'Race' ing Sideways (Scroll down for quote by Art Historian, Henry Sayre

Nikolai Buglaj (Solo Exhibit) (Nikolai's web pages)

e-mail Nikolai at: VAL   

at UMDNJ-RWJMS- The Student Lounge

675 Hoes Lane, Piscataway, NJ    

September 1- October 29, 2003

Hours: 9AM-6PM Monday through Friday.

Weekends by appointment.

Visual Arts League, 1007 Old Bridge Turnpike, East Brunswick, NJ 08816  U.S.A. ó Phone: 732.254.7611 - Fax: 732.254.2707

Contact: Judy Wray August 23th, 2003

VAL is proud to sponsor Nikolai Buglaj at UMDNJ-RWJMS. For thirty years Nikolai has resided with a foot in the door to South River, NJ, and the other foot adjacent to Lincoln Center, NY. About 3 months ago he came to our attention through a common acquaintance at Office Max.

Now he will have a one man show September 1 through October 29. We created web pages for him and his web site URL is on the card/invitation. In November he will visit Metuchen library, exhibiting his work and on November 8 & 9th he will visit the library and work on his art and meet the visitors to the library.

Nikolai is a local treasure with some fame. Below, you can read what the renowned art historian Henry Sayre has to say about Nikolai and one of his drawings "Race" ing Sideways.

"Nikolai Buglaj is a master of illusion, an artist whose sleight of hand rivals the magicianís. But unlike the charlatan or the trickster, Buglaj makes his magic visible. He draws our eyes into his game and leaves us wondering at what we come to see as the simple truth of our perception.

Take for instance, his drawing "Race"ing Sideways. Thirteen racers, which Buglaj conceived as mannequins in an installation, are tied for the lead in a race no one seems intent on winning. From left to right, their skin color changes from white to black, even as their clothing changes from black to white, a double version of the traditional " value" scale. But what "values" are at stake here? The runners are moving forward uniformly, all equally "making progress". But this equality is an illusion. Left to right, our "values" change. They reveal themselves to be governed by questions of race (skin color) and class (clothing color, i.e., "white collar", "blue collar"), and we understand that what we are seeing is a stinging indictment of the lack of progress we have made in race and class relations in this country.

For Buglaj, perceptual illusion replicates cultural illusion. His work reveals the ways in which we trick ourselves.


Henry M. Sayre is distinguished Professor of Art History at Oregon State University-Cascades Campus in Bend, Oregon. In his writing and research, Sayre focuses on the arts and their interrelations, particularly on contemporary genres such as performance and installation. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including three from the national Endowment for the Humanities. In 1997, he completed production of a ten part televison series, A World of Art: Works in Progress, co-produced with Oregon Public Broadcasting and first aired on PBS in the fall of 1997. He is the author of six books and co-editor of another, including The Object of Performance. The American Avante-Garde since 1970, Writing About Art, and the widely used art appreciation textbook A World of Art. He is currently working on a six volume history of the Western Humanities, Centers of Culture, and a new critical study, Going on: Narrative, Performance, and the Ends of Art.


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