De review in de Guardian is buitengewoon veelbelovend. Jonge Britse galeriehouder droomt er eind jaren tachtig van een tentoonstelling te organiseren in Moscow. Gaat er op de bonnefooi naar toe, wordt afgewezen door de lokale authoriteiten, Rusland wil geen Neo Naturisten maar Warhol of Bacon. Alcohol, corruptie en een KGB maniak met een vlammenwerper. Wie wil dat nou niet? Verkrijgbaar bij uw lokale boekhandel.
“[…] On the advice of his travelling companion, a “cultural entrepreneur” whose carpet business often took him to the USSR, Birch carried among his luggage a packet of chocolate digestives, just in case he found himself short of food, and cartons of Camel cigarettes, to be used as payment to all the drivers he would have to flag for a lift, there being virtually no taxis in the city.[…]”
“[…] Klokov, whom Birch had briefly met in London some months before, was quite scary. In the war in Afghanistan he had operated a flamethrower (“I remember the smell of burning flesh”); the merest flash of his KGB papers caused waiters and customs officers alike to tremble at the knee. But he was also, by Birch’s telling, just a little bit ridiculous. In his Pierre Cardin suits, and with a small leather handbag at his wrist, he looked to his new English friend like nothing so much as “a hairdresser”.[…]”
“[…] Bacon was controlling and quixotic, and Klokov had already warned Birch that any work that was too “cock-exalting” would fall foul of the censors. But who could resist such an opportunity? This was the first time a British artist had been accorded the honour of an exhibition in the USSR since 1917. […]”
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