I’d heard his name long before I got the chance to chat with him. He’s well known around town as a teacher and Renaissance man of the visual arts. Lots of folks find their way to JC from across the river, but Gurevich found his way from Leningrad, where he was born in 1937.
His early life was a crazy quilt of artistic triumphs. His work was first exhibited at age 15. He was awarded a Master of Fine Arts in 1961. That same year, a Marcel Marceau performance got him interested in pantomime, but his own performances ran afoul of the Soviet government, and in 1976—an auspicious year for him and for his adopted country—he immigrated to the United States, landing in Brooklyn.
Two years later, he’d found affordable digs at 282 Barrow St.—a real pioneering move—and he’s been there ever since.
“It was dangerous to live here in 1978,” he says. “Much worse than Detroit is right now, but I had a beautiful two-floor duplex. New Yorkers thought I was from another planet.”
In the U.S., he continued to weave a rich tapestry of artistic work: sculpture, painting, architecture, interior design, music, and theater.
“In my journey through the arts, I don’t limit myself—whatever comes to my mind,” he says. “I’ve never worked with glass, but everything else. I don’t have a preference.” Despite his success as a working artist, Gurevich taught art until 2004—at Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts, at St. John’s University, and in Jersey City, where he founded Arts on the Hudson in 1998 after discovering that his son’s school did not offer art classes. Gurevich’s program included drawing, painting, music, African dance, stained glass, sculpture, martial arts, pantomime, and web design. He currently teaches privately.
He is also on the board of the Museum of Russian Art at 80 Grand St., which opened in 1979. The museum is in a “difficult situation,” he says, “because the rent went up tremendously, and nobody buys artwork.”
Gurevich’s sculptures are on display at Newark Penn Station. He has also shown works in Jersey City at St. Michael’s Church at 252 Ninth St., and at Jersey Wine and Spirits, 492 Jersey Ave., where sculptures and pastels are on exhibit. A room in the back of the store has close to 30 pieces of art in various media.
A blurb for his first book, Allegories, (April 2014) describes his transition from Soviet Russia to the U.S. “In time came adjustment to a new country and new relationships, and with this integration, lush colors burst forth in still life, portraiture, and photographs.”
Says Gurevich, “If you’re an artist, you should be able to do anything.”—Kate Rounds
282 Barrow St.
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