INTERVIEW WITH ALEXANDRE GERTSMAN
Fine Art Magazine, Spring, 2001
Fine Art Magazine, Spring, 2001
|Curator Alexandre Gertsman
"Spirituality is an important element, though sophisticated creativity is equally exciting.”
Tatyana Nazarenko "People and Things ", 1993, oil on canvas, 36x 48 in.
AG: The first show I curated was in 1993 at the Evergreen House Museum of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. For that show I edited, wrote the essay and published my first of twelve art-catalogues. Now, after having edited large catalogues and having written for catalogues of the shows I have curated in the United States, and having contributed to the catalogues of major European museums, that first production appears amateurish, but it is still precious to me, much like a first child is to a parent. Over these years, I have worked with about thirty artists.
Lorand Hegyi, Director of the Vienna's Museum of Modern Art, and Alexandre Gertsman
Interview by Jamie Ellin Forbes.
Alexandre Gertsman is America's preeminent independent curator specializing in contemporary Russian art. He has to his credit over20 major exhibitions that have traveled to prestigious museum and university venues across the United States. The catalogues he has published that have accompanied these exhibitions have proven to be definitive works about the art and artists involved In addition, his expertise has been confirmed by recent invitations by European and Russian museums to curate exhibitions.
Komar & Melamid “The Wings Will Grow”, 1999. Silk-screen, 32 x 19 in.
Mr. Gertsman is currently president of INTART (The International Art Foundation of Former Soviet States, Inc.)
Fine Art: What inspired you to enter into the art field? Did you pursue art in Moscow or just here?
AG: All my educational background is in the arts. I graduated from art school BenefitBenefit
|(completing at the same time a full 7-year piano course at the school of music), then graduated from the
Ukrainian Architecture Academy in Dnepropetrovsk and continued my postgraduate education at the prestigious Central Scientific-Research Institute of History and Theory of Architecture in Moscow. Despite the deprivation in the former Soviet Union, highly professional education-based on centuries of cultural traditions-was the only avenue of survival. As you can see, during those 12 years, courses on art history from ancient to contemporary and classes on painting, drawing, composition, and sculpture, were a major part of my life. Later, having worked as an architect, I free-lanced as a lecturer on the history of art at different universities, as an art critic for various magazines and newspapers, and as an organizer of art exhibitions. I enjoyed all these activities tremendously. After moving to the United States in 1992, the transition from architecture to the art field was not that traumatic but a rather natural development of my creative self-expression which occurred inside the general field of my expertise.
Fine Art: When did you first develop your non-profit organization? What is the primary goal of this organization?
AG: In the beginning of 1993, with a group of American philanthropists led by William j. Strizever, I organized SAUPRA, a foundation for Russian art. The primary goal of the foundation was to educate the American public about works of art created by leading contemporary Russian-born artists living by then in the United States, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the former Soviet Republics. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, art of that country had still remained an enigma for the majority of Americans. Today there is a great interest the part of the viewing public. In 1998, I expanded the foundation into International Art Foundation of Former Soviet States - INTART- the Board of of which included such art connoisseurs and collectors as Professor and Mrs. Robert Cancro, Barbara Mackenzie Gordon, Mr. & Mrs. E. Michel Kruse, and Parker H. Hallberg. In addition, together with Dr.John Lusins, we opened an INTART Museum in Upstate New York the same year.
Fine Art: What was your initial project in the art field?