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Le Méridien Vilnius | The Contemporary Art Centre

The Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (CAC) presents a range of international and Lithuanian contemporary art exhibitions, organizes conferences, lectures, Internet projects, film screenings and musical evenings. The CAC publishes catalogues and booklets for these events. It also maintains an INFO LAB, where the public can access books, journals, videos, CD/DVDs and the Internet.

The building was inaugurated in 1968 as the Art Exhibition Palace, and was run as a branch of the Lithuanian Museum of Art until 1988. Since 1992, the CAC has been an independent/separate institution principally funded by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture.
The CAC is the largest venue for contemporary art in the Baltic States total and one of the largest art institutions in Post-Soviet Europe: with exhibition space of 2400 square metres. The CAC is committed to developing a broad range of international and Lithuanian exhibition projects and also presents a wide range of public programs including lectures, seminars, performances, film and video screenings, and live new music events.

Since October 2004, the CAC has produced its own show for commercial Lithuanian television (see CAC TV In the experimental spirit of the CAC every episode is a pilot, and every program is the final episode, imagine:
An amorphous group of social misfits and cultural outcasts are handed the reigns of a fledgling television program. Not having any experience in making television, they decide to re-invent the medium. CAC/TV is a time-slot for imagining alternate realities.

Since 2005, the CAC has produced CAC INTERVIU “the quarterly conversation about art”. The magazine which reached its 6th issue in December 2006 is a bilingual (Lithuanian & English) interview based publication (also containing editorials and book reviews) that is focused on covering the Baltic region with a view on topical international events (such as major Biennales) that impact on art produced everywhere. There is an international editorial board to assist with editorial advice, topical information, and distribution. Produced in a print run of 3,000 copies per issue 2,000 copies will be distributed within Lithuania and 1,000 copies internationally.

Also established in 2005, are the CAC/CAFÉ TALKS recognized as Vilnius’ premier international lecture event. Presented on the first Wednesday of every the CAC Café Talk’s are a social forum for the discussion of topical international issues in culture, economics, and politics impacting upon the production, exhibition, and reception of contemporary art. CAC Cafe Talks have strengthened ties between the CAC and the Lithuanian academic community, including the Vilnius Art Academy (which has a course that accrues credits by attending) as it has brought a range of cultural producers including esteemed Professors to talk on a range of cultural issues. Speakers have included Philippe Vergne (associate-director Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, USA), Chrissie Iles (associate-director Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA), Prof. Germaine Greer (feminist, UK/AUS), Jan Utzon (architect renowned for Sydney Opera House, DEN), Prof. Csaba Toth (Historian, University of Pittsburg), Joerg Heiser (Editor, FRIEZE magazine)., Ken Lum (artist, academic Professor, CAN).
The Contemporary Art Centre organizes approximately five/six large-scale exhibition projects per annum (including retrospectives, surveys, and international group shows) in conjunction with up to 15 smaller projects. The CAC is well known internationally as the home of the Baltic Triennial of International Art one of the major contemporary festival exhibitions in Northern Europe; in 2005 BMW (Black Market Worlds) the IX Baltic Triennial was positively reviewed by international specialist press. In April-June 2005 the CAC was one of the four partner institutions that presented POPULISM one of the largest scale exhibitions staged in Europe. Curated by Lars Bang Larsen, Cristina Ricupero, and Nicolaus Schafhausen the exhibition of 85 artists opens simultaneously at the CAC, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Oslo Museum of Contemporary Art and Architecture, and the Stedlijk Amsterdam.
Every two years the CAC also makes a review of developments in Lithuanian art and in 2006 it presented 101.3 KM: competition and collaboration (a Vilnius and Kaunas exchange project)

In the last five years the CAC has presented retrospectives and solo exhibitions of work by some of the most important artists of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as: Georg Baselitz, Tony Cragg, Max Ernst, Nam June Paik, George Maciunas, Man Ray, Bridget Riley, and Andy Warhol. The CAC has also commissioned special projects by young generation internationally recognized artists, such as: Emmanuelle Antille, Knut Åsdam, Pierre Bismuth, A K Dolven, Elke Krystufek, Katrzyna Kozyra, Jonathan Monk, and Joao Penalva.

Selected major international art projects include: High Tide: new currents in art from Australia and New Zealand, 2006; On Mobility, 2006; My World: the new subjectivity in design, 2006; Slow Rushes: Takes on the documentary sensibility in moving images from around Asia and the Pacific, 2004; Dutch Bureau: Contemporary Art Projects from The Netherlands, 2004; 24/7: Vilnius/New York 2003; Nothing: Exploring the Invisible in the Contemporary Art, 2001; Desiring Eye (Retrospective of Photography from the Modern Museum in Stockholm Collection, 2000); Can You Hear Me? (2nd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art, 2000); Cool Places (7th Triennial of Baltic Contemporary Art, 1999); 80/90 Mirrors of Our Time (Selections from the International Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo), 1999; Twilight (international new media art exhibition), 1998; Dimension 0 (International festival of performance art), 1997; Funny versus Bizarre (Contemporary art from the Nordic and Baltic countries), 1997; Aurora 6 (Triennial of young artists from the Nordic countries), 1995.

In 2007 CAC commences a new role as a teaching institution — an international Masters Degree for curatorial studies —in collaboration with Vilnius Art Academy. The program in which the M.A. is delivered is a joint teaching partnership between five European academies/universities in Devon, England; Girona, Spain; Llubjana, Slovenia; Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

In addition to in-house exhibitions in 2007 the CAC is the commissioning institution of the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. Presenting the work of Gediminas & Nomeda Urbonas and a project titled Villa Lituania, see: This is the second time that CAC has organized the Lithuanian national pavilion as it presented the work of Deimantas Narkevicius at Venice in 2001.

Because at this time the CAC is the only large-scale public exhibiting institution in the centre of Vilnius, with multi-media technical capabilities it also plays host to a number of externally organized cultural events. Importantly, the CAC derives commercial rental income, positive partnership promotion and advertising profiling, and builds broad audience and community relations, from hosting these events. Cultural events include: Fashion Infection (Vilnius Fashion Days), Gaida Music Festival, Vilnius Music Festival, ‘Young’ Music Festival (of electronic music), Serenos Theatre Festival, Vilnius Animation Festival, Lithuanian International Performance Art Biennale, and Vilnius Wine Days.




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