Baseball guru Yogi Berra once opined: “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Julius Valiunas’ “Artifacts From The Future” cut through time and space to directly expose the viewer to expressive truths via multi-media work. From his earliest innovations as a New York City art worker in the 80s and 90s to the present moment of creating what he refers to as “Country Canvas” paintings on salvaged metal roofing, Valiunas continues to express …
His “Artifacts” exhibition traced the paths Valiunas took from producing pieces at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and from Brooklyn to Berlin, Vilnius and Amsterdam to back to the Catskills. This included his never-seen-before paintings on floor and wall mounted scavenged car hoods, as well as photography and sculpture fusing the 2nd dimension with the 3rd. From pastel drawings, oil & acrylic on canvas to surreal backdrop examples from his time as action painter with a theater group traveling Europe and New York’s Lower East Side, Valiunas is an original. (One critic for the Munich Volkskrant newspaper called his set designs the expressions of “a semi-abstract poet”).
Born in the 1950s, the son of a Lithuanian diplomat instrumental in the struggle for Baltic independence, Valiunas was raised in the suburbs of New York City. Valiunas and a generation of unsung artists honed their attitude outrage against nuclear arms buildup, the ravaging of apartheid and US policy in Latin America and the Middle East into their geo-political art. Issues exploded from their work, but it seldom found its way to the walls of major galleries and museums.
One of the most prolific of this contemporary school, Valiunas is an artist whose commitment to social causes found him managing new alternative spaces in which to present a range of painting, sculpture and performance. In SOHO he co-founded the artists collaborative “10 on 8.” Across the East River he helped form the Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition (BWAC). Another iconoclastic group was SCUD, which performed as a post-surreal improvisational art entourage. In one never-seen-before (or since) scene in the late 80’s, they art-bombed the opening of the New York Metropolitan’s Vatican collection by offering an alt. show in a mobile gallery of artifacts removed by the Holy See censors (artifacts of anatomy before the fig leafs, e.g.).
Currently working in triptych format on his “Country” canvases with paint & tar, inspired by outsider artists like the Gullah painter Sam Doyle, Valiunas manipulates them as set pieces on found barn metal like Sam would do. Thus the title of this retrospective envisions reflections from the past passing onto the future, inspiring viewers in the present moment.
~ Hank Rosenfeld – Ghostwriter/Folk Journalist/Radioman/Mediatrician©
Julius Valiunas Bio/Resume
This time capsule collection of concert photos from the late 60’s into the early 70’s reflect the time and age of “peace & love.” It seems that after 50 years these images need to be seen in the light of day, here in the cradle of Woodstock Nation. Some of these portraits are now posthumous; Jerry Garcia, Alvin Lee, Johnny Winter etc. but others like the exhibitionist Sha Na Na Doo-Wop band are still going strong today. The camera is a 35mm single reflex and the film Kodachrome positive slide film.
This Blast from the Past collection will be presented in a variety of signed, limited edition fine art archival prints.
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2019 In Situ, June 2019 , Narrowsburg, NY
2016 Artifacts from the Future, Nutshell Arts Center, Lake Huntington, NY
1994 Essential Signage, The Bridge-Alternative Art Space, Brooklyn, NY
92-93 Is This Rotten or Wonderfully Brave, One Main Street Installation Space, Brooklyn
91 Constructive Ambiguity, Ridge Street Gallery, NYC
The Oil & Water Show, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn
89 Free To Pay, The Gas Station/Space 2B, NYC
War, Peace & Victory, Sculpture Exhibition, Memorial Arch, Brooklyn
82 The Milwaukee Polaroid-ColorXerox-C-Print-Map Pictorial, Milwaukee Airport, Wisconsin
81 Geopolitical Cartography, 10 on 8, NYC
Selected Group Exhibitions
94 Recycling with Imagination: Art from Detritus, Metro Regional Center, Portland, Oregon
Pier Show 11, Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition
93 The Death: Born in the USA, Lithuanian Museum of Art, Chicago, IL
Works on Paper, Kentler International Drawing Space
91 Why War, B 4 Art Gallery
Elements of Drawing, Ammo Exhibition Space
90 Selections, 55 Mercer Street Gallery
The Decade Show, The Studio Museum of Harlem
89 Topical Rainforest Shows 1&2, Red Square Gallery, NYC
88 Making Waves, Prospect Park Boathouse
87 Concrete Crisis, Exit Art Gallery
86 Feminists & Misogynists Together At Last, Center for Contemporary Art, Seattle WA
The Corporate Lobby Show, Mokotoff Gallery
85 State of the Union-State of the Mind, Judson Memorial Church
84 Alternative Aesthetic, ABC, NO RIO
Artist Call, L.E.S.S. Space, P.S. 122
83 Preparing for War, Terminal Show
Ritz Show, COLAB PROJECT, Washington DC
82 Down and Out of New York, Wake Forest University, N. Carolina
81 Monumental Show, Gowanus Artyard
81/83 Mapped Art: Charts, Routes, Regions, USA Tour
78 Bobsband Collaborative Series, 10 on 8
73/74 Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Museum Exhibitions