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The Desert of Forbidden Art

Reception at 6:00pm. Film screening at 6:30pm, followed by discussion. Discussants: art critic Edward Goldman and filmmakers Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev. Hosted by the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies. Cosponsored by the UCLA Asia Institute Program on Central Asia. Part of the International Institute Human Rights Film Series.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
6:00 PM
James Bridges Theater
1409 Melnitz Hall

A film by Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev.

The incredible story of how a treasure trove of banned Soviet art worth millions of dollars was stashed in a far-off desert of Uzbekistan develops into a larger exploration of how art survives in times of oppression.

During the Soviet rule artists who stayed true to their vision were executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags. Their plight inspired young Igor Savitsky, who pretended to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescued 40,000 forbidden fellow artists' works and created a museum in Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoled the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who banned it. Savitsky amassed an eclectic mix of Russian avant-garde art. But his greatest discovery was an unknown school of artists who settled in Uzbekistan after the Russian revolution of 1917, developing a startlingly original style that fused European modernism with old Eastern traditions.

Cost : Free

Sponsor(s): Center for European and Eurasian Studies, UCLA International Institute, Asia Institute, Program on Central Asia, UCLA School of Law International Human Rights Program, UCLA Documentary Salon

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