Russian American Cultural Center presents "Denial of Family Values, Gay and Anti-gay Propaganda in Russia", an exhibition of sixteen drawings and collages by Dmitry Borshch. "This exhibition was created in America but premiered in Russia a year after the passage of what many know as "gay propaganda law", the bill unanimously approved by the State Duma (with one abstention) and signed into law by President Putin in June, 2013. We contacted five galleries and several cultural centers, not just in Moscow, but none of them agreed to mount our exhibition because of the new law and broad anti-gay, anti-trans sentiment in the country. As thirty years ago in Dnepropetrovsk when I organized apartment exhibitions because only Socialist Realist art could be officially exhibited, we rented a three-bedroom apartment on Moscow's Budyonny Prospekt, mounted the exhibition, and invited only those who were sympathetic to or could tolerate our views on gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans rights, would not report us to the police who could impose a fine for an unsanctioned exhibition or – this has happened with some exhibitions in Russia deemed "offensive" to religious or national feelings – damage the pictures," explains Borshch, adding, "There was another apartment exhibition in Moscow, on Tverskaya Street, followed by one more in Saint Petersburg’s Kalininsky District, both lasting a month in early 2016". Figurative drawings like "The Making of Brothers" are displayed in our exhibition alongside excerpts from speeches on homosexuality and its "evils" by Russian public figures, which are rendered calligraphically on white, yellow, and pink sheets.
"This was the first of two apartment exhibitions mounted by the artist in 2014. Less than three months after it, reacting to the presidential campaign victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Borshch had the other apartment exhibition in Istanbul. As some nonconformists did in the Soviet Union, he continues to employ this tactic of apartment exhibitions in Putin's Russia, Erdoğan's Turkey, and elsewhere," writes Dr. Khidekel in the introduction to "Denial of Family Values, Gay and Anti-gay Propaganda in Russia", which she curated. It is happening on the sixth anniversary of anti-gay legislation's passage, and during the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month in America.
Our exhibition is a collateral event of WorldPride | Stonewall 50, https://2019-worldpride-stonewall50.nycpride.org/ Fifty years ago Stonewall riots did not initiate the gay liberation struggle, but have become highly important in its history. On June 28, the last day of the exhibition and the fiftieth anniversary of Stonewall uprising, Borshch will discuss that struggle in Russia now. This exhibition is supported by funds from New York State Council on the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and Materials for the Arts.
Russian American Cultural Center (520 East 76th Street, Suite 7E New York, NY 10021) aims to provide permanent cultural representation to more than 700,000 Russian-speaking residents of New York. It was founded in 1998 by Dr. Regina Khidekel and earned its 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in 1999. RACC has adopted and broadened the strategy of organizations like No Longer Empty (http://www.nolongerempty.org/) which invigorate neighborhoods by mounting exhibitions in their unutilized or temporarily underutilized spaces. Visitors coalesce around a space where art may never have been exhibited before.
Regina Khidekel received her PhD from St. Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, became the director of that city's Diaghilev Art Center in 1990, and in 1998 the founding director of the Russian American Cultural Center in New York. She is the author of "It's the Real Thing" (1999, University of Minnesota Press), and has contributed essays to the following publications: "Lyubov Popova" (1994), "Lazar Khidekel: Suprematism and Architecture" (1995), "Sterligov Group: Paintings from Russia" (1995), "Russian Constructivist Roots: Present Concerns" (1997), "Forbidden Art" (1998), "Lev Meshberg" (1999), "Tamar Hirschl" (2000), "In Malevich's Circle" (2000), "A Life of Colors" (2001), "Surviving Suprematism" (2004), "Family Album. Artists from St. Petersburg" (2006), "Anna Rochegova" (2008), "Homage to Diaghilev's Enduring Legacy" (2009), "Trajectory of Suprematism" (2011), "Floating Worlds and Future Cities: Lazar Khidekel, Suprematism and Russian Avant-garde" (2013), "Building Drawings and Drawing Buildings" (2014), "Lazar Khidekel and Suprematism" (2014). She has lectured at many universities, and curated many exhibitions.
Dmitry Borshch was born in Dnepropetrovsk, studied in Moscow, today lives in New York. His drawings and sculptures have been exhibited at the National Arts Club (New York), Brecht Forum (New York), Exit Art (New York), CUNY Graduate Center (New York), Salmagundi Club (New York), ISE Cultural Foundation (New York), Williamsburg Art and Historical Center (New York), Triangle Arts Association (New York), Parish Art Museum (Southampton), International Human Rights Law Institute of DePaul University (Chicago), the State Russian Museum (Saint Petersburg), Central Exhibition Hall "Manege" (Saint Petersburg), Frieze Art Fair (London).
"Denial of Family Values, Gay and Anti-gay Propaganda in Russia"
105 NY-110, Melville, NY 11747
June 3, 11 am – June 28, 7 pm
Monday – Friday, 11 am – 7 pm, free admission
Artist talk – June 28, 2 pm
Please write to email@example.com or call (347) 662 1456
The artist is available for interviews