Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Nukus, who knew?

In the desert of Karakulpakstan, [part of Uzbekistan] is a town called Nukus. In that town is an art museus with 44,000 paintings by Russian artists of the first half of the 20th century. They are in need of framing and restoration, but most of being recognized as the treasure they are. A documentary has been made about the museum and how an artist named Savitsky [unable to paint freely during the Stalin years] saved the works of colleagues who also painted against the Socialist realist mode of the time, many of whom were sent to the gulags for years, their paintings hidden in attics. In one case the paintings were systematically cut from their frames so the frames could be fire wood.
A documentary, Desert of Forbidden Art, has been made and shown fairly widely. It can be borrowed from Netflix and I'd urge anyone who is curious to see it. It's worth seeing some of the fascinating, brilliant art. I particularly remember one painting with a brilliant lavender road that preceded David Hockney's recent works with just that kind of color in landscape.

The world is full of the unexpected, the wonderful, the beautiful, I never get tired of discovering them through books and film.

3 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- It is good that these paintings were saved. It was a terrible time when Stalin was in power. Just finished reading an intriguing book, "The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov by Peter Pringle -- about a great plant scientist who was prosecuted by Stalin.

Wonderful colors in your art photos. Art is an uplifting form of creating.You are an artist with your quilts.

-- barbara

June Calender said...

Yes, Barbara, Stalin finally killed more people than Hitler, he hid his doings better -- only now are they admitting the purposeful starvation of the Ukranians.

The colors in the paintings were incredible, this one example doesn't begin to tell the wonderfulness. Thanks for your compliment.

Ladydy5 aka: Diane Yates said...

I think I saw that but will look at it agaiin on Netflix.
Thanks for insight