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Still Cities

Czech Center New York presents Still Cities, a Czech-American group photo exhibition. Czech photographer Karel Cudlín brings us photos of Prague during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the five featured U.S. photographers (Lanna Apisukh, Nika De Carlo, Kay Hickman, Cameron Phan, Sam Salganik) take us through the looking glass to New York City under quarantine. Brought to viewers in cooperation with the Czech Centers; on view from June 29 exclusively on the online Czech Center Gallery.


Spring 2020. It was a strange thing. It is a strange thing. The world, piece-by-piece, shut down. It was quasi-apocalyptic. It was almost, if not entirely, without modern precedent. And yet, into this new space, this new reality, this newly empty space of cities, human energy and presence thrived, adapted. Emotions swung wildly as we distanced ourselves from one another physically, while trying to stay close. The images in this show are about this swing, this moment—interior and exterior. The photographers, from an iconic Czech documentarian to young New York City practitioners, connect and reveal their worlds, their experiences, themselves. They show us how something can be at once both oddly empty and yet vitally full. There is humanity here. There always will be, as we cling to one another in quiet, still space. -- Thomas Beachdel, Ph.D.


“In these coronavirus-ridden times, it was not possible to go through with your own projects planned in advance, work projects were canceled, and so I at least attempted to capture the atmosphere of a suddenly crowdless Prague... I realized just how fragile our world and civilization are -- we often feel like we are entitled to everything and that nothing can jeopardize us... The coronavirus [pandemic] has shown us that in a short amount of time, everything can completely change.”


“Since the coronavirus took hold of New York City and stay-at-home orders became in effect, I’ve been drawn to photographing the rare stillness in my neighborhood of Bushwick and the unusually sparse public spaces around the city. Captured during the height of spring, these images share the strange and beautiful season that many of us New Yorkers experienced while quickly adapting to change and social distance measures with resilience and spirit.”


“For me, quarantine meant turning inwards and facing parts of myself that I had been previously ignoring. This grew into re-learning how to trust myself and my partner, and ultimately being reminded of the healing power of love.”


“Quarantine for me was a mandatory pause. I was fearful for my life and it made me re- evaluate life.”


“During the quarantine of this pandemic in 2020, I have found affirmation in personal frequencies, motivations, values, and way of life; such as that fast-paced living is only a part of the American dream and the idealized American hustle. These are not always the best way to live. I’ve also found comfort in affirming that darkness is a necessary part in the balance of lightness in life.”


“There are sick people living in this building — with love and proper mental health counseling — we might make it through this atrocious affair...”

The group photo exhibition is on view from June 29 to July 31, 2020 exclusively on the online Czech Center Gallery.

Contact for journalists:
Petra Jungwirthová, Press Officer of Czech Centres, M: 725 890 030, E: jungwirthova@czech.cz; komunikace@czech.cz; T: 234 668 237, 234 668 241, 234 668 251

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