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Art is one of the ways people communicate with one another. Every work of art brings the viewer to into a special kind of relationship, both with whoever has created or is creating the art and also with everyone else who—together with him, or before or afterwards—is subject to that
artistic impression.
—Leo Tolstoy

It would be a mistake to ascribe this creative power
to an inborn talent.
In art, the genius creator is not just a gifted being, but a person who has succeeded in arranging for their appointed end, a complex of activities, of which the work is the outcome, requiring an effort.
—Henri Matisse

Art is so varied that to reduce it to any single purpose, be it even the salvation of mankind, is an abomination before the Lord.
—Nikolai Gumilev

Conception, my boy, fundamental brain work,
is what makes all the difference in art.
—Dante Gabriel Rosetti

Art is art.
Everything else is everything else.
—Ad Reinhardt

It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance…
and I know of no substitute whatever
for the force and beauty of its process.
—Henry James

It's not what you look at that matters,
it's what you see.
—Henry David Thoreau

Diverging Perspectives

Diverging Perspectives puts radically differing cinematic adaptations of carefully selected works of literature side by side. In particular, it pits the takes of directors from a work's cultural tradition against directors from around the world. The contrasting filmings of a single literary work generate a uniquely fascinating theater experience.

Diverging Perspectives provokes the audience to consider crucial questions about the very nature of these to art forms—what cinema and art really are, the interrelationships among different art forms, whether the divide can be bridged ­ and, if so, how.

The audience is primed for each viewing with talks—short, incisive, informative, provocative–by filmmakers and film experts.

After each film Diverging Perspectives viewing they are given an opportunity to react in a guided but open discussion.

ALL FILMS are for the ENGLISH-SPEAKING public and are subtitled wherever necessary.

Go to the Diverging Perspectives Program Page

Actual Performance!

In the latter part of the 20th century, new art forms took center stage. Prominent were creative acts that were said to generate no artistic “product,” most centrally—performance art. There is a subculture for which performance is all around us; its members are insiders who know where to find it and how to engage it. Yet how many of us have never so much as seen performance art?! Given the pivotal importance of performance in the contemporary art context, it is crucial that we acquire a real knowledge and understanding of it. Actual Performance! makes that possible. Actual Performance! delivers the direct experience at the heart of performance, raising diverse and exciting ways to view contemporary performance art.

Actual Performance! delivers the direct experience at the heart of performance, raising diverse and exciting ways to view contemporary performance art.

Go to the Actual Performance! Program Page

The New Russian Literature

Causa Artium joins forces with the Debut Prize to bring you the top talent in young, fresh Russian writing. Debut is Russia's preeminent literary prize for new writers; it is no exaggeration to say that, over the last dozen years, Debut has almost single-handedly defined the country's newest literary generation. The New Russian Literature introduces Russia's most compelling young writers, poets, playwrights and critics to America. Hear their latest and most important work, talk with them about their art and their world! Hear how they see their country—and ours, what issues are important to them, what art and literature mean to their generation.

The New Russian Literature has already created major public readings and discussions in New York, Washington, D. C, Chicago, Boston and Toronto.

You will hear some Russian, but these events are created for the general English-speaking public.

Go to The New Russian Literature Program Page

Our Movies & the Russians

Film is at the eye of the storm—where art meets life. As art, it may have little interest in faithfully representing the outside world. And yet betrays truths about that world, sometimes where we least expect it. To see how the Western view of Russia has grown, developed, and changed over time in relation to domestic and international realities is to gain a new insight into how difficult it is to penetrate the prepared images, the straw men and scapegoats, to discern where objectivity slides into preconception.

Our movies are an ideal record of our opinions. American films sometimes focus on Russia for its own sake; at other times, Russia's image becomes a vehicle for discussing issues closer to home; sometimes, Russia is in the background, giving away the hidden truth in its purest form.

ALL FILMS are for the ENGLISH-SPEAKING public and are subtitled wherever necessary.

Go to the Our Movies & the Russians Program Page

The Russian Documentary Film Festival

The Russian Documentary Film Festival (RDFF) is an established annual New York cinema happening. Now in its seventh year, RDFF brings New York a diverse range of the best contemporary Russian documentary filmmaking. RDFF is a “festival of festivals” - all films screened are already winners of Russian and international film festivals. RDFF is co-presented by Causa Artium and The New Review, the world's longest continually running Russian emigre literary journal.

Over three glorious days, RDFF 2014 features the US premieres of over twenty award-winning documentaries. The films will focus in on key moments and themes in Russia's present and past, contemporary society, its artists and writers, heroes, victims, sinners and saints, and most of all—top-notch artistic cinema in the documentary field.


Go to the Russian Documentary Film Festival Program Page

The Seventh Annual Russian Documentary Film Festival in New York

From Friday, October 10, through Sunday, October 12, 2014
at Tribeca Cinemas (54 Varick Street, Manhattan)

Additional screenings will be held at DCTV (Downtown Community Television Centre - 87 Lafayette St., Manhattan), Brooklyn Public Library (10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn) and Russian Centre «Otrada» (Village of Chestnut Ridge, NYS).

The Markson/Lowry Project

The Markson/Lowry Project looks at one of the most important and least known lines in our English language literature. The project runs year-round, but centers upon an annual event featuring writers, literary experts, and celebrities; a conference dedicated to works in this Joycean tradition; and an annual publication.

The Markson/Lowry Project dissipates the myth of unapproachable difficulty that has too long clung to some of our best books. Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano and David Markson's Wittgenstein's Mistress are cult classics: few works are as seldom read and yet so revered and ecstatically beloved by those who know them. In this, as in so much else, they genuinely belong to the tradition of Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake.

These novels are prime representatives of a kind of literature that deserves more penetrating attention from the greater public.

Go to The Markson/Lowry Program Page


Poetry on the Video Bridge brings the finest, most crucial and intriguing contemporary poetry up close. Learn who the poet is, see how the poetry works.

Every month, TransVerse brings a poet from another country and language, another living tradition, to the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue.

The poet’s translator helps explain what the poet is known for, what the poet represents, what sets the poet apart.

Then the projector is powered up and the poet appears on the screen in person via video link. After a few words about personal experience, the poet reads a selection of poems.

The moderator and translator take the reading into a conversation with the poet in which the audience is ultimately invited to join directly.

Go to The TransVerse Program Page

At the New York Public Library, specific times and locations TBD.