art in the Parks Program
The City of New York’s Department of Parks & Recreation Art in the Parks program has consistently fostered the creation and installation of temporary public art in parks throughout the five boroughs. Since 1967, collaborations with arts organizations
and artists have produced hundreds of public art projects in New York City parks.