My new Ioan Popoiu masterpiece, a painting alive with brushstrokes emphasizing color over all else rests on the floor. Powerful paintings are a challenge. Where to hang them that won’t wash out everything else?

Ioan Popoiu Masterpiece
Romanian Blanket (translated) by Ioan Popoiu

In 1984, Ioan Popoiu forced the communist regime in Romania to let him leave by going on a 45 day hunger strike. When I met him, ten years ago, his weight had not returned.

But his passion for art never left. Ioan, pronounced “E1,” is a colorist. That’s what got my attention when I started writing art reviews for the Main Street WIRE on Roosevelt Island.

His abstract paintings did not simply hang from the walls. They radiated off them.

Pictures dazzled Gallery RIVAA in New York City with Blanket of Ash and Lapilli, an exhibit emphasizing Ioan’s concerns about environmental devastation. All done magically and effectively in abstract.

Ioan came a long way from Romania to New York in 2019.

In the spring, he became the first artist invited to show his work, enlivening public space at Cornell Tech in the Tata Innovation Center.

My Ioan Popoiu Masterpiece…

Romanian Blanket (my translation) rests on my floor, leaned against a bookcase. Where can we put it that won’t lessen everything else on the walls nearby?

There is no easy answer.

The beauty of the art goes without question, but great beauty can diminish everything around it, if it doesn’t find a good fit.

Of course, for me, there’s an advantage.

I get to stare at it. It’s right in front of me now. And I get to keep doing it until I’m able to figure out just where it should go.

This might take a while.

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