NORMAN, OK.- In 1992, just months after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a handful of Russian photographers began documenting life after communism for a new independent newspaper, the Moscow Times. Their photographs come to life in a new exhibition opening Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma. A Museum Association Membership party, which is open without charge to the public, is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7.
Reflections: Russian Photographs 1992-2002 opens in conjunction with American Artists from the Russian Empire, an international exhibition that opened Oct. 4. Both exhibitions, which remain on display through Jan. 4, 2009, are part of a larger schedule of Russian-themed programming at the museum.
The new photography exhibition is a perfect fit for the exciting things happening at the museum this fall, said Ghislain dHumières, museum director. In October, the American Artists from the Russian Empire exhibition became the cornerstone for our semester focused on Russian-U.S. relations, art and more.
From guest lectures to film to education, our fall schedule, and this contemporary photography exhibition in particular, furthers the goal of cultural relevance through the museum.
Reflections, a Library of Congress exhibition, features 50 images from four independent photojournalists documenting such varied topics as political and protest demonstrations, the continued celebration of military anniversaries, the effects of the wars in Chechnya, the presence of AIDS and more.
The photographs also catch special, timeless moments in the life of Russia: ice fishing in winter, the spring breakup of the frozen Moscow River, young soldiers celebrating on leave. Together, the images help tell the story of a nation undergoing radical transformation on many levels.
From an independent perspective, young European and American writers employed by the Moscow Times reported on the death throes of the Soviet system and Russias struggles, after decades of communism, to reinvent itself as a democracy with a market-based economy.
The foreign editors employed a small group of local photojournalists to document the events the reporters covered. As Russians, they were acutely aware of the often-painful changes that were daily occurring around them.
Since each had personally experienced the dramatic upheavals that so convulsed Russia in the 1990s, they were acutely attuned to the often-shocking impact of societal changes and were thus able to document their effects with an insight denied to outsiders an insight that can be passionate, poetic, ironic, sad and humorous.
The exhibition is made possible by the generous support of the James Madison Council of the Library of Congress and the Russian Information Agency Novosti.
Regular admission to the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art is free to OU students with a current student ID and Museum Association members, $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for children 6 to 17 years of age, $2 for OU faculty/staff, and free for children 5 and under. Admission is free on Tuesdays. The museums Web site is www.ou.edu/fjjma. Information and accommodations on the basis of disability are available by calling (405) 325-4938.