March 28, 2017
Op Art Loses One of Its Leading Figures With Death of Julian Stanczak
ArtNet News, 03/29/2017
Perwana Nazif


Op Art Loses One of Its Leading Figures With Death of Julian Stanczak
ArtNet News, 03/29/2017
Perwana Nazif

He created vividly-colored, geometric canvases that dazzled the eye.

Julian Stanczak, a leading member of the Op Art movement and influential professor of art, died at his home in Seven Hills, Ohio on March 25.

Stanczak was widely known for his vividly-colored canvases covered in geometric shapes and grids. His works placed emphasis on the act of perception through movement, placing him as a forerunner in the short-lived Op Art movement of the 1960s.

In fact, the movement was named after his first major show, “Julian Stanczak: Optical Paintings,” which was staged at New York’s Martha Jackson Gallery in 1964.

The artist was born in Borownica, Poland in 1928, and worked at a labor camp in Siberia during World War II. He escaped at age 14, but not before he developed encephalitis, which resulted in a non-functional right arm. Despite his disability, Stanczak painted with his left arm.

He eventually made his way to London to study art, and in 1950, left for America to study at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Later, at Yale University, he famously studied under renowned Modernist painter Josef Albers. His mature paintings offered complex compositions with a play on varying color transparencies and opacities.

Stanczak taught painting at the Art Academy of Cincinnati from 1957 to 1964 and, later, the Cleveland Institute of Art from 1964 to 1995. His students included artists April Gornik and Dana Schutz.

Stanczak’s paintings can be found in the collections of New York’s MoMA, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and several more. Exhibitions by the artist have also been staged at venues throughout the United States, such as New York’s New Museum and the San Jose Museum of Art in California.

Grafton Nunes, president of the Cleveland Institute of Art, announced via that a service will be held at Ferfolia Funeral Home, in order to “provide the opportunity for everyone to pay their respects.”

“Thoughts and reflections can be offered as we remember our personal inspirations from Julian,” wrote Nunes.

The artist died under hospice care after being treated for pneumonia and other illnesses, stated his wife in an email, according to an earlier story on

He is survived by his wife, sculptor Barbara Stanczak, as well as his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother, and daughter-in-law.

Perwana Nazif

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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