Dan Perjovschi. WHAT HAPPENED TO US? 2007. Permanent marker on wall. Installation view. ©2007 Dan Perjovschi. Photo: Robin Holland

For his first solo museum exhibition in the United States, the Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi was invited to create a large-scale drawing installation, executed over a period of two weeks directly onto the wall of The Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium. Inspired by current events reported on television and in newspaper and tabloid headlines, Perjovschi explores political topics including the Middle East conflict and the recent extension of the European Union. Through concise phrases and wordplay, his sketches and skits portray reality with a sense of criticality and pointed humor. The work’s rhetorical title, WHAT HAPPENED TO US?, offers a textual pun, in which US may refer either to the subjective pronoun “us” or to the proper noun “United States of America.”

Perjovschi’s drawings have been widely disseminated-from the walls of museums to the pages of newspapers. Since 1990, following the demise of Communism in Eastern Europe and the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the artist has contributed hundreds of witty and incisive observations to literary and political journals, such as Contrapunct and 22. The latter was the first independent oppositional weekly published in Romania in the aftermath of the Democratic Revolution. Taking its name from the date December 22, 1989, the historic day on which Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was ousted from power, 22 is the brainchild of the Group of Social Dialogue, a think tank of dissident writers, artists, and philosophers who endorse freedom of expression and human rights. As an illustrator for 22, and as its former art director, Perjovschi has transformed drawing into a medium of information and political commentary. Expressing complex ideas in rapidly executed, off-the-cuff drawings, Perjovschi’s installation propose that art can be engaged without being moralistic.

Exhibition organized by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Department of Photography.

The Projects series is made possible by the Elaine Dannheisser Projects Endowment Fund and by The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art and the JA Endowment Committee.

Special thanks to the Romanian Cultural Institute, New York.

Installation views

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