An uproarious retelling of one young curator’s audacious attempt to mount a ground-breaking exhibition in Moscow
This funny and personal memoir is the account of an audacious attempt by James Birch, the young British curator, to mount the ground-breaking retrospective of Francis Bacon’s work at the newly refurbished Central House of Artists, Moscow in 1988.
Side-lined by the British establishment, Birch found himself not only the subject of a honey-trap but also the focus for a shady and picaresque cast of Soviet officials, attachés and politicians and the forbidding eye of the KGB as he attempted to bring an unseen Western cultural icon to Russia during the time of ‘Glasnost’ just before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Travel to the Soviet Union from the West was slow and prolonged, and political relations frosty and hostile, but Birch battled on determined in his belief that art could change hearts and minds. This is the story of the evolution of an exhibition that was at the artistic and political heart of a sea of change that culminated with the fall of the USSR.
‘A rollicking cultural adventure… fascinating and true’ – Grayson Perry
‘Evocative and authentic.’ ― Observer
‘An amusing romp that could act as a cautionary tale.’ ― Mail on Sunday
‘Brilliantly entertaining.’ ― Perspective
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