#3 2005 (08)
RUSSIA’S GOLDEN MAP
In Spring 1960, the Russian Ministry of Culture decreed that an art museum should be recreated in the hero city of Stalingrad. The original Stalingrad picture gallery, opened on the eve of the war in 1938, had been totally destroyed in the bombing of August 1942; leafing through the surviving gallery catalogue, published in 194 1, one is overcome by pain and regret. Repin, Surikov, Ivanov, Korovin, Aivazovsky, Levitan and Polenov are but a few of the eminent Russian artists whose works had been in the old Stalingrad gallery Hundreds of works of art by dozens of outstanding Russian and Soviet painters were gone forever.
150th ANNIVERSARY OF TRETYAKOV GALLERY
The family of Russian merchants from whom Pavel Tretyakov was descended had no long-term roots in Moscow. It was only in 1774 that the family moved to Moscow from Maly Yaroslavets, a small town near Kaluga where the Tretyakovs had long been known as merchants. In 1 832, the founder of the world famous Tretyakov Gallery and Honorary Citizen of Moscow - a title accorded to very few at the end of the 19th century - was born in the old part of Moscow's Zamoskvorechye area, in Yaki- manka in the parish of St Nicholas' Church in Golutvino, the first child in the family of Mikhail Tretyakov and the first representative of the fourth generation of the Tretyakov family.
150th ANNIVERSARY OF TRETYAKOV GALLERY
In 1856, the young collector Pavel Tretyakov purchased his very first painting - Vasily Khudyakov's “Armed Clash with Finnish Smugglers".
150th ANNIVERSARY OF TRETYAKOV GALLERY
Vasily Khudyakov (1826-1871) was famous in the 1860s as a genre painter, the author of excellent portraits and historical paintings, and a brilliant graphic artist. A former serf, he became the only painter from the small Volga merchant town of Simbirsk to be awarded the honorary titles of Academician and Professor of St. Petersburg's Academy of Arts in the mid-19th century.
In 1929, the Zagorsk History and Art Museum passed over the most acclaimed Russian icon, the “Holy Trinity” by Andrei Rublev, which is considered the acme of Russian national art, to the State Tretyakov Gallery; since then the icon has been kept under the constant attention of its curators and restorers. Rublev’s “Holy Trinity” has attracted thousands of people of every creed, profession and age with a common desire to worship this ideal of beauty and true spirituality, executed with perfect artistic means
An exhibition marking the 225th anniversary of Vasily Tropinin (17801857) is running at the Tretyakov Gallery from May 25 to September 4 2005. The artist's creative work belongs to the epoch that is considered the “golden age” of Russian culture.
New York’s Guggenheim Museum will see the opening ofa large-scale art exhibition titled "RUSSIA!” which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. The exhibit is sponsored by Russia’s Federal Agency for Culture and Cinema, together with Vladimir Potanin’s Charitable Foundation.
In May 2006, the Tretyakov Gallery will celebrate its 150th anniversary. As the years pass, we find ourselves constantly returning to Pavel Tretyakov and his vital role in the development of Russian art. A successful merchant and entrepreneur, Tretyakov claimed that "assembling the Russian school, as it is today" was one of his life's goals. 150 years later, we still remember Tretyakov with immense gratitude, such was his gift to society and future generations.
The exhibition “The Body. Art and Science" proved a major attraction in Sweden this Spring, with its eternal, allembracing search for a distinctive identity finding brilliant and eye-catching realization at Stockholm’s National Fine Arts Museum. Its curators and contributors to the catalogue (published in Swedish, with an English summary) included Torsten Weimarck, Merten Snickare, Eva-Lena Bengtsson, Ove Hagelin, Mens Holst- Ekstrum, Karin Siden, Ulrika Nilsson, Eva Ehren Snickare, Solveig Julich, and Ingela Lind. The two forewords to the catalogue were written by Solfrid Soederlind and Jan Lindsten. Generous contributions from museums and private collections from the Netherlands, Germany, Russia, Great Britain, France, Poland and Denmark to the exhibition made the result a major international project.
To visit the Venice Biennale is always an adventure, given the atmosphere of the town defined by the sea, its canals and artistic and architectural jewels of the past. The festival of arts, which was originally situated only in the Giardini, has spread over the years throughout the city, growing to include exhibitions from more than 70 countries, while many shows from independent groups must find their place in the Giardini’s pavilions, or in palaces, churches and cultural centres.
A prominent event in the art world in June was Art 36 Basel - a grandiose international art fair in which 270 galleries from all around the world represented over 1 500 modern and contemporary artists whose "works do not cease to surprise, challenge and delight” viewers, according to Samuel Keller, director of Art Basel. Viewers are given a unique opportunity to purchase really outstanding works of art, whether classics of the 20th century or the most interesting works being created today. "Everything - for Sale!” This slogan turns every visitor to the Basel art fair into a potential buyer.
Twenty chapters, or twenty acts of an unfinished play about artistic life which the German artist Guenther Uecker is destined to complete have become a culminating event in Berlin’s cultural life from March to June 2005, alongside the exhibition “Nefertiti” in the Kunst Forum, and a celebration of the centenary of Albert Einstein.
Kirill Sokolov was an unforgettable character, a cultural ambassador in a boiler-suit, indifferent to the impression he produced, obsessed by art; the creative urge to draw, paint and sculpt and the pedagogic urge to organize the propagation of Russian culture in the West and vice versa. This latter mission, which was laid on him by the circumstances of his personal life, he implemented through arranging exhibitions and, from 1975 when he made the acquaintance of the editor and publisher Frank Malina, through his work as co-editor for LEONARDO, a journal which seeks to link art and science and to present artists to its readership through their own statements. Sokolov organized a whole panorama of publications on individual Russian artists beginning with Vladimir.
On June 7 2005 a new statue was unveiled in Moscow - an impressive monument to Tsar Alexander II which stands by the rebuilt Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. Known as the "Tsar Liberator", Alexander II abolished serfdom in 1861. As well as helping other Slavic peoples in their struggles against the Ottoman Empire, he undertook a number of radical state reforms. Alexander II was something of a martyr - a noble and conscientious ruler who fell victim to the pressures and limitations facing all monarchs.
The very title of this project recalls Russian literary and artistic masterpieces. Its quaintly-staged exhibition included paintings, graphic works and sculptures by such famous Russian artists as Alexander Burganov, Natalya Nesterova, Irina Starzhenetskaya, Olga Gretchina, Maria Burganova, Igor Burganov, Sergei Geta, Dmitry Ikonnkikov, Alexander Zhernokluev, Dmitry Alekseev, Pavel Sherbaum, Julia Smolenkova, and Anastasia Golikova. These works of art created expressly for the exhibition transform modern ideas about the current generation of Russian intellectuals' involvement in the roots of their national self-awareness and in the great traditions of Russian culture, endorsing its lasting moral strength, as well as its polyphonic richness of content.
Slava Polunin recalls: “Many, many years ago, I remember seeing a picture in a book. The picture made such an impression on me that I had to find out where it had been taken. Having made me enquiries, I duly took myself to Versailles. There, among the shining gilt and cascading fountains, I chanced upon a group of mysterious creatures - dressed in strange costumes, they were carrying saxophones, those most rebellious, vital and non-conformist instruments. Saxophones have done much to change the entire history of music. And here, wielding these magical tools, was a whole army, an entire population from “planet Saxophone", bringing us a whole new world of sound. Together with the bizarre surroundings of Versailles and the talented musicians with saxophones, the sounds fused to create a different reality: an enchanted kingdom, a special path - the path trodden by the French group Urban Sax and its leader, the producer and composer Gilbert Artman.
As a cultural capital, Moscow sees the opening of as many as five or ten new exhibitions daily. From the venerable old masters of the Pushkin Museum or the Tretyakov Gallery, to rising talent from the provinces in sombre basements on the outskirts, and fashionable “actual" artists in glitzy star-filled galleries: Moscow has it all.