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Shimon Okshteyn, American, (March 10th, 1951–April 8th, 2020) Primary


Sofa, 1995 20th Century
Acrylic on canvas and mixed media on sofa
49 x 60 in. (124.46 x 152.4 cm)

Installation
Gift of Tatyana Okshteyn
2022.009

Shimon Okshteyn was born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, and graduated from the Grekov Art College in Odessa before emigrating to the United States in 1980. His numerous bodies of work, frequently created in series, run the gamut of media —painting, sculpture, monumental drawing and installation — in his exploration of the “life” of objects, from their ideal conceptualization in the mind to their transitory reality at the mercy of their makers and users. Objects are made to be used, but the wear and tear they endure is for our benefit, not for their own. When we’ve worn out the things we love, we typically throw them away.

This piece first appeared in Grinnell as part of the artist’s exhibition, Aging Icons, presented at the Grinnell College Museum of Art (then called the Faulconer Gallery) in 2002. We have nine works by Shimon Okshteyn in the College’s art collection, including three gifts made by the artist on the occasion of that exhibition 20 years ago.

Shimon Okshteyn died from complications of Covid-19 in 2020. His wife, Tatyana Okshteyn, proprietor of Black & White Gallery in Brooklyn, New York, has made this and three other additional gifts this year in honor of Shimon’s long relationship with the Museum and Grinnell College. We are especially mindful of presenting his work at this time of trauma and injustice being cruelly inflicted upon the Ukrainian nation and people he loved.

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