The Bruce Museum will host a wide range of programs complementing the new exhibition Hot Art in a Cold War: Intersections of Art and Science in the Soviet Era. The exhibition, on display through May 20, 2018, features 40 works by 17 artists from the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia. Juxtaposing art made in opposition to state-sanctioned Socialist Realism with artifacts from the Soviet nuclear and space programs, the show touches upon the triumphs and tragedies unleashed as humankind gained the power to both leave the Earth and to destroy it.
“The Bruce Museum prides itself in being a museum of both art and science and in finding the interconnections between the two,” says Dr. Daniel Ksepka, Bruce Museum 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. 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.”
Hot Art in a Cold War is an expanded version of an exhibition organized at the Zimmerli Art Museum by Ksenia Nouril, Dodge Fellow and PhD Candidate, Department of Art History at Rutgers University. Ms. Nouril is co-curator of the Bruce Museum exhibition.
For support of Hot Art in a Cold War, the Bruce Museum thanks the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund; the Connecticut Office of the Arts; a Committee of Honor, chaired by Jacqueline and Arthur Walker and Deborah and Alan Simon; and media sponsor WSHU Public Radio Group.
Below is a listing of the lectures, films, and special events related to the exhibition. Please visit brucemuseum.org/site/events for more information and to make reservations.
Reception and open galleries 30 minutes prior to each lecture. Reservations required. In advance: Free for Bruce members and students with valid ID, $15 for non-members. At the door: $10 Bruce members, $25 non-members.
February 13, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Science Lecture. Out of the Secret World: Cosmic Visions in the Soviet Imagination. Dr. Asif Siddiqi, space historian and professor at Fordham University, specializes in the history of science and technology and modern Russian history. He has written several books on the history of space exploration.
February 27, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Curator’s Lecture. Building Dreamworlds, Facing Catastrophes: Art, Science, and the Cold War by Ksenia Nouril, Dodge Fellow, Zimmerli Art Museum and PhD Candidate, Department of Art History, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
March 13, 6:30 – 8:00 pm. Marianne Smith Memorial Lecture. Sweet Ideology of Soviet Space Dogs during Cold War by Dr. Olesya Turkina, Senior Research Fellow at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg.
April 24, 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Art Lecture. Technology as Decoy: The Subversive Abstraction of the Movement Collective by Dr. Jane Sharp, Associate Professor, Twentieth Century Art, Russian and Soviet Art, Soviet Nonconformist Art, Rutgers University.
April 9, 10:00 – 11:00 am. Art Lecture. From Soviet Laika to the American Eagle: My Experience as an Artist in Russia and in the West by Vitaly Komar. Komar is a Russian-born Conceptualist artist. His painting of Laika, the Soviet space dog who became one of the first animals in space, is included in Hot Art.
April 23, 10:00 – 11:00 am. Art Lecture. Cold War Art Collection by Dr. Courtney Doucette, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, Connecticut College. Dr. Doucette will speak about the political and cultural challenges of collecting Soviet unofficial art during the Cold War. Reservations required. Bruce members free, nonmembers $10.
Bruce members free, nonmembers $10 (includes Museum admission). Reservations required.
February 22, 10:30 – 11:30 am. Science Film. Battle for Chernobyl. (94 minutes) 2006 documentary of the 1986 nuclear disaster.
March 7, 10:30 – 11:30 am. Art Film. The Russian Concept: Reflections on Russian non-Conformist Art (56 minutes) directed by Igor Sopronenko.
March 14, 10:30 – 11:30 am. Art Film. In Search of a Lost Paradise (52 minutes, Russian with English subtitles). Award-winning documentary recounts the story of Russian artist Valentina Kropivnitskaya and her husband Oskar Rabin, who, in 1974, organized a prohibited open-air art exhibition that was destroyed using KGB bulldozers. The film highlights the struggle of living under a totalitarian regime while attempting to retain personal and artistic freedoms.
Youth and Family Programs
February 11, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Science Sunday. Space Race Rocket Building. A drop-in program for children ages 4 and up and their families.
March 11, 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Science Sunday. Moon Rover Models.
March 8, 6:00 – 8:00 pm. An Evening with Corey Flintoff
The Bruce Museum will host Corey Flintoff, former Moscow correspondent for NPR, for a timely and topical discussion about current U.S.-Russian relations and how past events – from the October Revolution of 1917 to the end of the Cold War to the 2016 U.S. elections – continue to shape the public perceptions and official policies today.
Flintoff was a reporter and foreign correspondent at National Public Radio for 27 years. He spent four years as NPR’s bureau chief in Moscow, covering the Russian crackdown on dissent, the seizure of Crimea, and war in eastern Ukraine. Since his return to the U.S., Flintoff has followed the revelations of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia, and what that could mean for the future of relations between the two countries.
Joining Mr. Flintoff in the conversation is Dr. Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science at the Bruce Museum and co-curator of the museum’s provocative new exhibition Hot Art in a Cold War: Intersections of Art and Science in the Soviet Era. A 30-minute Q&A session will follow the discussion.
Admission to An Evening with Corey Flintoff is $35 per person and includes a wine and cheese reception at 6 pm. Guests are encouraged to tour the exhibition before the program begins at 6:30 pm. Tickets may be purchased online at brucemuseum.org; click on Reservations. Proceeds benefit the Museum’s exhibition and educational programs.