I enjoyed this article last week about surreptitious art in China. It’s fascinating. I spent a year in Russia, from 1994-1995, talking to Russian artists about their lives and their art following the fall of the Soviet Union. I was basically following up on Andrew Solomon’s interesting work in The Irony Tower.
I spent most of my time in St. Petersburg, though I did get around to other parts of the country as well. There was a ton of interesting stuff happening both before and after the fall of the Iron Curtain. Art has a way of surviving even in the face of oppression. But then, the surreptitiousness of the art, I think, raises questions about the extent to which it’s truly art. I recall some stories from Solomon’s book, and certainly I encountered my own similar such stories as I interviewed artists in their attic studios, about the lengths to which artists would go to bury their work.
What is also kinda interesting, also reported last week, is the Obama’s selection of art for the White House. I particularly appreciate their interest in Jasper Johns.