Bruce Museum to show art and artifacts from the Soviet era
GREENWICH — A museum known for its combination of art and science, the Bruce is combining the two for its upcoming exhibition, “Hot Art in the Cold War: The Intersection of Art and Science in the Soviet Era.”
About 40 works by 17 artists from the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine and Russia will be on display. The collection is set to open on Jan. 27 — with artifacts including a control panel used for space exploration training and artworks including a depiction of protective suits like those used at Chernobyl.
“The Bruce Museum prides itself in being a museum of both art and science and in finding the interconnections between the two,” said Daniel Ksepka, curator of science and co-curator of the exhibition. “‘Hot Art in a Cold War’ is a perfect example of this unique focus.
“Visitors will see how the triumphs of the space program and anxieties about nuclear arms were captured by period artists,” he said. “Likewise, many of the scientific objects are works of art in their own right. The elegance of Sputnik, for example, is as striking and undeniable as its impact on the space race.”
The majority of artworks on loan are from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, which is housed at the Zimmerli Art Museum in New Jersey. The late Norton Dodge — who lived from 1927 to 2011 — was an American economist who began collecting Soviet unofficial art during the Cold War and made several trips to the Soviet Union starting in 1955.
According to the Bruce Museum, he amassed one of the largest collections of this kind of art in the world.
Certain artworks in the exhibition focus on the fierce competition between American capitalism and Soviet communism, curators said. Other pieces reveal the extent to which Soviet nonconformist artists were also inspired by the advancements in science.
“This exhibition is very timely,” said exhibition co-curator Ksenia Nouril, “as we see history repeating itself in the connection between the ‘official’ behaviors of the Cold War and today’s ongoing wars and political conflicts — not to mention the ever-increasing role that technology plays in our everyday lives.”
Events tied to the exhibit will include a space rocket building session from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 11, as part of the Fred Elser First Sunday Science Series, and a talk titled “Sweet Ideology of Soviet Space Dogs during Cold War” by Olesya Turkina, senior research fellow at the State Russian Museum, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on March 13.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students with identification, and free for members and children less than five years old. Individual admission is free on Tuesday and free on-site parking is always available.
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