Sunday, May 31, 1992

FRANK STELLA'S WAVES


FRANK STELLA'S WAVES


In the gallery of angels, Frank Stella's waves
hunger for alizarin nouns, arabesqued murexes,
the purpled royalty and somnolent gold of divided realms.
We presume we are defined by logic
but Ahab was afraid of sea worms
and other insidious notions untitled by definition.
The sea is a waterfall sliding off the edge of the world.
What we believe to be true defines the world;
what we are capable of seeing has to do with faith.
Projectiles in space have little to do
with the back side of the moon.
Even the astronauts haven't walked there
because they can't imagine its shadows.
The shadows of buffalo still roam the prairie at night.
Sometimes when the moon is right
you can see them from the corner of your eye.
Yo soy el muerte the wind says,
and the bells follow in sequential patterns:
time imagining itself in crepuscular archways
on those quasi-tranquil days without end,
without movement; who decided the days of the week?
Prime numbers hide their faces;
we age just the same, confusing love with death.
A friend says love is what you do together;
death is alone. I can't forget the blue of his eyes
or the spilled blood covered with a film of dust;
a bouquet for the earth. We are hungry, chanting
the night is a cannibal eating itself.
We let it happen: complacency slips in
and we forget the patterns by morning.
Impenetrable stones in the earth.
Russia is a noun for red as in blood,
as in death in the gallery of angels.

5/92



Friday, May 29, 1992

PANTOUM FOR DARKNESS


PANTOUM FOR DARKNESS
    —for Valera Stupachenko



The white shawl of fog covered the Baltic.
He said only time will tell if I was to believe.
The first sun in days made me nostalgic,
for the Gulf of Finland, a glistening reprieve.


He thought time would tell if I was to believe.
I had no words to say, the sun was shining
on the Gulf of Finland, a glistening reprieve
from the prison of winter ice; the streets blinding.


I had no words to say, the sun was shining.
I interrupted his morning prayers to take leave
from the prison of winter ice, the streets blinding.
I gathered carnations in order to be free,


interrupting his morning prayers to take my leave.
No anullment for grief, a dead wife’s pin.
I gathered carnations in order to be free
'rom committing yet another mortal sin.


No anullment for grief, a dead wife’s pin
underfoot, I couldn't shake the ghosts of suicide.
Who has committed yet another mortal sin?
Resurrection tainted the purity of love, we hid


underfoot, I couldn't shake the ghosts of suicide.
One’s whole life suddenly revolved around schedules.
Resurrection tainted the purity of love, we hid
in the closets of deceit, devouring those victuals.


One’s whole life suddenly revolved around schedules.
The curious human need for mysticism abounds
in the closets of deceit, devouring those victuals.
When we hunger for nourishment, religion resounds.


The curious human need for mysticism abounds
in the darkness of the year’s longest night.
We hunger for nourishment, religion resounds
in the passionate cry of desire for the light,


in the darkness of the year’s longest night.
I have no words to say, the sun is shining
in the passionate cry of desire for the light
from the prison of winter ice, the streets blinding.


The first sun in days made me nostalgic
for the white shawl of fog that covered the Baltic.



5/29/92


SHORT PANTOUM FOR THE BABARIAN

SHORT PANTOUM  FOR THE BABARIAN


Calling it love, why do we choose to suffer instead;
because we feel it anew with each passing?
Inside the skull of night, I hesitate to disturb the spider's web.€
Blue skin on the surface of the water. It's beginning.


You talk about corporate structure and high finance,
trapped in the prison of your own choosing.  
Our governments consider bilateral disarmament.
We proclaim the moon's in void. I live in the country.€

And feeling used, you said we all use each other
Freudian slip. They say Freud was a cross-dresser.
Plant a tree so it may discover quadralateral symmetry.€
What does he know of the incestuous relationships of poets?€

I am sending you stones because I know nothing else.
The oracle tells us to be like trees, upright & strong€
My friend says each relationship is a stepping stone.€ L
Yes, winter is a voyage across the dark tundra sea.€

Inside the skull of night, I hesitate to disturb the spider's web.
Calling it love, why do we choose to suffer instead?




5/29/92 (every other stanza from long pantoum (below).



Cafe Babar in SF is where the Babarian poets hung out. Bruce Isaacson, its ringleader. I did several readings there. 



LONG PANTOUM FOR BRUCE


Calling it love, why do we choose to suffer instead;
because we feel it anew with each passing?
Inside the skull of night, I hesitate to disturb the spider's web.€ 
Blue skin on the surface of the water. It's beginning.
€ 
Because we feel it anew with each passing,
you talk about corporate structure and high finance. €
Blue skin on the surface of the water. It's beginning.€
Our governments consider bilateral disarmament.€

You talk about corporate structure and high finance,
trapped in the prison of your own choosing.  
Our governments consider bilateral disarmament.
We proclaim the moon's in void. I live in the country.


Trapped in the prison of your own choosing
and feeling used, you said we all use each other,
we proclaim the moon's in void. I live in the country.
Plant a tree so it may discover quadralateral symmetry.


And feeling used, you said we all use each other€ 
Freudian slip. They say Freud was a cross-dresser. €
Plant a tree so it may discover quadralateral symmetry.€
What does he know of the incestuous relationships of poets?€

Freudian slip. They say Freud was a cross-dresser. € 
I am sending you stones because I know nothing else.€ 
What do we know of the incestuous relationships of poets?
My friend says each relationship is a stepping stone.€ 


I am sending you stones because I know nothing else.
The oracle tells us to be like trees, upright & strong€ 
My friend says each relationship is a stepping stone.€ 
Yes, winter is a voyage across the dark tundra sea.


The oracle tells us to be like trees, upright & strong
Already we're hooked. We have each other's number.  
Yes, winter is a voyage across the dark tundra sea.
Birches in winter. Will you drink birch blood and think of me?  


Inside the skull of night, I hesitate to disturb the spider's web.
Calling it love, why do we choose to suffer instead?



5/29/92

sick of embedded ascii—it's pretty clean. It's not like anyone will ever read this.


Thursday, May 14, 1992

Hermitage Group 5/14/92

By Maureen Hurley

When arts consultant Tony Wolff of Santa Rosa, went to St. Petersburg, Russia, in early 1990, “on a personal roots trip,” he met avant garde artists who called themselves “The Hermitage Group.”

Wolff found their work exciting and innovative—different than the usual avant-garde art—a convergent evolution paralleling the Western European artistic tradition.

Wolff some took slides, and upon returning home, he showed them to curators at art galleries and museums in Sonoma County. Many saw commercial potential in the Russian work. With that, the idea for an art exchange was born.

In the 1960s, an informal group of St. Petersburg artists, under the tutelage of painter/educator, Grigory Dlugach, managed to escape from the Ilimitations of official pseudo-art favored by the Soviet government, and its counterpart—underground art.

Soviet artists were forced to work within the dogmatic confines of “social realism” depicting the glory of communism and the happy prolotariat worker. Some chose to work “underground,” and from that counter-revolutionary movement, Russian avant-garde art was born.

The late Dlugach, who was affiliated with the Russian avant-garde movement of Malevich, Kandinsky, and who studied with Petrovodkin and Filimov, taught his students to look for the kamin (which literally means "stone"), the sculptural bedrock structure of Renaissance compositions.

Seeking the true roots of art, they developed a painting school, and literally found refuge in the tradition of the Masters in the Hermitage Museum: Rembrandt, Van Dyke, Delacroix, Cezanne. Hence the name: “The Hermitage Group.”

Curator and organizer for the traveling exhibit, Tony Wolff said, "As a result of their study of the Renaissance masters, the work is very painterly, not abstract, or minimalist; they're incredible crafts/draftsmen."

“When I saw the slides from ‘The Hermitage Group,’” said John Lofgren, director of the Sonoma County Museum, “I saw the work was extraordinarily exciting, and current.

In spite of all the changes going on in Russia, this work was based on Western European classical traditions—there was a basis of communication between us and them.”

Lofgren selected over 60 pieces for the SCM exhibition (May 22 – Aug. 30).

The opening reception is on May 22 at 6 P.M. According to Wolff, the April Hermitage Group debut at the J. Noblett Gallery in Sonoma was very successful. The 40 paintings and graphics on display were well received, and several pieces sold.

More of the Russian work is also on display at the Sonoma Arts Guild through May 31. Wolff hopes to secure a national tour for the collection of the Russian art after its Sonoma County debut.

The story of how Wolff brought back from St. Petersburg 120 paintings and graphics to America is typically Soviet: (Murphski's Law.)

After one and a-half years of intense negotiation with customs officials, and paying over $10,000 rubles to “buy back” their own paintings from the state, the Hermitage Group finally obtained appropriate customs declarations and documentation.

In Feb. 1992, Wolff flew to St. Petersburg to ship the paintings home in crates, but there was no lumber to be had in the city! So they industriously sewed the 120 paintings and graphics into burlap bags.

But at Customs, all was not well; agents began ripping apart the bags, saying the documentation was all wrong, but one agent just happened to be a student of the Hermitage Group, and so, with a flourish, they were sent Ithrough customs.

A lucky break—Dutch KLM airlines allowed Wolff to check the 250 lbs. of paintings as baggage for free—otherwise it would have been over $3000 to ship the art to America. “It was an insane comedy of errors,” said Wolff, “it was really a godsend the works were packed in burlap sacks, otherwise I couldn't have checked it as luggage."

How apropos—this art literally came to America like a stowaway wrapped in burlap.”

Money raised from the sale of the Russian art will help to fund a St. Petersburg/Sonoma cultural artist's exchange program.

Though Wolff has received small local grants from the Sonoma County Community Foundation and the Exchange Bank, he hasn't yet raised all the necessary funding to bring the Hermitage Group here. Wolff estimates he's sold over $6500 worth of the Russian paintings.

He's negotiating with Aeroflot to fly the ten Russian artists to Sonoma County to live and work with local artists—hopefully by the end of summer.

T en Sonoma County artists will reciprocate the exchange by returning with the Russian artists to work at the Hermitage studios, and exhibit their own work in St. Petersburg.



The West Sonoma County Paper, May 18, 1992

Friday, May 1, 1992

Igor Tishler: A Fantasy Come True 5/1/92

Igor Tishler in his Guerneville studio.











Over and over, he goes in clumsy circles,
into the blind darkness
Vladimir Tatlin spreads his mechanical wings…
the domes and the crosses grew dim.

—from "Vladimir Tatlin" by Vladimir Salimon
(transl. Maureen Hurley & Oleg Atbashian)

By Maureen Hurley



Igor Tischler


When the elusive golden window of opportunity opened for Igor Tishler, a fantasy painter from Russia, he didn't hesitate; he grabbed his paintbrushes, canvas, and paints, clicked his heels, and said dosvedanya to the USSR. And landed, not in Kansas, but Colorado. Oz came later.

When a friend sent the artist Igor Tishler an invitation to visit him in Boulder, Colorado, little did he know, he'd end up in exhibiting his work in Guerneville, California—on the Russian River, of all places.

Tishler's first major US art exhibition opens May 9 at the new Curtis Chase Framing Arts & Gallery location on Main Street in downtown Guerneville.

The soft-spoken 37-year-old St. Petersburg artist said he'd sold two paintings at an exhibition in Germany—just enough to buy his Aeroflot ticket to America. But all was not synchronicity once he landed in Boulder, a self-proscribed anti-Russki cowtown.

Though Tishler managed to create new works while acclimatizing to America (he wasn't able to take any of his old work with him—customs officials wanted to charge full value for his paintings), and display art at two exhibitions, no one was buying. Tishler said of Boulder: “It is…how do you say it?… a very western place; not a very good audience.”

A chance visit to California last November, brought the self-taught artist Igor Tishler and a friend to Guerneville, where Tishler met Stumptown luminary, Tom Lynch. Tischler's friend later returned to Russia, but Igor stayed on with Lynch at Southside Resort.

“Here, people like my work. I sold three or four oil paintings, and maybe, ten watercolors in two months—California is so different. For me, it seems people are more interested in different cultures, not just the western style. Maybe it's because California has more different nationalities.”

Raised in Moscow, close to the Russian "White House" and embassies along the River Volga—the birthplace of Slavic culture—Tishler had a typical Soviet childhood, attending school #407. There's a rote Russian saying: Povtoreniye mat ucheniya. Repetition is the mother of knowledge.

Even with glasnost, Soviet schools place an emphasis on orderliness, right/wrong answers, with no allowances for creativity or personal expression—especially in art. Stress is on accuracy and neatness; drawing and painting realistically according to a rigid prescription (Social Realism). Though proscribed fantasy exists in Russian fairy tales and cartoons, children are discouraged from inventing their own make-believe realms.

However, Igor Tishler's active imagination wasn't extinguished. He describes an early childhood experience at the family dacha outside Moscow. “I was four or five, walking with my younger brother on the way to the forest, we saw a giant 12" fly-bee sitting on a bench, and I watched our reflections in her faceted eyes.”

The Tishler brothers ran away in fear, but the memory lingered. When they were 10 and 12, they invented a magic planet, called the Crystal Ball—with jade mountains, castles, princesses and dragons, a dose of good and evil, etc. “This was a strange mix from real life (politics, religion, dreams). Peopled with prototype heroes and villains from the '60s.”

In Igor Tishler's world, there was the Dictator Castro versus the Little People who made up songs and poetry. “They took energy from their songs; their food, magic honey from giant rainbow bees. This country was called Breadland. In the other country, people wore masks; they couldn't be individuals.” Breadland in a country of little bread….

“In 1977, when I was 24, I had a strong dream,” recounts Tishler, “A little man, Rigvanda, from the crystal planet, called to me. He said he'd take me away from earth, turn me into a giant fly-bee… But I was not ready, I was afraid.” So Tishler began to paint and write about that make-believe world.

In 1978, Tishler was drafted into the Red Army, and stationed two years near Lake Baikal in the Chitah region near the Chinese-Mongolian border, where the army put him to work as a graphic artist, cartographer, and calligrapher. In 1980, Igor married, and moved to St. Petersburg, where his wife, Natasha, was an art student, and later, a professional illustrator. (One of her commissions included rendering The Wizard of Oz.)

After the birth of his son, Sasha, Tishler explained, “I tried to write a book on my crystal world for children. This was fantasy, like Tolkien. But I didn't ever read Tolkien because in Russia, we have no translation of him. We began to draw illustrations. At first, when I read Lord of the Rings, I was shocked, all my fantasies broke [shattered]. Some episodes from my book were like from Tolkien.”

Tischler painted his first two big pieces on cardboard, “about a magic town. After that, I think, maybe, I can paint a little bit.” He experimented on/with different materials—nails, rocks, wire and mesh—“like collage.”

“My grandfather, Aleksandr Tishler (1898-1980), was famous artist.” Igor remembers visiting his grandfather's studio. The odor of linseed oil, the dark golden mystery of the ikons amid wood sculptures of dryads carved from the branches of linden trees created a special atmosphere that fired young Igor's imagination.

Tishler said, “My grandfather taught me very strange things, I could not understand at the time what he meant. After maybe two - three years, I understand some things. It was like a secret program. He told me fantasy is not like a sea or a lake; it has limits, like a pond.”

“I was not an artist: I was more industrial draftsman, musician, hippie…” Igor played guitar and drums, dabbled in zen, studied art, iconography and calligraphy; in 1987 Tischler began to paint in earnest.

“My grandfather didn't want me to study in the Cruzhok (the pot) art circle. He said 'This will destroy your talent.' When I drew, I felt no good, I was bored. I can paint real things, but I don't like to. I like hallucinations, fantasy, Surrealism. My father had many art books, Cubism, Dadaism, Dali. I knew about this art. Sometimes people think my grandfather was a Surrealist too, but it's not true. He liked combinations of styles.”

(Salvador Dali's work was banned in the USSR; he was labeled too decadent by the art police.)

Igor showed me two art books of his grandfather's work. Stunned, I recognized a famous drawing of the poet Anna Akhmatova I had admired at her salon-house in Leningrad. Apparently the well-connected Aleksandr Tishler knew many of the belle epoch luminaries: Chagall, Picasso, Modigliani, and Mayakovsky.

Igor recounted a story his grandfather had told him: “Akhmatova wrote, only two artists understood her poetry: Modigliani, and Tishler.” Weighty praise from the mother of modern Russian poetry.

Aleksandr Tishler wasn't mentioned in any of my Russian art books, but then, this blanket omission also includes artists Kasimir Malevich, Vassily Kandinsky, and Marc Chagall. An iron curtain hid the Soviet artists who didn't toe the line. We, in the West, have little concept or grasp of that kind of blanket censorship.

Aleksandr Tishler's work was delegated to some of the best museum basements the repressive, anti-Semetic Stalin-Brezhnev eras had to offer—the lower depths of the Pushkin Museum, the Tretyakov Gallery, and the Bahrushkin Museum of Theater in Moscow, to name a few.

When I was in the Soviet Union 1989, I also found no Chagalls or Maleviches at The Russian Museum, but in 1990, in a back foyer of the Hermitage, I rounded a dark corner and was confronted by five glowing Kandinskys! I stood in rapt attention listening to his symphony of color. Even post-Glasnost Russia, I had to aggressively hunt down the works of these otherwise famous artists of the Western world.

Cut off from European influences of Cubism and Constructivism, (Peter the Great's window on the West closed up pretty tight after the October Revolution), Supremativism was considered to be the first purely indigenous Russian art form of the 20th century (Malevich). Constructivism (Vladimir Tatlin), and Fantasy (Chagall), two other important Russian art movements followed.

Though Tishler the Elder, was of the generation after Malevich and Chagall (who emigrated to America), he incorporated many of their styles in his work. Born in the Crimea, Aleksandr Tishler studied at the Kiev Art School (I visited it in 1989), and was also a sculptor and theater stage designer. He became stage director for the Jewish state theaters in ByeloRuss, Moldova, and Ukraine.

In collaboration with the great Soviet poet Mayakovsky, Aleksandr Tishler' s experimental work in Formalism, Constructivism, and Cubism had a profound effect on the direction of modern theater, launching new concepts into the art world.

While Igor's grandfather, a member of the Artists' Union, wasn't prohibited from painting or exhibiting his work in group shows, Igor says “they were usually held in inaccessible places.” The newspapers gave him unfavorable reviews, citing his work as “bad art.”

Like the Writers' Union, the Artists' Union was a monopoly that had the power to create or destroy artists—by denying them a studio space, living stipend, art materials, and public access to exhibitions, and potential buyers. Repetition is the mother of knowledge.

If you were an accepted official artist, all manner of doors opened. Other Artist Union perks included paid vacations at artist colonies, and use of summer dachas. I was constantly asked if I was an official artist or writer. At first, I didn't know what that meant.

When Akhmatova was banned from the Union, she received no wages, accommodations, or access to publish any of her poems. She, like most of Russia's great cultural heroes, was lavishly reinstated after her death.

igor's grandfather, Aleksandr Tishler died in 1980, before Perestroika; it took his widow four years to gain permission to display a posthumous retrospective of his work. “I went to my grandfather's show and saw his paintings. I was so upset, I Icould not paint for two - three years,” recounts Igor. “I thought I was original artist, I saw only his later work, but he was working on my ideas long before I was born. Am I unconsciously repeating him?”

Igor's own work conjures up visions of Persian miniatures, Russian folkloric lacquerware, but with a New Age twist. Interesting aside to note that the Russian River was a spawning ground of psychadelic fantasy painting. Mad-hatterly LSD parties made vast inroads in people's perceptions during the late '60s and '70s.

A whole generation, appalled by the absence of spiritual values, rediscovered Art Nouveau, in their romantic quest for a new lifestyle. The Beatles, Rubber Soul. Listen to the color of your dreams —Tischler learned English at school, and from Beatle songs.

Tishler's watercolors have a similar playful quality like Dutch pop artist Peter Max's illustrations for Yellow Submarine—which, of course, Tishler's never seen. He explains, “I don't use drugs for my ideas.”

He shows me a chart of two inverted pyramids. The artist works from the superconscious to archetype, to the subconscious level, where the mind visualizes it as dreamlike symbols, and recreates the vision in a painting. He describes how ideas come to him “like a vibration, I can see them, like a hallucinatory slide.”

Some of the pieces in the show include Sad Song, a painting of a trumpeting snail facing the last battle. He describes some of the fantasy creatures as his “small, personal army.” When asked how his work is influenced by California, Tishler replies, “my colors change, I have new ideas, not exactly new, but transformed, expanding ideas. The bicycle is a new idea. I have no car. I ride a bicycle everywhere.”

Tishler shows me whimsical paintings of bicycles, rabbits, moles, and fish—where steampunk mechanical gears predominate. And the Wild West has had an influence as well: designerly paintings of katchina dolls, turtles, horses and women. Tishler's Native American Horse with cloak, animatedly carries designs of the universe and the essence of horse as proudly as the ancient Chinese burial bronzes of flying horses.

In the Babylon Temptation of Eve; Eve's headdress is a ziggurat with gold foil—reminiscent of Gustav Kilmt who was profoundly influenced by the flat surfaces of Oriental prints. Art Nouveau, Surreal, and organic forms rich with symbolism—like Klimt's Byzantine portraits with gold leaf, and intricately patterned material.

Curtis Chase framer/artist Craig Timmerman does an excellent job of showcasing each art piece, enhancing its jewel-like quality.

Some of Tishler's oils are a bit uneven, he admits it's a new medium for him. Where his work excels is in the jewel-like tempera boards, and illustraterly watercolors. Prices for his watercolors and temperas range from $30 to $80, oils from $300 to $1000.

Since 1989, Igor Tishler's work has been included in over 15 exhibitions in Moscow and Leningrad/St Petersburg, with traveling exhibitions to Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, France, and England. His work at the Ariadna gallery, “Art Today,” was featured on Leningrad television, and his work from Germany's “Red Gallery” was aired on Moscow television.

Many of the exhibitions sponsored by Soviet joint ventures with Japan, Germany, Switzerland, etc., have given Tishler good exposure, and afforded him a living. A member of the Young Artists of Leningrad (LOSH) Artists' Union, he figures he's sold some 40 pieces ranging anywhere from $500 to $4000 rubles each (the equivalent of 6 month's Soviet wages—a few US dollars) during the past two-and-a-half years.

With the break-up of the Soviet Union, it's hard to predict what the future of these joint-ventures will be. Artists' Unions, along with the Writers' Unions are collapsing along with the old Communist party system. What will take their places is anybody's guess. Nouvelle censorship of the arts due to poverty? It will be interesting to see what will happen with the uneasy marriage of arts and free enterprise in Russia.

Art always takes us full circle. The European artists—the Impressionists, Art Nouveau painters and designers—all looked east, toward the Orient, for their inspiration. Russia is where east meets west, and St. Petersburg is the fabled window to the west. Igor came to California to where west meets east. Fertile ground. It will be interesting to watch his career develop on the edge of the Pacific Rim.

Tishler hopes to stay in America another 6 months, perhaps a year, or maybe two, if he can get his visa renewed, but he finds life in America isn't as easy as it seems. “Sometimes it's very difficult to live here. When I have no money, it's like a depression. At this poverty level, I cannot live like most Americans.”

Though Tishler misses his wife and son, he feels he can help his family more by staying here. As to what the future might bring, he looks glumly “I don't know. I have no idea. I wait for when Rigvanda comes back to me and turn me into a big fly-bee.”

Meanwhile, his small personal army of fantastical creatures is intent on rediscovering the lost land of Oz on the Russian River.



Reception for the artist Sunday, May 9, from 1 to 4 p.m.; the exhibit will be on display through May 30 at the new Guerneville Curtis Chase Framing Arts & Gallery location at 16355 Main Street (707) 869-2041.


May 1, 1992, The West Sonoma County Paper


Note Bene (7/2010): I Googled Igor Tishler and found a link to an exhibit in Rawdon, Quebec, Sept. 2010. And a Russian Facebook link in Montreal. I wonder if he live there? The lone Igor Tischler image I posted is from Montreal musician Lee Blanchard's MySpace site.

I fared much better finding Alexandr Tishler's work online at the high end art auction houses. There is an amazing similarity in their work.

From ArtNet: Alexander Tischler Biography: Aleksandr Tyshler (also spelled Alexander Tischler/Tishler Tshler) a moderate avante - garde artist of the 1920's, exhibited in USSR, East & West Germany, France, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Japan and the United States. His works are in the Tretyakov Art Gallery and Pushkin Museum, Moscow; the Russian Museum, Leningrad; the Ludwig Museum, Cologne; and the Cremona Foundation, Maryland.

From Invaluable, another art auction site I found a great biography of Aleksandr Tischler: (b Melitopol’, Ukraine, 26 July 1898; d Moscow, 23 June 1980). Russian painter, graphic artist, stage designer and sculptor of Ukrainian birth. He was born into a Jewish family of carpenters. From childhood he was fascinated by itinerant showmen, puppeteers, gypsies and market traders who carried their wares in large baskets or their booths on their heads. From 1912 to 1917 he studied at the Kiev school of art. At the time of the 1917 revolution he was working in Alexandra Exter’s studio, where he met other young artists interested in the theatre, notably I. Rabinovich (1894–1961) and N. Shifrin (1892–1961). After service in the 12th Army he returned in 1919 to Melitopol’, where he created propaganda posters and cartoons for ROSTA (the Russian Telegraph Agency). In 1921 he went to Moscow and undertook some teaching in Vkhutemas (the Higher Artistic and Technical Workshops). He was a founder member of the SOCIETY OF EASEL PAINTERS where, among other works, he exhibited War (1925; Moscow, Tret’yakov Gal.) and Young Girl and Aeroplane (1927; former USSR, priv. col.). During the 1930s Tyshler was attacked for his alleged formalism but continued to work, concentrating on theatrical design. In 1935 he designed Richard III for the Gor’ky Theatre, Leningrad (now St Petersburg), and King Lear for the State Jewish Theatre, Moscow (both designs Moscow, Bakhrushin Cent. Theat. Mus.), the latter production attracting the enthusiasm of Edward Gordon Craig. In the last 20 years of his life he resumed his depictions of itinerant showmen and young lovers, and he executed designs for Shakespeare’s plays.

I also found Aleksandr's name listed in "Nude: Twentieth Century Exhibition," Painting of the best masters of the 20th century. March 8, 2010, at the Moscow Gallery's “House Nashokin.” So I guess he's been repatriated.


NB2: Interesting to revisit these old journal pieces, written without the benefit of the internet—I corrected a few grammatical/punctuation/scan errors—but other than minute 2nd person proper clarifications, the piece is not revised. I hope I'll find Igor again—I've "friended" Lee Blanchard on MySpace. Keep you posted!

FREEDOM COMES IN


FREEDOM COMES IN


It's the nature of dawn
to splash against the horizon
and surrender to the sky
because forgetfulness
is always beyond reach.
It's the nature of freedom
to come in like tomorrow,
late, and out of breath.
No conspiracy
of hidden microphones
in corporate bedrooms
and in poet's quarters;
a burning sensation
as if insects announced
the arrival of word-thieves.
Tuesday is asleep from too much Monday,
blueness is an illusion of scattered light.
The human eye sees 10 million colors.
Tell that to the ozone layer.
What’s the use of sight
when the sun milks
the eyes of sheep and rabbits.
No mother, the sky.
We’ve looked into the eye of God
and become mute as stones.


5/92