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The Poetics of Transculture at Queens College Art Center Features Two Site-Specific Installations: Universal Language by Franca Marini and AΣTORIA in Poetry and Images // Exile-People-Places by Nicos Alexiou

-- An Italian Artist and a Greek American Poet and Artist Create Original Installations
Inspired by Language and Place -


When: Wednesday, September 9 - Friday, October 30, 2009
Monday-Thursday, 9 am - 8 pm; Friday, 9 am - 5 pm
Where: The Queens College Art Center
(partner of the Kupferberg Center for the Arts
Queens College, Rosenthal Library, 6th Floor
65-30 Kissena Boulevard, Flushing
Artists' Talk
And Reception: Wednesday, September 16, 6 - 8 pm; Artists’ Talks 6 - 7 pm
Related Events: Thursday, September 10, 4 - 6 pm: Urban Lines, video by Franca Marini
Screening and talk by Marini

Thursday, September 24, 6–8 pm
An Evening of Poetry, Art & Music with Nicos Alexiou

GalleryContacts: (718) 997-3770;;

FLUSHING, NY, August 27, 2009 – Reopening after a one-year hiatus, the Queens College Art Center is presenting The Poetics of Transculture—a pair of site-specific installations by contemporary Italian artist Franca Marini and contemporary Greek Amercan poet and artist Nicos Alexiou. Inspired by language and place, each artist has created an intimate space, allowing visitors to experience cultural parallels of two intertwined installations. Marini and Alexiou use their personal histories as vehicles for creating art that develops new languages of discovery and understanding.

In her installation, Universal Language, Marini uses fiber, wire, wax and pigment to create a site-specific sculpture, entirely surrounding the gallery at 138 feet in circumference. The mixed-media work was inspired by the unique space of the Queens College Art Center gallery, the importance of written language for human knowledge, and the metaphor of space in libraries. “Art is an instrument capable of making contact between a subconscious, profound dimension and the external world—capable of creating a link, a status of resonance with others,” says Marini. “Artistic images are complex representations. The greater the level of elaboration in terms of form and content, the greater the artistic value and expressive power of its communication.”

Franca Marini, detail of Universal Language, 2009

Marini is a multimedia artist whose work plays with the dimensions of urban lines, landscapes and transculture. Formally trained as a painter, she is also known for her sculptural collage aesthetic-- using an array of materials in her work, including paint, metal, wood, fabric, marble and wire, as well as her large abstract paintings. Universal Language is the culmination of Marini’s work in these diverse media. Her video Urban Lines captures the delicate nature of transculture through visual collages similar to her sculpture.

A native of Siena, Italy, Marini studied painting at the San Francisco Art Institute and the Istituto Statale d’Arte Duccio di Buoninsegna, Siena, and received her Master of Arts in Painting from the Accademia di Belle Arti of Florence. She has been awarded grants, residencies and other support from the New York Foundation for the Arts; Buffalo State College SUNY; the American University, Corciano (Perugia, Italy); and other institutions. Marini has exhibited widely in Italy and the United States, and her work is in many collections around the world. She currently teaches painting at the Siena Program of Buffalo State College/SUNY and at the Siena School for Liberal Arts.

In AΣTORIA in Poetry and Images // Exile-People-Places, Nicos Alexiou responds to the rich history of Astoria, Queens, long-term home to the largest Greek community outside of Greece. He writes of his two homelands in his poetry, using both English and Greek to express the Greek identity in America. Reflecting AΣTORIA’s bilingual sensibilities, Greek and English versions of Alexiou’s poetry are installed on the gallery walls. The words of his poems flow around paintings, photographs and sculptures by featured Greek American artists, surrounding the viewer as they evoke transcultural identity: “Exile / is one of the saddest fates / The instance of exile / is a long and difficult night …”

Nicos Alexiou studied economics in his native Greece before coming to the United States in 1960 to study sociology. Since 1990 he has taught in the department of sociology and the Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College. Author of four books of poetry, he also writes about ethnic identity, mass media, and issues concerning the Greek American community.

The exhibition is co-sponsored by The Center for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at Queens College ( It is free and open to the public. Photographs, as well as biographical and sales information, are available upon request.

Visitors to The Poetics of Transculture may also want to see Natural and Supernatural: Andean Textiles and Material Culture at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum on campus (September 8–October 24, 2009). For information on this exhibition and its events, please visit

For directions to Queens College, please visit

For a campus map, go to (Rosenthal Library/Art Center).

The Queens College Art Center, founded in 1987, succeeds the Queens College Art Library Gallery established in 1960. In more than 200 exhibitions to date, the Art Center has shown masters like Alice Neel, Joseph Cornell, and Elizabeth Catlett, and introduced scores of artists from around the globe. Focusing on modern and contemporary programming expressive of the best art of our time, this display space presents the works of emerging and established artists in diverse media. Art Center exhibitions support the educational and cultural objectives of Queens College. The shared goal of the Queens College Art Center and of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College is to provide the means for participating in and upholding a democratic society through learning, adaptation, and critical thinking.


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(718) 997-5593

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