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Report From Romania

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This Friday is the last chance to see Tangible Instability: Contemporary Art in Romania at the Barat College Art Gallery, but an expanded version of the exhibit, "Palpable Disequilibrium," opens November 7 at LIPA Gallery in Chicago and runs through December 7. A pair of panel discussions--one in each location--herald the closing and reopening of the interactive show. At the suburban panel, artists Dan and Lia Perjovschi and curator (and former Around the Coyote director) Olga Stefan will discuss the social and political context of their work and that of the other artists, Ioan Godeanu and Teodor Graur, in the Barat show. Since the overthrow of Nicolae Ceausescu's communist dictatorship in 1989, Romania has been struggling with the transition to democracy. Stefan, who moved from Bucharest to Chicago in 1983 but has been back since to research the art scene, says much remains unchanged: "There's a thick carpet of corruption, and many of the people who were in power before the revolution are still in power." Most of the goods available are imported and sell at prices comparable to those in America, but the average worker makes only about $100 a month. With annual inflation hitting over 40 percent in the years following the revolution, the middle class all but disappeared. Meanwhile, the art world is rigid and conventional; Stefan says work like Dan Perjovschi's satirical drawings and his wife's "Endless Collection," two panels containing photographs of globes (to which she invites gallery visitors to contribute their own objects featuring globes), is "maligned" in their homeland. The discussion begins at 5 PM on November 6 in Barat's Duchesne Room, 700 E. Westleigh in Lake Forest. The gallery (in the same building) is open from 11 to 5 October 31; call 847-574-4123 for more information. The talk at LIPA, 160 E. Illinois in Chicago, starts at 6 PM on November 7; call 312-329-0812. Both events are free.

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