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Soviet Art Exhibit Countered by Works of Soviet Jewish Artists

In response to the opening of an official Soviet art exhibit at the De Young Museum, the Bay Area Council on Soviet Jewry opened a counter-exhibit composed of works by Jewish artists who fled persecution in the USSR for their “unofficial” art work.

Representing the outdoor “Soviet Underground Art Exhibit” is Aleck Rapoport, a newly arrived Jewish artist from Leningrad. Some of his works are shown in the counter-exhibit, which is directly outside the main entrance of the De Young Museum. After studying the catalog of the official exhibit inside, Rapoport observed:

“Kandinsky and Malevitch, two of the artists shown in the official collection, are forbidden to show their art in the USSR. They are denounced in Soviet press as ‘enemies of the people.’ The works of Drevin and Udaltsova, which appear in the De Young exhibit, cannot be found anywhere in the Soviet Union. Pavel Filonov, whose works appear in the official Soviet exhibit, was deprived of food coupons during the war for his ‘modernism’ and died of hunger. It is impossible to see any of Filonov’s works in the Soviet Union. Nalbandian, the courtier artist of Stalin, Krushchev and Brezhnev, won many wards from the heads of the Soviet apparatchik, while in contrast, Falk and Tatlin died of starvation under official censorship.”

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