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DOE Russian Studies Grant Activity


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Russian Studies Grant
Summary of Activities

Gilbert Leebrick
Associate Professor, Photography, School of Art and Design
Director, Wellington B. Gray Gallery East Carolina University
June 18-29, 2004

As a result of prior correspondence and planning, visits were made to the following organizations in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 18-29, 2004.

The Museum of Non Conformist Art
I visited the current group exhibit and had conversation with Vadim Voinov, an artist from Soviet times who had a solo show of collages on exhibit. Purchased an exhibition catalogue from him, Functiocollage, a very important show in 1997.

The National Center for Contemporary Art, Marina Koldobskaya, Director
The NCAA is a branch of the Agency for Promotion of Contemporary Art. They were organized in April 2003 by the Ministry of Culture with the goal of starting a factory for art. The center has the goals of production of artwork; creation of art as propaganda, and presentation of artists from Russia and abroad.

Marina gave us CD's of her work, work of painters, work of photographers and a tape of an exhibition of video installations titled Electric Visions. I spoke at length with Marina and curator Maria concerning an exhibition traveling to ECU and the possibility of visiting artist exchanges.

Reception for an exhibit of the artwork of Victor Pivovarov at the Russian Museum
We attended a reception for an exhibit of Victor Pivovarov's work which represented work of the artists from the 1970's until present. He is one of the key figures from the Russian Conceptualist movement in Moscow during the 1970's. It is interesting that many of the outlaw, nonconformist Soviet artists are now being acknowledged.

Office of National Center for Photography
We met with director of Baltic Photo School, Olga Korsunova, and National Center for Photography director, Zakhar Kolovsky. Alexey Tsarev, a young photographer who we corresponded with prior to our visit, served as our guide.

We viewed a number of different photography books, including a book with photographs printed by Olga from her family's collection of negatives, recently found, from the Russian Depression under Stalin. Also books with work by Andrey Chezhin (multi exposure photography); color abstracts by Alexey Gaeve; and others. Zakhar explained that over 200 photographers compete annually for admittance to Baltic Studios Project and only 5 are admitted.

I discussed with Zakhar Kolovsky plans for a photographic exhibition exchange between Russian and US photographers, bring the Society for Photographic Education in as support.

Lecture Hall, National Center for Photography
We conducted a Master Class for the Baltic Photo School students and faculty and students from the University of Photojournalism, with both of us giving lectures and showing artwork. After three hours of lecturing and showing our work through digital projection, we each worked with individual photographers viewing their portfolios and critiquing their photographs. Several photographers gave us disks or web addresses for their artwork.

Kronstadt Island video and art installation
We were invited to a video installation and conceptual art exhibition done in collaboration with Canadian artists in honor of Popov, the Russian who invented the radio.

We met a well-known painter of contemporary Russian icons, Oleg Yanushevsky. I will bring him to ECU in the spring of 2005 for a lecture. We were presented with a diploma in honor of our visit by the Director of Radio from Kronstadt and spoke to some Russians about their lives and artwork.

We were invited to numerous openings and exhibitions, some held in apartments others in the Russian Museum and the Winter Palace. A very productive time, June being the operative month for the Arts.