- Miracle at Zakynthos (2014-2018)
Miracle at Zakynthos is the untold story of the only Greek Jewish community to survive in its entirety from annihilation during the Holocaust in Greece. When instructed by the Nazi commander to submit a list of all the Jews on the island, the mayor, Loukas Carrer, and his friend Bishop Chrysostomos submitted a list with only two names – their own. Their courageous actions led Yad Vashem in Jerusalem to include them in the “Righteous Among Nations.” The Foundation obtained survivor video testimonies from Yad Vashem and the Shoah Visual History Foundation. These oral histories provide the historical background and help develop the narrative structure for the book, published in 2014, translated into Greek in 2016, and scheduled for development into a motion picture in 2018.
- Zsolnay Exhibit/Zsolnay Art Pottery,The Gyugyi Collection (2009)
Cultural Exchange Foundation organized the Zsolnay exhibition at the Forbes Gallery in New York in January, 2009. The exhibition featured 167 Art Nouveau ceramic pieces from the Laszlo Gyugyi collection, one of the largest and finest collections of Zsolnay in the world. The exhibition coincided with the yearlong celebration of Hungarian culture, organized by the Hungarian Cultural Center and the Hungarian Ministry of Culture. This magnificent collection spans Zsolnay’s heyday, from the 1870s to the 1920s and represents every major artist, style, form, and glaze technique. Many of the pieces are unique prototypes that were produced for display at world’s fairs and awarded top prizes at various world exhibitions in Europe and America. The book, Zsolnay Art Pottery, the Gyugyi Collection (Helikon Publishing, 342 pp.) is available for purchase from the Foundation. It is lavishly illustrated with over 600 color photos, complete with catalogued research data for each item, as well as comprehensive factory marks, labels, and artist signature guides. To purchase, please contact us for more information.
- Wild About Harry (2009)
Wild about Harry is a one-hour documentary about an improbable hero, the nation's only Chinese-American Sheriff, a brash 350-pound cowboy who sang with Willie Nelson, threw parties on the White House lawn with Bill Clinton and used his political power to raise big money, much of which he gave to charity. Born in the back room of a Chinese laundry in New Orleans, Harry Lee followed the ritual of expectation set by his immigrant parents. One of eight children and the eldest son, Harry became a successful businessman, attorney, elected official, civic leader and philanthropist. The man elevated political incorrectness to high art, and yet, as an elected public official, earned the highest popularity rating in the state's history. This film presents a vivid portrait of a man who embraced life with gusto -- a man who was loved, honored, vilified, satirized, but never ignored. Harry died of Leukemia in 2008. The proceeds from the film were donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The film was selected for screening at several film festivals and won the Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Houston WorldFest Film Festival.
- Tamas Revesz: NEW YORK International Traveling Photo Exhibition (2004—present)
The exhibition comprised of 62 black and white photographs, features the work of Tamas Revesz, a Pulitzer Prize winning photographer. Revesz’s emphatic, intriguing visual approach presents a new look at the city of New York – an artist’s personal vision of the city’s lights, shadows, people, steel and concrete presented with an oblique, uplifting interpretation. Jim Mairs, editor of Revesz’s New York book at W.W. Norton, wrote, “With a photographic eye not unlike Andre Kertesz, Revesz captures the essence of the city in an often surprising way. The poetry and charm of the images will speak both to New Yorkers and visitors alike.”
Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York wrote “Life in New York City is often a wonderful blur of action and energy. However, in the midst of so much movement, there are an infinite number of discrete moments that are best appreciated on their own, frozen in time. As this exhibition proves, Tamas Revesz has a special gift for recognizing and capturing these telling stories”.
The New York photos were introduced to the public in 2004 in Tokyo and traveled to Hungary in 2006 under the aegis of the New York Sister City Program. In Hungary, the exhibition was shown first in Budapest during the Budapest Spring Festival at the Kogart House in a co-operating partnership with the Kogart Foundation and later in the year at the Kolcsey Center in Debrecen. A portfolio of 12 large size reproductions from Revesz’s New York photos accompanied the exhibition. The Foundation is working to bring the exhibition to the other New York Sister Cities – London, Madrid, Rome, Beijing, Cairo, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, and Santo Domingo.
- Writer’s Block (2002-2003)
Censorship and self-censorship were the subjects of Writer’s Block, an international art exhibition that premiered in Berlin at the site of the Nazi book burning in 1933. Created by American artist Sheryl Oring, the installation comprised 21 sculptural steel cages in which the artist locked 600 prewar typewriters. This provocative art installation toured Europe and was brought by Cultural Exchange Foundation to Budapest in 2002, where it was officially introduced by the former President of Hungary, Arpad Goncz, an author himself, who was imprisoned for his writings during the Communist era. The opening featured Imre Kertesz, the winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature, and other notable writers and artists speaking about the importance of free expression.
The exhibition began its U.S. tour in Boston, in conjunction with “Words on Fire,” a major arts festival. In the fall of 2003, it traveled to Bryant Park located behind the New York Public Library. The New York Times wrote, “The impact of ‘Writer’s Block’ comes from the unsettling sight of beautiful old typewriters upended within rough, rusty cages…there’s something quite mysterious about it.”
- The textile art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz (2000-2004)
The exhibit of the work of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz (1927-2001) showcased a series of 36 needlework and fabric collages, illustrating the artist’s life as a young Jewish girl surviving the Holocaust in Poland. The 15-year old Esther refused Nazi orders to board a train, taking her younger sister Mania with her into hiding. Pretending to be Catholic farm girls, they assumed new names, and never saw their family again. At the age of 50, Esther began creating works of “fabric art” to tell her story of survival. Trained as a dressmaker and not as an artist, she created a remarkable collection of “fabric pictures” with strong, vivid colors, striking details and a sense of folk-like realism.
In 2001, the Foundation honored Esther Nisenthal Krinitz’s life with a presentation of her works at the Polish Embassy in Washington, D.C. A film about Esther and her art was produced and directed by Lawrence Kasdan. During 2001- 2004 the pictures were exhibited at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Furthermore, the Foundation negotiated the travel of the exhibition to a variety of U.S. museums which has been undertaken by the artist’s daughters.
- Gallery Shows (1994-2002)
The Foundation organized and presented numerous gallery shows in New York and Washington D.C., featuring the works of American and European artists such as: Boyan Kirkov, Laszlo Dus, Susan Due Pearcy, Dick Waterman and Anna Stein, among others. In 1997, the Foundation produced a musical tribute to Zoltan Kodaly, the notable Hungarian composer and music educator, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
- Victims and Perpetrators (1995-96)
Shown in Budapest and Jerusalem, this exhibit of more than 70 drawings hidden from the public for half a century is a chronicle of the Holocaust in Hungary by artists Ilka Gedo and Gyorgy Roman. Combining Gedo’s tender, poignant portraits of daily life in the Budapest Jewish ghetto with Roman’s stark sketches of Hungarian war criminals, these personal portraits served as diaries to help the artists make sense of a senseless world.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the Foundation produced two separate catalogs: one in Hungarian and English, and the other in Hebrew, specifically for the Yad Vashem Museum. In cooperation with MTV, the Hungarian national television network, a 40-minute documentary was produced for international distribution. Exhibit sites featured video installations and cultural programs. The Foundation arranged for the President of Hungary to officiate at the opening of the exhibit at the Budapest Jewish Museum and handled all media appearances.
- Hungary: Before and After (1993-94)
A retrospective of Hungarian art from the postwar totalitarian regime to the present, this exhibition featured paintings of 28 Hungarian artists. Shown in Washington, D.C., New York and Budapest, the exhibit vividly illustrated the relationship between artistic creativity and political power, highlighting the demagoguery of the 1950s, followed by the vibrant, iconoclastic art movement of the 1960s and 1970s, and leading up to the unfettered freedom of expression and creative diversity of the 1980s and l990s.
The Foundation produced a bilingual (English and Hungarian) catalog, brochure, video installation, film and lecture programs and concerts. Materials were developed for print and electronic media, and press conferences were held in the U.S. and Hungary. A short art film about the artists, “Afterthought,” produced by the Foundation was honored with Gold Medals at the Chicago International Film Festival and the Houston Film Festival. The film was an official selection at the Paris Art Film Biennale.
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