- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Banned 50 years ago, exhibition reopens in Moscow
MOSCOW (AP) - Better known in the West for promising to “bury” the capitalist world, Soviet leader Nikita Khruschev is also remembered by Russians for banning works that didn’t conform to the Communist Party’s notion that art should be straightforward, realistic and appeal to workers and peasants.
Visiting “The New Reality” exhibition in Moscow in December 1962, Khruschev got so enraged with what he saw that he shouted obscenities at the artists, promised to deport them from the Soviet Union and ordered the exhibition closed down.
The exhibition’s shutdown marked the end of Khruschev’s “thaw” _ the relative liberation of political and cultural life that reversed Stalinist-era purges. A subsequent crackdown got more artists blacklisted and drove whole genres of art underground _ including folk singers, jazz and rock bands, a generation of avant-garde composers and filmmakers such as Andrei Tarkovsky.
Fifty years later, some of the banned canvases are on display again at the same Manezh hall _ at a time when critics compare Khruschev’s ban to recent charges against the band Pussy Riot and artists whose paintings have angered the Kremlin and Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church.
“Of course, there are analogies” between the ban and the charges, says Leonid Rabichev, whose schematic painting depicting a blue crib with his infant son surrounded by trees and newly built apartment buildings was part of the 1962 exhibition.
“And there were yells around us, Politburo members yelled, `What are you doing, Nikita Sergeevich, they should be arrested.’ And (chief ideologue Mikhail) Suslov who stood next to me raised both fists in the air and shouted, `They should be strangled!’”
Rabichev got away with losing his job as an advertising designer and writing a repentance letter that was dictated to him by a Communist official. He subsequently returned to advertising _ his designs for Aeroflot airlines and sparkling wines are now text-book examples of Soviet-era ads _ wrote several books and is still active as an artist.
But fame and big money eluded him. He sold the 1962 painting for a mere $3,000 in 2008 because he needed money to renovate his apartment, he said, wearing a worn-out suit festooned with his World War II medals.
The ban has also changed the lives of half a dozen exhibition participants.
Sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, whose works Khruschev derided as degenerate and “distortions of Soviet people’s faces” emigrated to the West and found success in New York. Khruschev’s family later approached Neizvestny to design the Soviet leader’s sarcophagus at a Moscow cemetery.
Inna Shmelyova and other participants of the New Reality group have for years worked in a desolate park outside Moscow _ and had their works exhibited for the first time only in the late 1980s, during Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika campaign.
“We made a breakthrough in art _ and took a backseat with our breakthrough,” the bespectacled, 84-year-old artist said while clutching a booklet with reprints of her works.
The revival of the Manezh exhibition has coincided with another _ much less brutal _ crackdown on arts in Russia, amid what critics call the replacement of Communist ideology with Orthodox Christian dogma and nationalism promoted by the Kremlin.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow