Desert of Forbidden Art
Igor Savitsky dreamt of becoming an artist. He instead became a savior of lost Soviet art. This well-crafted chronicle of his relentless mission and the repression of creative minds, role of museums as keeper of artist souls, and nature of the world to not value its artists before they die begins with a quote from Christo: “The work of art is a scream of freedom.” Savitysky heard that scream, worked covertly to rescue art forced underground during Stalin’s “ideologically pure” regime, gathered over 44,000 neglected paintings and graphics and opened a museum in 1966 to house them in a remote, desert province of Uzbekistan. He also discovered a school of artists in the area that fused Russian avant-garde with traditional Asian influences. Filmmakers Amanda Pope and Tchavdar Georgiev bring this story to vivid life with a seamless flow of diary and letter excerpts, interviews, archival footage and stills, and the paintings themselves.