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Russian Art, Soviet Mandate: The Struggle for Freedom of Expression


December 15, 2012

Program Locations:

Russian Art, Soviet Mandate: The struggle for freedom of expression

Over the course of three lectures we will discuss the art and lives of Russian artists working inside of Russia, yet outside of the Soviet system from 1970 to the break up of the Soviet Union in 1991. This period saw small groups of artists struggle against a state that sought to dictate both the subject matter permitted and the manner in which fine art and photography were produced. These talks will give insight into the lives of the artists who fought for creative freedom and the successes, challenges and sacrifices of those who dared to make the work they believed in.
 Oleg Maximov (detail)Oleg Maximov (detail)
December 1st: In the first lecture we will look at the State enforced mandates of Soviet Realism, the role of the censor and the KGB, and the lives of the photographers and artists who fought for freedom of expression and struggled to work outside of the Soviet mandate. 2pm.
December 8th: In the second lecture we will cover photography outside of the Soviet structure. We have seen numerous examples of Soviet news and propaganda photographs, but working beneath that façade was a thriving group of image-makers who challenged social mores and created imagery that gave birth to contemporary Russian fine art photography. 2pm.
December 15th: In the final lecture of the series we will look at Non-Conformist painters and installation artists from Leningrad and Moscow. These individuals both kept alive the history of pre-revolutionary art and gave rise to a creative voice that spoke to life, oppression, and desire under Soviet rule. Please note this lecture will start at 1pm!
Thomas Werner, Co-Chair of the Parsons Faculty Council and former owner of Thomas Werner Gallery in Manhattan.  Thomas currently lectures and teaches internationally on topics of Photography, Education, Business, Video, and the Art Market. He has had the pleasure of working with the State Department as a cultural representative for the United States in Russia, been a photography consultant for COACH and a consultant for Rodale Publishing regarding contracts and licensing. Werner is in his third term as a Director on the National Board of the American Society of Media Photographer and a former President of ASMP’s New York Chapter. 
Thomas' research is Russian based focusing on the introduction of contemporary education methodologies and the development of creative cultures within the country.  Over the last seven years he has visited over thirty Russian cities, partnering with twenty nine cultural, educational and governmental organizations to develop a series of cross cultural and educational projects.  Russian partners have included:  The State Hermitage Museum, the National Center of Contemporary Art, Perm Regional Government, The Moscow Biennale for Young Art, National Centre of Photography for the Russian Federation, the Central State Archive of Film, Photographic and Phonographic Documents, and the United States Department of State in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  His personal art work and private collection of Russian photographs and artifacts have been exhibited internationally.  In early 2012 he began a new collaboration with the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations.