I am very pleased to announce that the New York branch of Gallery Shchukin is opening up at an incredible new location: 110 East 31st Street in the Murray Hill neighborhood of Manhattan. With another gallery exhibition space in Paris and a representative office in Moscow, Gallery Shchukin prides itself in bringing Russian contemporary art to the eyes of international audiences, and establishing and propagating the popularity of talented, modern, emerging artists of various styles and origins. The gallery has succeeded in these directives since its founding by former psychotherapist Nikolay Shchukin in 1987.
A prominent figure in the field of Russian art, Gallery Shchukin’s large collection includes works from a myriad of Russian artists and styles throughout the past century, including (but absolutely not limited to) the first and second waves of Soviet avant garde, and the nonconformist tone. Some examples are the works of Oleg Tselkov, Samuil Adlivankin, Murray Zimiles, Sergey Dozhd, Sasha Meret and Ulo Sooster.
Although Soviet and Russian art may be the main focuses of the gallery, they are far from the only type of art exhibited. A considerable section of the collection is not Russian or related. Gallery Shchukin is comprised of a plethora of categories of craftsmanship ranging from the iconic celebrity portraits of well-known New York photographer Bert Stern to the bronze and steel casted surrealist/futuristic sculptures of Matthias Alfen, a recognized and honored German-born artisan.
Our upcoming exhibit, Forbidden Art: Communism vs. Capitalism, is centered around the dichotomy between Russian and American artwork, with a large percentage of the pieces being from before and during the Cold War era. The selection of Russian artists in the exhibit portray the cultural and social rebellion that represented the first and second avant garde waves of underground artwork that began with the rise of the Communist government after World War I. Many of the styles - like those of Oleg Tselkov and Aleksander Shevchenko - were influenced by Western artists and were effectively illegal in the Soviet Union because their realism, surrealism, and non-conformity were considered combative to the regime. On the other side, the capitalist aspect of the exhibit is spread out from the 1960’s through the end of the 20th Century, including a variety of vintage posters by artists such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg. These posters were mostly advertisements for specific shows and social events, as well marketing tools for political campaigns.
The contrast between the two cultures, those of Soviet communism and Western capitalism, is the focus of this show. Each side is exemplified in this exhibit not solely by one medium or genre of art but by many, over the same period of time, like two rivers running parallel over the same distance.