reportage of Stephen Kinzer for The New York Times, about the amazing Karakalpak Museum (also known as the Nukus museum) in Uzbekistan, which, outside of the Russian Museum in St. Peterburg, houses the world's largest collection of Russian avant garde art. And if using the terms avant garde and Russian art in the same breath seem out of place, that's OK. Those of us who know a little history will be aware that famed art critic/dictator/genocidal maniac Joe Stalin was not a fan of the avant garde and saw to it that many of its Russian practitioners ended up dead or housed in gulags and mental institutions. So where, how and because of whom did this long-buried cache of wonderful art appear?
THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART answers so interestingly and so well, as filmmakers Amanda Pope (above, right) and Tchavdar Giorgiev (above, left) tell us the story of a young man -- himself an artist and art lover named Igor Savitsky (shown below) -- who discovered and then pretty much single-handedly rescued from oblivion a horde of amazing art (a few pieces of which are shown further below) that, were it not for the struggles of this obsessed fellow, would probably never have been seen again.
Marinika M. Babanazarova (grand-daughter of her country's former premier), who continues to run the museum today.
Cinema Village, and next week, March 18, in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall. I can't imagine lovers of modern art not flocking to the doc, which I hope will make its eventual way to DVD. For those desiring an update regarding the precarious situation at the museum, click here for an article in the arts section by Ellen Barry in this past Tuesday, March 8, edition of The New York Times.