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Culture Watch: 'The Desert of Forbidden Art'

March 17, 2011 | 10:00 am

TheBullByVladimirLysenko "The Desert of Forbidden Art"

Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills

“In my dream I saw a creature, his eyes like the barrels of a gun. I called the painting 'Fascism Is Advancing,'” says Ed Asner, doing the voice of Yevgeny Lysenko.

Lysenko is just one of many artists to emerge in this documentary as unsung -- and sometimes imprisoned or institutionalized -- heroes of the Stalinist era, artists who bucked the constraints of Social Realism to make artworks that were abstract, anti-fascist or otherwise deemed “degenerate.” 

Most valiant of all: Igor Savitsky, the failed artist turned curator who rescued the work of these artists from the trash bin of history and showed them in his remote museum in Nukus, Karakalpakstan, a republic of Uzbekistan.

At Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills from Friday to March 24.


More Culture Watch picks from Times writers

-- Jori Finkel

Image: "The Bull" painted by Vladimir Lysenko, 1920s. Credit: Ernest Kurtveliev, from the Karakalpakstan State Museum of Art.