Exhibition by Russian-American Art World Figure Will Be on View Through May 1
NEW YORK, March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the course of nearly two decades in New York, Janna Bullock has been a prominent art and design curator, philanthropist and collector, in addition to being a highly successful real estate developer and businesswoman. She has created a vital bridge between her native Russia and the U.S. In this time, she has brought to Russia such artists as Matthew Barney, Joseph Beuys, Barbara Kruger and Dennis Hopper, and brought to the U.S. and the Venice Biennale such Russian artists as Pavel Pepperstein, Africa, Timur Novikov, Georgy Guryanov and Aidan Salakhova.
With Allegories & Experiences, Bullock takes a turn as art maker. Compelled by the state of Russian politics—her own experience of it—she has created an installation that comments upon Vladimir Putin's reign and the ways it has insidiously, yet blatantly, changed the face (and leading faces) of that country.
Allegories & Experiences occupies the first two floors of a Beaux Arts mansion at 14 East 82nd Street, between Fifth Avenue and Madison. The exhibition, which opened February 23, will be on view Wednesdays—Sundays, 11:00 A.M.—6:00 P.M., through May 1 (the only Tuesday the gallery will be open).
Bullock's installation consists of 24 found images, each of an individual or group from the Russian power elite: politicians, businessmen, lawyers and journalists. Some are tyrants, some are criminals, and some are victims. The 24 images represent 24 frames per second—the standard in motion picture film speed, hence the underlying visual of film in the exhibition's aesthetic. In the manner of Richard Prince, Jenny Holzer and Ilya Kabakov, each image is accompanied by a provocative title and a story in both English and Russian. An image of assassinated journalist activist Anna Politkovskaya in a coffin bears the title "The Gift;" a picture of Russian Presidential candidate Mikhail Prokhorov "The Project;" and a photograph of State Duma deputy Alina Kabaeva "Alina in Wonderland."
Some of these titles are blatant allegorical references to character—embodied in the sometimes public but more often private actions of the individuals depicted. Some categorize or describe specific acts, whether voluntary or not. The sharpness and directness that characterizes the narrative accompanying each image mirror the boldness of the individuals and groups portrayed. The installation also possesses the characteristic dryness of Russian humor; Bullock has responded to persecution with sarcasm and irony.
This irony extends to the space itself: On one of the most prestigious blocks in Manhattan, just steps away from the Metropolitan Museum, the house was designed by C. P. H. Gilbert, architect of many of the finest gilded age buildings in New York. However, beyond the elegant facade, in Bullock's installation one finds a raw space swathed in a cocoon of semi-transparent membrane. The artwork lines the walls like an unrolled piece of movie film behind a screen, a nod not only to a sort of wizard working behind the scenes, but also to the colorless pennant of the anti-regime in present day Russia.
For more information about Janna Bullock, please visit jannabullock.com.