Nikolai Kasak and Arte Madí


Nikolai Kasak in his apartment/studio with Arte Madí pieces, Riverdale, New York. Photographer unknown. Late 1960s.

Nikolai Kasak in his apartment/studio with Arte Madí pieces, Riverdale, New York. Photographer unknown. Late 1960s.

The Institute for Studies on Latin American Art (ISLAA) is pleased to announce that the Estate of Nikolai Kasak has chosen ISLAA to house the portion of his archive that pertains to his involvement with Arte Madí movement. The loan will span a period of five years.

Nikolai Kasak was a Belarussian-born Concrete Abstract artist who was based in New York and had ties to Latin America, particularly Argentina, through his participation in the Arte Madí movement.

Founded by Gyula Kosice in 1946, Arte Madí was an artistic group formed in Buenos Aires that pursued Geometric Abstraction in a playful form and aimed to promote a true Constructivist spirit throughout all countries and cultures. In 1950, Kosice invited Kasak to join this movement, which marked the beginning of an artistic collaboration that spanned decades. The original invitation letter is one of many diverse objects in this archive, which also contains photographs, posters, exhibition announcements, publications, and correspondence between Kasak, Kosice, and other artists of the Madí movement. These materials reveal small details, such as sharing a critic’s positive review, to larger feats, like publishing an exhibition catalogue, that elucidate the innerworkings of this intercontinental artistic movement. In particular, his letters to fellow participants Juan Bay and Sandu Darie, based in Argentina and Cuba respectively, demonstrate that shared artistic ideologies go beyond the borders of nations.   

In addition to acting as a custodian of his legacy, ISLAA is proud to promote Kasak’s connection to the concrete movement of Arte Madí, and place Nikolai Kasak within the broader context of mid-century Latin American art.

The archive is currently in its first phase of preparation and is still being researched. Please email us to schedule an appointment if you would like to visit the archive.


 

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