Posted: Tuesday, November 29, 2016 – 10:58 PM
By Victoria Talbot
The Beverly Hills Public Library presents The Desert of Forbidden Art, a film by Amanda Pope that documents the amazing true story of Soviet art, hidden from censors for decades in a remote desert in Uzbekistan.
TheBHPL DocuTalk screening is Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. for the award-winning documentary. The documentary film tells the story of penniless artist Igor Savitsky whose mission becomes the rescue of 40,000 pieces of forbidden art after the Soviet Revolution in 1917, and the creation of a museum in the remote desert.
“I traveled all over Uzbekistan searching for masterpieces that the history of our times had condemned to obscurity. I found a whole multinational collective of artists. Some were Uzbeks, others came from distant parts of our Soviet Union. They came here after the Revolution. For a brief period of time in the 20s and 30s, they painted freely, far away from the Kremlin’s censorship. Uzbekistan became their second motherland,” said Savitsky, the original collector & founder of the Nukus Museum.
The screening will be held in the BHPL auditorium, to be followed by a question and answer with Amanda Pope.
The film portrays a world of Russian avant-garde paintings inspired by the oppressive revolution created by the artists despite threats of torture, imprisonment and death for producing non-state sponsored art. It is narrated by Ben Kingsley, Sally Field and Ed Asner, who voice the diaries and letters of Savitsky and the artists, and told through contemporary film footage and stories of the artist’s children.
“I found these paintings rolled up under the beds of old widows, buried in family trash, in dark corners of artists’ studios, sometimes even patching a hole in the roof. I ended up with a collection that no one in the Soviet Union would dare to exhibit,” said Savitsky.
“What we discovered in the stories surrounding the Savitsky Collection, was a constellation of indomitable idealists,” said Pope in a statement with her partner Tchavdar Georgiev.
The event is free and parking is available in the City parking structure adjacent to the library at 444 N. Rexford Drive.