On air: Film director Hanna Sawka will be interviewed live about the upcoming documentary about Jan Sawka on the "Tales from the Golden Road" talk show on Sunday, November 13 at 4 pm Eastern/1 pm Pacific, with rebroadcasts on Monday at 9 am ET/6 am PT, and Wednesday at 1 am ET/10 pm (Tuesday night) PT, on SiriusXM’s Grateful Dead Channel(23).
Upcoming exhibition and event: "The Voyages of Jan Sawka” - Exhibition and documentary film kickoff event - one day only.
Time: Thursday, November 17th. The exhibition will be on-view from 4-9PM, with announcements and a screening at 7PM.
Place: 3Squared Gallery, 157 W. 24th Street (b/t 6th and 7th Avenue), New York City, NY 10011
Details: To kick off the start of production of a new feature-length documentary film about Jan Sawka, come view and exhibition and enjoy a sneak-peek of footage from the upcoming film, which will be presented at 7:00 PM. There will also be a few select items for a silent auction of the artist’s work, as well as Jan Sawka posters and reproductions on sale. All proceeds go to the production of the forthcoming film. Join the Facebook event here.
On view: The Jan Sawka Estate and The Wired Gallery are opening a show called "Jan Sawka in High Falls" on Saturday, May 21st at the High Falls Emporium at 10 Old Route 213, High Falls, NY 12440. The exhibition opens at 4PM.
The gallery at the High Falls Emporium is currently open on weekends, from 11AM - 4PM. There will an additional day when the gallery is open on Friday, June 3rd, from 10-3PM.
In the press: The Hudson Valley arts/entertainment "Almanac Weekly" features a story about the "Jan Sawka in High Falls" show by Jeremiah Horrigan titled "Exile on Old Route 213"
IMPORTANT UPDATE: Permission and clearance for image use and reproduction of Jan Sawka artworks is now managed by the Artists Rights Society (ARS). Please contact ARS directly regarding image licensing, use, clearance and permission here.
Currently on view: A painting by Jan Sawka is currently on view as part of the "Reading Objects 2015: Responses to the Museum's Collection" exhibition at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art in New Paltz, NY.
Currently on view: Two posters by Jan Sawka are currently on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in the "Transmissions: Art in Eastern Europe and Latin America, 1960–1980" exhibition.
In the press: Volume 71 of "Pismo Artystyczne Format" (Format, A Magazine of the Arts), a publication of the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland has published an article titled "Jan Sawka (1946–2012) in the Context of an Epoch" by Dr. Slawomir Magala, a professor of cross-cultural management at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University. This article deals with the omission of Jan Sawka's achievements by communist-era Polish art and cultural institutions, as well as some surprising continuations of this legacy.
Opening: The opening reception for "Reading Objects 2015: Responses to the Museum's Collection" at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art will take place on Saturday, September 12, 5-7 pm. A painting by Jan Sawka from the SDMA will be on display in this exhibition.
In the press: Jan Sawka is amongst the 18 most important graphic designers of the 20th century, according to Cutlure.pl, a publication of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, an organization of the Polish government. Article can be accessed here (pdf).
This article announces the release of a comprehensive album regarding Polish graphic design, edited by Jacek Mrowczyk and published by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
"Besides the mild, narcotic aesthetics, Sawka's posters were virulent. The seemingly trivial subjects hid the – often scary – interpretations of the situation of a citizen of a totalitarian country."
- Sylwia Gizka , VeryGraphic. Polish Designers of the 20th Century, 2015.
The poster by Jan Sawka featured in this article is called "Exodus," from 1974. Jan Sawka created it for a play by the poet L.A. Moczulski that was staged at the STU Theater in Krakow. Jan Sawka also created the set and other graphic elements, as well as masterminding the stage-within-a-stage mis-en-scene. The play, by a poet of the political opposition, showed two paths within an oppressive system - either escape (exodus) or to become like the person pictured within this poster, a burnt-out match.
This poster is in major museum collections, such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York and it is known all over the world.
In the news: The Rex Foundation, which is the Grateful Dead's charitable organization, has published an article that is a look back at Jan Sawka's collaboration with the band and a look forward for "The Voyage," his final work. Article here (pdf).
Fundraiser: The Sawka family is conducting a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds to produce "The Voyage." This is also an opportunity to get some Jan Sawka posters and prints. View the campaign here.
Estate news: We are happy to share that future exhibitions are currently being organized and we will share details as soon as possible. Work also continues on cataloging the work.
We would like to thank supporters of the conference fundraiser conducted on Indiegogo for making this possible.
Earlier this month, Hanna M. Sawka, the daughter of Jan Sawka, presented "Counter-Cultural Crossroads: Jan Sawka's Set for the Grateful Dead" as part of the Fine Arts panel chaired by Philip Eliasoph of Fairfield University at the "So Many Roads: The World in the Grateful Dead" (pdf) academic conference. Her presentation was followed by a presentation by Dr. Frank V. Boyer of the State University of New York titled, "The Dead Set as Exemplary Collaboration."
We would like to thank supporters of the conference fundraiser conducted on Indiegogo for making this possible.
Fundraiser: Only until November 17, 2014, it is possible to purchase rare Jan Sawka posters that were never available for sale. Poster fundraiser is available at this link.
Next month, Hanna M. Sawka will speak at the So Many Roads: The World in the Grateful Dead conference at San Jose State University, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, California. She will speak on Friday, Nov. 7th during a panel that starts at 9AM. Conference details and registration can be accessed here: http://www.sjsu.edu/somanyroads (pdf).
In the press: Also released on August 9, 2014, a post about Jan Sawka's political posters and the Solidarity movement on the British-based ArtLark blog, here (pdf).
In the press: In the press: In this article commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival by John Barry of the Poughkeepsie Journal, you can read about Jan Sawka's spiritual and direct connections with the American counter-culture movement, here (pdf).
Opening soon in Nashville, TN, USA: The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery is featuring a poster by Jan Sawka in the "Curiouser and Curiouser�Avant-garde Polish Theatre Posters from the 1970s" exhibition that will run from June 19 - August 28. For details, visit: http://www.vanderbilt.edu/gallery/season.php (pdf).
Estate update: Other exhibitions are currently being organized, please check back or follow the work of Jan Sawka on Facebook for announcements. Link here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jan-Sawka/127482063967084 Work continues on the catalogue raisonee, as well as updates to the website.
In the online press: A beautifully illustrated article about Jan Sawka's design work (in English) by art historian and curator Magdalena Czubinska of the National Museum in Krakow, Poland is available for free download (first 5000 downloads) from the Polish design publication "2 + 3D" at this link: http://digital.2plus3d.pl/
Estate update: Work has commenced on the catalogue raisonn� of the work of Jan Sawka.At this project's helm is Dr. Frank V. Boyer.
Looking for more? If you are on social media, we recommend following Jan Sawka on Facebook to receive weekly images, quotes and information about the artist. This is also a great way to get directly in touch with the estate.
Special film screening event in NYC: Thursday, Feb. 13th at 6:30PM, at the Tribeca Film Center, Polish Filmmakers NYC presents a screening of "Behind the Poster," Marcin Latallo's look at the phenomenon of the Polish School of the Poster, a movement of which Jan Sawka was a young member, already in his 20's. Jan Sawka's work is touched upon in this film, as well as work by many other great designers. Here is a review and announcement of the film by Ela Bittencourt in Slant Magazine:
The Sawka Family would like to wish you and yours all the best in this holiday season, as well as plenty of health and happiness in the New Year.
2013 Review: Three significant exhibitions marked this year. Early in 2013, "Personal Equilibrium: The Personal Journals of Jan Sawka" was extended, due to popularity, into February at the Stevenson Library at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson. "Personal Equilibrium" was much noted by the Hudson Valley public and press. Shortly afterwards, work commenced on a memorial show at the National Museum in Krakow, Poland, the museum where one of Jan Sawka's most seminal touring exhibitions had taken place two decades before, "The Returns." In May, "Jan Sawka. 1945-2012" opened at the National Museum in Krakow, the memorial exhibition drawing from the collection of the museum itself. This show drew major media attention throughout Poland and the international Polish community. The show ran through September 1st. On September 12, the dynamic not-for-profit art center Gallery Aferro in Newark, NJ opened "Reflections on Everyman: The Work of Jan Sawka." This exhibition was accompanied by additional events, such as screenings of new media, as well as a symposium co-organized by the nearby Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University. This exhibition and the symposium enjoyed support from the Polish Cultural Institute, New York, The Polish & Slavic Federal Credit Union, the Polish American Business Club, The Polish National Tourism Office, the Newark Arts Council, and Rutgers University.
We are looking forward to 2014, with plans underway for several future exhibitions, as well as commencing work on a catalog raisonee of Jan Sawka's oeuvre, which will dovetail with efforts to organize and archive the Jan Sawka's work. Work is also underway on a documentary film and efforts continue on the production of The Voyage.
None of the efforts of 2013 would be possible without the support of friends and appreciators of the art of Jan Sawka. We are deeply grateful for this support.
In academia: Professor Jeffrey Goldfarb of the New School for Social Research, who presented at the "Jan Sawka: The Artist's Role in Changing the World" symposium that took place at the Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University on Nov. 16, 2013, has placed a written adaptation of his presentation on the New School's "Public Seminar" website, which is a very interesting online resource, described in this way:
"We work in the tradition of critical scholarship and public engagement of the original New School for Social Research (1919) and its University in Exile (1933). We seek to open the discussion of experts to broader publics, in the United States, and crucially far beyond, in the tradition of Charles Beard, John Dewey, Thorstein Veblen, Emil Lederer, Max Wertheimer, Frieda Wunderlich, Hans Speier, Leo Strauss and Hannah Arendt. Public Seminar is an extension of The New School�s legendary �General Seminar,� founded by the original exile scholars. Through it, we are constituting a public seminar for the 21st century."
Invitation: There is only one week left of the "Reflections on Everyman: The Work of Jan Sawka" exhibition at Gallery Aferro on 73 Market Street, Newark, NJ. This has been a fascinating and very dynamic three months. The show engaged literally thousands of people and has created discussions, analyses and exchanges that have been not only interesting, but are opening up new areas of understanding of the art of Jan Sawka.
The Jan Sawka Estate would like to warmly invite you to a closing reception, which, as befits a community art center, will take the form of a potluck on the last day of the show. It takes place on Saturday, December 14, from 2-7PM at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street, Newark, NJ.
Gallery Aferro and the Paul Robeson Galleries of Rutgers University present a symposium examining the case of the late Polish American artist Jan Sawka and the meaning of his work in a socio-political context.
Cynthia Nadelman, writer and curator, contributing editor for ArtNews of 25 years
Jeffrey Goldfarb, Michael E. Gellert Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research
Frank Boyer, Doctor of Arts, teaches art-related subjects at SUNY-New Paltz and SUNY-Ulster, and in addition to poetry, fiction, and drama, writes art theory and cultural criticism.
Currently On View: "Reflections on Everyman: The Work of Jan Sawka" continues at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street, Newark, NJ. The gallery is open from Thurs - Sat noon - 6PM, or by appointment via firstname.lastname@example.org (put "Jan Sawka" in subject heading, please). Please note that many of the artworks at this exhibition are for sale. Sales will benefit Gallery Aferro, a vibrant, not-for-profit community-centered arts organization, as well as the archival, curatorial and academic activities of the Jan Sawka Estate.
Special Event: A Preview of Jan Sawka's The Voyage at Gallery Aferro, 73 Market Street, Newark, NJ (a few blocks from the PATH station), Saturday, October 19th at 7:30PM, admission is free.
Presenting a 24-minute preview of Jan Sawka�s The Voyage, a critically acclaimed performance of projected artworks with the music of the Mickey Hart Band. This preview will be followed by a Q&A with producer and director Hanna Maria Sawka, who is also the late artist�s daughter. Gallery Aferro is currently hosting a large exhibition of Jan Sawka's paintings, prints and sculptures, titled "Reflections on Everyman: The Work of Jan Sawka." The screening will take place upstairs, in the Media Room.
Currently in development, Jan Sawka�s The Voyage is a 90-minute performance by the late, internationally acclaimed artist Jan Sawka. This powerful visual journey, consisting of 1200 hand-made paintings symbolically represents an individual life as well as the greater story of humankind. Every image used in The Voyage is a fine-art piece by Jan Sawka, who created a visual narrative sequence. A pilot of Jan Sawka�s The Voyage with music and video editing by Czeslaw Niemen was awarded a Gold Medal in Multimedia at the 2003 International Florence Biennial of Contemporary Art. In 1989, Jan Sawka designed the historic, 10-story tall fine-art set for the 25th anniversary tour of the Grateful Dead, of which Mickey Hart was an original member.
In the News (in Polish): Artykul na temat wystawy "Reflections on Everyman" na portalu O.pl, Polski Portal Kulturalny, kliknij tutaj (pdf).
In the news: In Print Magazine's "Weekend Heller," Steven Heller announces "Jan Sawka, Out of Exile." See it here (pdf).
Video online: The National Museum in Krakow, Poland posted a 4-minute video from the May opening of "Jan Sawka. 1946- 2012."
Reflections on Everyman: The Work of Jan Sawka
September 12 – December 14, 2013
Curated by Evonne M. Davis and Hanna Maria Sawka
Opening Reception September 12, 7-10 PM
New Media Screening October 12, 7 PM
Closing Reception December 14, details TBA
Newark, NJ: Gallery Aferro’s Main Gallery and New Media Room will feature a major retrospective celebrating the life and work of artist, expatriate, activist, architect and impossible-to-classify Jan Sawka (1946-2012). Sawka's body of work includes paintings, book arts, sculptures, engravings, editorial illustrations, architectural installations, monuments, new media and a 10-story stage set designed for the Grateful Dead. Currently, a memorial exhibition of his work is on view at The National Museum in Krakow, Poland. Born in 1946 in Zabrze, Poland, his childhood overshadowed by his father's Stalin-era political imprisonment, by his 20’s Sawka had become the youngest member of the Polish Poster School. Sawka’s portrayal in his art of the impact of totalitarianism on the individual led to his expulsion from Poland in 1976. Having just won the “Oscar de la Peinture” in France, he was given a residency at the newly opened Pompidou Center in Paris. In 1977, he arrived in New York with his wife and baby, four suitcases and a portfolio of artworks. Within a year, he became a prolific editorial illustrator for The New York Times. While producing paintings at his home studio, he designed posters and sets for the Jean Cocteau Repertory Theater, Harold Clurman Theater, and Samuel Beckett Theater, where he collaborated closely with Beckett. By this time, he had built a gallery career in New York, Los Angeles and many other cities. In 1981, when Martial Law was imposed in Poland, the AFL-CIO sold Sawka's Solidarity Poster in the millions to provide immediate support to the besieged Solidarity movement. In 1993, he created his first full multi-media spectacle in Japan. At the time of his death the artist was working on numerous projects. Sawka's works are in over 60 museums around the world and he had over 70 solo exhibitions. The exhibition will focus on Jan Sawka’s concern with the human condition in today’s world, with examples of his paintings, prints and sculptures. As the late Professor James Beck of Columbia University wrote “He contemplates and dissects the social conditions of our moment – the absurdities of political states, the leadership, the courts, the universities – within the context of the individual caught in the labyrinth… such a condition is not differentiated from the absurdities of more human interaction, between lovers, husbands and wives. The isolation is there too, perhaps even more so: the absence of communication, the uniformity, the blandness, the emptiness… Here too is the softened, approachable world of physical beauty, of delicacy, refinement and sensitivity. These two struggle with one another… in Sawka’s irresistible art.”
This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Polish Cultural Institute, and with support from the Polish American Business Club and the Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union.
Gallery Aferro is a nonprofit artist-originated organization serving a diverse community through the import and export of ideas. The gallery is located at 73 Market St Newark NJ, and is open Thursday-Saturday12:00-6PM and by appt, free of charge.
On view: Today, the Poster Museum in Wilanow (Warsaw), as part of its "poster salon" event, began daily screenings of a video presentation about Jan Sawka (created by Hanna Maria Sawka). Screenings daily until August 17th.
Currently on view: The "Jan Sawka. 1946-2012" exhibition is on view at the National Museum in Krakow, Poland until September 1, 2013.
In the press: The cultural monthly magazine "Krakow" has published an article by Marek Soltysik about the exhibition currently on view at the National Museum in Krakow, Poland. Article image can be viewed here.
In the press: An article has come out in the Polish-language monthly "Architektura i Biznes" (Architecture and Business) by Krystyna Styrna-Bartkowiak. Article can be seen here (pdf).
On view: The "Jan Sawka. 1946-2012" exhibition is on view at the National Museum in Krakow, Poland until September 1, 2013.
In the news: On Saturday, June 8th, an interview with artist's widow Hanna Sawka about the Jan Sawka exhibition at the National Museum in Krakow will air on TVP Polonia at 4PM on the "Kulturalni PL" program.
In the news: Interview in Zabrze Television (in Polish) with the Mayor of Zabrze Malgorzata Manka-Szulik,, Hanna Sawka and Professor Marian Oslislo:
(Wywiad w Telewizji Zabrze z Prezydentem Miasta Zabrze Malgorzata Manka-Szulik, Hanna Sawka i Profesor Marian Oslislo):
Opening in May: An exhibition of paintings, drypoint engravings and multimedia entitled "Jan Sawka. 1946 - 2012" will open at the main building of the National Museum in Krakow, Poland at 6PM on May 24th, 2013. The Museum is located at al. 3 Maja 1, 30-062 Krak�w. This exhibition is curated by Magdalena Czubinska and it will run until September 1, 2013. A description of the show, together with images of artworks that will be shown, can be found here: (English) (po Polsku). To plan a visit, click here.
Preview: The National Museum show will feature an installation of banner paintings that was part of a performance from 1990 called "The Shere" that was performed at the MASC Performing Arts Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. The banner paintings encompassed the performance space, within which live jazz music was played by Ed Summerlin, Charlie Knicely and Keith Teller. The music was composed by the late Ed Summerlin. The performance included Jan Sawka's multimedia projections as well. Here is an image of the banners from "The Sphere:" The National Museum show will also include the hand-painted drypoint engraving series called "Postcards."
Other news: More Jan Sawka exhibitions are coming soon, including one opening this year in the United States. Details will be announced as they are finalized.
For more frequent updates and featured information and images from the life and career of Jan Sawka, please follow Jan Sawka on Facebook and Twitter.
Opening in May: An exhibition of paintings, drypoint engravings and multimedia entitled "Jan Sawka. 1946 - 2012" will open at the main building of the National Museum in Krakow, Poland at 6PM on Friday, May 24th, 2013. The Museum is located at al. 3 Maja 1, 30-062 Kraków. This exhibition is curated by Magdalena Czubinska and it will run until September 1, 2013. A description of the show (in Polish) can be found here. To plan a visit, please see the Museum's English language website here (location).
In the press: The February 2013 edition of the monthly cultural publication "Odra," which is published in Wroclaw, Poland, has an article (in Polish) where Jan Sawka's exile from Poland and the subsequent policy of censoring of his memory and legacy within Poland is the main part of a case study of policies toward political emigres. The article is by Dr. Slawomir Magala of Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Link to a PDF version of the file is here.
Coming soon: In May, an exhibition of Jan Sawka’s drypoint engravings, banner paintings and multimedia will open in the main building of the Polish National Museum in Krakow, Poland.
On view: The Wired Gallery in High Falls, NY will feature a Dedication Wall to Jan Sawka during its show opening on March 23rd. More details coming soon.
Coming Down: The morning of Monday, February 11th is the last time the public can view "Personal Equilibrium" at Bard College's Stevenson Library.
In the press: Trends Institute's Winter 2013 issue of "The Trends Journal" has been released and it includes a reproduction and information on Jan Sawka's design of the Peace Monument, Jerusalem, which was awarded the "Excellence in Architecture" award in 2011 from the American Institute of Architecture. For those who wish to support the realization of this project, tax-deductible donations can be made here.
Currently on view: Due to popular demand, the "Personal Equilibrium" show at the Stevenson Library at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, has been extended to the end of January. January hours are Mon-Thurs. 8:30-5PM, Fri. 8:30-5:00PM, Sat. Noon-5PM and Sun. Noon- 8PM. The show is updated, with entirely different pages being currently on display.
In the press: Ann Gibbons has written about "Personal Equilibrium" and other updates regarding the work of Jan Sawka in the Sunday, January 13th editionof the Daily Freeman (Ulster County). The online article includes an interview with Hanka Sawka. Click here for article and interview (pdf).
Coming soon: Trends Institute's "The Trends Journal" will include a reproduction and information on Jan Sawka's design of the Peace Monument, Jerusalem, which was awarded the "Excellence in Architecture" award in 2011 from the American Institute of Architecture. For those who wish to support the realization of this project, tax-deductible donations can be made here.
Currently on view: Until December 15, "Personal Equilibrium: The Private Journals of Jan Sawka" at the Stevenson Library, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. This is the first time the fully illustrated journals are exhibited for the public. The show is accessible during library hours, which can be found here.
In the news: Lynn Woods' article "Jan Sawka: The Page Speaks" in the December issue of Chronogram Magazine. Online article here
In the press: In the winter issue of Green Door Magazine, "Remembering Jan Sawka," by Jennifer Farley, link to article here
(pdf). Print version hits newstands in December.
Currently on view: "Personal Equilibrium: The Private Journals of Jan Sawka" at the Stevenson Library, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. This is the first time the fully illustrated journals are exhibited for the public. Despite inclement weather, the show enjoyed a warm and well-attended reception on Nov. 7th. The show continues to be on-view until December 15th and it is accessible during library hours, which can be found here. Please note that the library is closed for Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 22 and Friday, November 23rd, reopening at noon on Saturday, November 24th.
In the press: The Polish design quarterly "2+3D" came out on November 7th with an extensive article in the Design History section entitled "Idealy mlodosci: Jan Sawka" (Ideals of Youth: Jan Sawka). The author is art historian Magdalena Czubinska, who is the Custodian of the Polish National Museum in Krakow. A link to the table of contents of this issue is here
In the news: "Big Visions Writ Small" by Rich Corozine in this week's Almanac (Ulster Publishing), an article focusing on the upcoming "Personal Equilibrium" show at Bard College. See the article here.
In the news: An illustrated article by Deb Medenbach in the November/December issue of Ulster Magazine can be see here, article is located on pages 47-52.
In the news: The October issue of ArtNews, in the NewsBriefs section, one can find an obituary on Jan Sawka.
Starting on Thursday, November 1st at the Stevenson Library, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, the first exhibition of Jan Sawka’s work since his passing: "Personal Equilibrium: The Private Journals of Jan Sawka."
Opening reception takes place on Wednesday, November 7th, 4-6:00PM. This exhibition will be on-view until Saturday, December 15th. Location: the display cases in the Stevenson Library Lobby. The exhibition can be viewed during library hours, which can be found here.
During and between travels and work on large projects, Jan Sawka created a number of journals in small, blank books. The journals are fully illustrated, chiefly with ink drawings, which are often painted or colored. The images and themes reach across the various artistic disciplines that Sawka practiced, including sketches for architectural projects, paintings, set design and prints. One journal focuses on the art of calligraphy, another on typography. Other journals explore travels, real and imagined. One journal is a visual diary, while another is a study of various human faces. At times, they are just wild forays into the imagination. All of the journals are a record of the inner life, visions and emotions of the artist.
Jan Sawka had over 70 individual exhibitions of his work at museums and major gallery centers of the world, however, his personal journals never have been exhibited. Beside their private nature, they would have been lost among Sawka’s chiefly large-scale works. The exhibition at Bard College’s Stevenson Library is the first opportunity for the public to see these masterworks of draftsmanship and imagination.
New York Times obituary print edition out today, Thursday, August 30, 2012 (pdf).
On Thursday, August 9th, 2012, Jan Sawka suffered a heart attack in his studio and home. Shortly after, he passed away in the Kingston Hospital in Kingston, NY. The artist died at a moment where multiple projects and an exhibition were in development. These will continue. Please check in for details to come.
His prolific work will live on and projects currently in development will continue to move forward. This website will continue to expand to include more information about the legacy of this prolific artist.
We would be most grateful if people possessing letters, documents, designs and works contact email@example.com with scanned images or photographs to help the Sawka family address the monumental task of archiving and organizing information regarding his legacy for future generations.
Sprostowanie: Rozumiemy, że w Polskich mediach pojawiają się informacje, że pogrzeb Jana Sawki odbył sie w Polsce. To nie prawda. Msza święta pogrzebowa odbyła sie w Kosciele St. Peter’s w Rosendale, N.Y. Ciało zostało skremowane a miejsce pochowania prochów jest jeszcze niezdecydowane.
Currently on view: “The Japanese Touch: Contemporary Masterpieces of Printmaking” at the Daniela Passal Gallery at Mohonk Arts, 186 Mohonk Road, High Falls, NY 12440. This show was created by Jan Sawka and it features works by the most prominent contemporary Japanese designers. The gallery is open weekdays. Please call 845-687-7490 before coming to visit.
The Raymond Steiner Blog of Art Times Journal currently features an essay by Jan Sawka’s daughter, Hanna M. Sawka, about the background of “The Japanese Touch” exhibition (pdf).
Jan Sawka talks about "The Japanese Touch," artistic friendships and creative activities in Japan in this interview by Will Baylies of independent Hudson Valley radio station, WKZE:
Recently unraveled: a section of Jan Sawka's set that was used for the Grateful Dead's concert tours in 1989-1990. This original section of the set is at the Grateful Dead Archive, Special Collections, McHenry Library, University of California Santa Cruz. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Meriwether, Grateful Dead Archivist.
The Daniela Passal Gallery at Mohonk Arts presents a unique opportunity to see works of some of the most celebrated contemporary designers and artists of Japan. Jan Sawka, an acclaimed artist who lives in High Falls and is a friend and supporter of Mohonk Arts, has for many years collaborated with Japanese creative entities and people. Friendships with artists run and have run deep. Exchanges of gifts and greetings between Sawka and artists such as Kiyoshi Awazu, Koichi Sato, Kazumasa Nagai, Shigeo Fukuda, Ikko Tanaka, Masuteru Aoba, Tadanori Yokoo, and Kenji Ekuan have resulted in a collection that can provide a survey of 20th and 21st century Japanese art and design. The purpose of this exhibition is to bring a unique educational opportunity to the Hudson Valley.
Jan Sawka will be delighted to talk about the artists as he knows them personally during the opening reception, which will take place on Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 5 � 8 PM.
Location: Mohonk Arts, 186 Mohonk Road, High Falls, NY
For more information: 845-687-7490
"Teraz Polska," or "Poland Now" is the promotional agency of the nation of Poland and it is launching a new, color publication in May. This first issue will feature cover art by Jan Sawka. View the magazine cover now on the Teraz Polska website at this link. The publication will also feature a fully-illustrated article profiling Jan Sawka. This publication will be distributed to Poland's political and business elite (President Komorowski included).
Jan Sawka is proud to announce “The Voyage,” a ninety-minute multimedia spectacle featuring large-scale animated artwork projections together with live performances by the Mickey Hart Band. This project has its roots in Jan Sawka’s collaboration with “The Grateful Dead” during the 25th anniversary of this legendary band, of which Mickey Hart was a member. See project website, which includes a teaser and details here: www.voyageproduction.com.
Late 2011 and 2012 mark the 30th anniversary of a dark era for Poland – Martial Law. In honor of this time, the United States Embassy in Warsaw, Poland, has posted the “Let Poland Be Poland” series that was broadcast on American prime-time television during Martial Law to raise awareness and support for Poland. An important part of the campaign was a fundraiser spearheaded by the American labor union, the AFL-CIO, in support of the Solidarity labor union in Poland (Solidarity would eventually force the overthrow of communism in Poland, that led to the freeing of the entire Warsaw Pact block and the fall of the Berlin Wall!). This fundraiser was supported by both the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as by President Ronald Reagan himself. The item that was sold through this campaign and that raised millions of dollars for Solidarity was the Solidarity poster designed by Jan Sawka. Part 5 of the “Let Poland Be Poland” series features Poles in Exile. Jan Sawka is one of the Exiled Poles featured in this broadcast – see the “Solidarity” poster and other Sawka images and learn some of the story here, on the US Embassy in Poland Youtube channel:
Stay tuned for some exciting news about Jan Sawka’s collaboration on a project with a member of the former Grateful Dead band. In the meantime, take a walk back in time: There are more pictures than ever of the 25th Anniversary concert tour set here. This is also a good time to look back at Jan Sawka's large and highly political exhibition, "My Europe," that was in the International Arts Pavilion of the 1992 World Exposition in Seville, Spain. This installation was sponsored by none other than the Grateful Dead’s Rex Foundation. That same year, the Grateful Dead also sponsored the Olympic basketball team of the newly freed nation of Lithuania, about which a film (The Other Dream Team) just premiered at Sundance last month.
Currently on view: Jan Sawka’s “Haiti!” poster is part of the “Es geht UM die WELT: Internationale Plakate zu Natur und Umwelt” (About the World We Live In) exhibition at the KUNSTMUSEUM DIESELKRAFTWERK COTTBUS (DKW), Cottbus, Germany. Opening Saturday, February 4, 2012 at 11:00 AM. Click here for details on DKW website.
2010 - 2011 Recap
In May 2010, Jan Sawka unveiled the The Peace Monument at the International Poster Center in the Chelsea Arts District of New York. The event was co-sponsored by the International Poster Center, Temple of Understanding and ACA Galleries. The unveiling led to a number of Peace Monument-related events in 2011. Most notably, in February 2011, the New Hampshire Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) awarded Jan Sawka and Bart Sapeta “Excellence in Architecture” in the Unbuilt Category for the Peace Monument Complex.
Caleb Sloan (AIA Awards Committee Chair),
Bart Sapeta, Jan Sawka and Hanka Sawka
Jan Sawka and Bart Sapeta�
Jan Sawka Exhibition Recap for 2011 and 2010
Spring of 2011 saw a “Celebration of Sawka” in the Hudson Valley. Utopian Direction (UD) of Warwick, NY hosted "Multimedia and Beyond" from April 9th to May 31st, 2011, along with an artist talk entitled “Sawka Speaks.” The UD show focused on Jan Sawka’s multimedia activities and his work with high-tech media. View exhibition here. Utopian Direction partnered with the Red Eft Gallery in Wurstboro, NY, which hosted the "Ashokan Views" Exhibition from April 2 to May 7, 2011. This exhibition featured a major painting installation called "Ashokan Views." "Ashokan Views" was inspired by one of the most beautiful locations in the Catskill Mountains – the Ashokan Reservoir, a huge artificial lake surrounded by the Catskill mountains. View exhibition here.
Jan Sawka's cover art was part of forty pieces representing the Westways Cover Art Program at the Pasadena Museum of California Art (Click here for show information). Exhibition ran from December 2010 to February 27, 2011. Click here for the Los Angeles Time’s article about show, which featured Jan Sawka’s artwork on the cover of the “Art and Books” section on December 19th, 2010.
The Peace Monument, Jerusalem design was part of the exhibition of submissions for the American Institute of Architects "Excellence in Architecture" Awards at the New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, N.H. This exhibition ran from December 7, 2010 to January 21, 2011.
Jan Sawka's "Book of Fiction" prints were a part of the "The Illustrious Mr. X" exhibition at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, New Paltz, New York from January 26, 2010 to July 17, 2011, click for details. Read a review of"The Illustrious Mr. X" by Paul Smart for Ulster Publishing's Almanac (review).
Jan Sawka opened “Homecoming: The International Art of Jan Sawka” in October 2010, at Mohonk Arts, in High Falls, New York. Works featured have been shown in places as diverse as Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates; Japan, the Hamptons, the American West and European cities. The exhibition included the Smart Glass “UMU” sculptures. The show can be viewed here.
Read a preview of “Homecoming” by Paul Smart of Ulster Publishing here.
Jan Sawka in 2011 Competitions
Jan Sawka's "HAITI!" charity poster participated in the 22nd Warsaw International Poster Biennial at the Poster Museum at Wilanów, which took place from 2-5 June 2010. In July 2011, the “Haiti!” poster was a finalist in the 18th Lahti Poster Biennial 2011, at the Lahti Art Museum/Poster Museum in Lahti, Finland. The "HAITI!" poster was sponsored by PZL (Link), a Polish advertising and marketing firm, in order to raise funds to aide earthquake victims and rebuilding efforts in Haiti.