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September 22, 2009

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The Harn Museum of Art presents an exhibition exploring art and democracy in contemporary Europe

GAINESVILLE, Fla. —The Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art at the University of Florida presents Project Europa: Imagining the
, opening Feb. 7, 2010. Project Europa considers the relationship of art to democracy in Europe. In 1989, the expansion
and unification of Europe was conceived as a vital and urgent social project to promote democracy. Now, 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, artists in the exhibition explore the conflicts and contradictions of Europe’s democratic dream.

“This exhibition will provide an opportunity for Americans to reconsider and reinvigorate their understanding of democracy at home,” said Rebecca Nagy, director of the Harn Museum of Art. “Project Europa and our related programming support our goal to promote meaningful dialogue about global issues and ideas.”

Through the lens of international artists, Project Europa challenges the collective vision of Europe. While Europe embodies the notions of democracy, human rights, peace and diversity, it has also given rise to xenophobia, racism, religious intolerance, and, especially after 9/11, heightened security and the hardening of immigration policies. Artists serve as a catalyst for new ways of seeing, thinking and imagining Europe.

“Working in diverse media, artists in the exhibition come from a rich variety of perspectives and cultural positions,” said Kerry Oliver-Smith, curator of contemporary art and organizer of the exhibition. “Especially exciting is the residency of artists Kader Attia and Dan Perjovschi who have been commissioned to create large-scale paintings applied fresco style directly to the walls of the museum.”

Project Europa will feature work by 19 artists from Turkey to the British Isles. Featured artists include Francis Alÿs, Fikret Atay, Kader Attia, Maja Bajević, Yto Barrada, Tacita Dean, Beate Gütschow, Jens Haaning, Susan Hefuna, Eva Leitolf, Aernout Mik, Marcel Odenbach, Dan Perjovschi, Marjetica Potrč, Andrea Robbins and Max Becher, Bruno Serralongue, Superflex and Lidwien Van de Ven.

The museum is developing a variety of programs related to the exhibition, including a symposium scheduled for April 9 – 10, 2010. The symposium will include presentations by François Cusset, Alex Alberro, Nora Alter, Claire Bishop, T.J. Demos, Tim Griffin, Maria Hlavajova and Shepherd Steiner. A presentation of avant-garde European films, including works by visiting filmmakers Amie Siegel and Johan Grimonprez, is planned for the spring 2010 season of RISK Cinema.

Project Europa will be accompanied by a scholarly catalogue written by Oliver-Smith with contributions by Marius Babias, curator, art historian and director of the Neurer Berliner Kunstyerein, and Boris Groys, professor of aesthetics, art history and media theory at the Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany. The fully-illustrated, color publication will be available for purchase at the Harn Museum Store.

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts awarded a $100,000 grant to the museum to support the exhibition. It is one of the largest grants awarded by a private foundation for an exhibition at the Harn Museum of Art.

The exhibition is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the C. Frederick and Aase B. Thompson Foundation; Étant donnés, the French-American Fund for Contemporary Art, a program of the French-American Cultural Exchange; University of Florida Student Government; the John Early Publication Endowment; the Sidney Knight Endowment; and the Harn Program Endowment. Additional support is provided by the following University of Florida entities: School of Art + Art History; Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History; Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere; Center for European Studies; France Florida Research Institute; International Center; and Paris Research Institute. Additional funding provided by the Exhibition Circle of the Harn Museum.

The exhibition will be on display through May 9, 2010.

For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit


High-resolution images of works in the exhibition are available at

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art
Founded in 1990, the Harn Museum of Art is an integral part of the University of Florida. The Harn contributes to an interconnected, international community by integrating the arts and culture into curricula throughout the university’s system of colleges and centers. Its holdings include nearly 7,000 works in five collecting areas: Asian art, African art, photography, modern art of the Americas and Europe, and contemporary art. In addition to rotating installations drawn from its permanent collection, the Harn organizes traveling exhibitions, public lectures, panel discussions, academic symposia and educational programs for adults, students and children. In 2011, the Harn will open the 26,000-square-foot David A. Cofrin Asian Art Wing, which will feature two levels of galleries, curatorial and conservation space, and a series of outdoor Asian gardens.

The Harn Museum, at Southwest 34th Street and Hull Road in Gainesville, Fla., is part of the University of Florida’s Cultural Plaza, which is also home to the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Admission is free. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The museum is open until 9 p.m. the second Thursday of every month for Museum Nights. The Camellia Court Café is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information call 352-392-9826 or visit

Media contact :
Tami Wroath, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
Harn Museum of Art
352.392.9826 x116

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