Lviv Reopens Art Galleries ‘to Show We Are Alive’

In fact, sometimes art accelerates, even as bombs rain down.

Two Ukrainian artists, Vlada Ralko and Volodymyr Budnikov, spent a month living in an unused gallery in the suddenly empty palace after the Russian invasion, Mr. Voznyak said. They donated dozens of works they had produced, many of them depicting the war, to the museum.

“This art was created in these times, in this palace, it’s living art,” the director said, adding that the work would be exhibited in late spring or summer, perhaps in a castle about 50 miles east of Lviv.

Western Ukraine is awash with castles, a legacy of its past under several rulers, including Poland and the Austro-Hungarian empire. The city’s center is stamped by the influences of several cultures, and because it was an administrative capital, it has long been a center for art and opera.

Mr. Voznyak is unabashedly chauvinistic about his country’s strong artistic traditions, an outgrowth of Ukraine being at the crossroads since medieval times of a main trade route between Europe, India and China.

“I don’t want to offend Americans but everyone grows up in a certain aesthetic environment,” he said, going on to inevitably offend some Americans. “It’s not absolute, but if you grew up in a place like this you have a better chance of having taste.”

A moment later he pointed out the American, Australian, Canadian, British, Polish and Lithuanian flags flying next to the Ukrainian flag outside the gallery in recognition of their help in Ukraine’s war effort. A Swiss company was providing help free of charge, he said, to turn humid underground spaces into temperature-regulated storage sites for some of the artwork.

“We have hung the flags of our allies — those who help us most to preserve both the museum and this city,” he said.


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