NEW YORK – Artists have an incredible gift for taking even the most horrific events in history and creating new ways of seeing them. The thoughtful and thought-provoking works on display in Apocalypse: Then and Now offer a powerful expression of the artist’s gift. On view at the The Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 860 11th Avenue in Manhattan, this impressive, emotionally-charged exhibition opened on February 13 and runs through April 5. Curated by Dr. Thalia Vrachopoulos, the exhibition, as noted in the description, “reflects sinister omens for the future as seen in our daily life and reported news.
“In a world overwhelmed with wars, instability, and violence, the earth is exceedingly threatened by nuclear catastrophe. In response to these circumstances, the participating artists confront and examine the issue of nuclear extinction. At a time when nuclear threat is sharply increasing from North Korea, China, Russia, and the Middle East, the possibility of a holocaust has threatened widespread destruction and the eventual collapse of civilization. In this scenario, large portions of the earth would become uninhabitable due to radioactivity and fallout, the destruction of cities and their infrastructures, lack of sanitation, nuclear firestorms, widespread radiation sickness, the loss of electricity, and the failure of communications. In general, a nuclear winter would ensue. This radioactive winter has been predicted by scientists such as Alan Robock, who stated that it would be lasting and actually bring the modern world to an end. Extinction would follow as a result of societal fragmentation, environmental consequences, and, in general, economic and social collapse.
“All the artists in this exhibition have produced works on the subject of nuclear war in the hopes of preserving future generations and preventing a holocaust. They have sought to awaken the public to a threat that is unseen yet imminent. About a year ago, we experienced nuclear threats from North Korea. Today, it is China, and there’s always the possibility of a nuclear explosion arising from conflict in the Middle East. Living conditions for large portions of world populations have become untenable, and for the whole world, a nuclear winter is a probability–unless we embrace accountability.
“Artists Terry Ownby, Goro Nakamura, and Jessie Boylan have photographed past disasters, such as the one that occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine, 1996;and in Fukushima, 2011; Tokaimura, 1997; and Three Mile Island, 1979. Elin O’Hara-Slavick, David McMillan, Takashi Arai, Isao Hashimoto, Vincent Parisot, and Hiroshi Sunari are interested in showing the results of nuclear fallout at such test sites as Los Alamos, Hanford, Rocky Flats, Techa River, Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, and Lake Karachay.
“Panos Charalambides and Mary Chairetaki use references from various civil defense publications that are relics of the cold war era. Thus, they add to their art an authoritative power, brought about by their use of a bizarrely detached and unfeeling approach toward the life-threatening event of an imminent nuclear war. Kazuma Obara, Nick Moore, Dominick Lombardi, Michael McKeown, and Eirini Linardaki allude to nuclear catastrophe through more general art frameworks rather than depicting specific events.”
Linardaki spoke to The National Herald about the exhibition, pointing out the unique, timely theme and international aspect of the show which includes her husband, French artist Vincent Parisot, and her fellow Greek artists Chairetaki and Charalambides.
More information is available by email: [email protected], by phone:212-237-1439, and online: shivagallery.org. Gallery Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 AM-6 PM.
Red forest, digital print, by Vincent Parisot, 2018, is among the works on display. Photo by Eleni Sakellis