MIR Appraisal Services has recently had the opportunity to appraise a lifetime of work for Lithuanian artist Aleksandra Kasuba. Scheduled to have a retrospective showing of her work, the 95 year old artist has had an extensive career.
Aleksandra Kasuba has been variously described as an environmental artist, urban planner, architect, and designer of living spaces, often employing a myriad of materials, such as fabric, marble, and brick, in unique, never before thought of ways, in service of developing a more responsible and sustainable relationship to the natural world.
Born in Ginkūnai, Lithuania, in 1923, Kasuba studied formally at the Art Institute in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1942-1943; and at the Art Academy in Vilnius, Lithuania, in the latter half of 1943. She immigrated to the Unites States with her husband and recently born daughter, in 1947, settling in Queens, New York. Her husband, also an artist, took a job as a wood carver for an established furniture maker in the area. In 1949, their son Alexander was born, and in 1963 they purchased a brownstone in Manhattan and moved to the city.
Kasuba eventually began making a name for herself, securing numerous group and solo exhibitions, architectural installations, and awards, in New York City and along the East Coast, including Black Marble Mosaics, at the Waddell Gallery, New York City, inn 1966; Artists/Architect Collaboration, American Craft Museum, New York City, in 1962; AIA Artist Architect Collaboration Award, with Edward L. Barnes (American, 1915-2004), in 1971; and numerous additional speaking engagements, articles and reviews.
Central to her early career were the many public commissions for new plaza and building façade renovations requiring complex brick, marble and granite paving installations. Projects in this format include the Lincoln Hospital, Bronx, New York, in 1973; 560 Lexington Avenue, New York City, in 1981; and the Old Post Office Plaza, Washington, D.C., also in 1981.
Mid-career Kasuba turned to fabric and the development of tensile membrane structures. This led to the Whiz Bang Quick City installation, in 1972, in Woodstock, New York; Wave Hill installation, in 1973, at the Center for Environmental Studies, the Bronx, New York; and the Spectral Passage installation, in 1975, at the M. H. DeYoung Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California.
The latter portion of her career, 2001 to 2010, was spent in New Mexico developing Shell Dwellings using what she calls her K-Method. The work is similar to her earlier experimentation with curvilinear translucent membrane structures, but built with hardened external surfaces and employing standard construction materials.