on the 26th april 2004
the Naked Loneliness show
was closed by the Barnaul Department of Culture

The show was planned to be ended on the 30th april, but was closed on the 26th.
The reason for closing was that some of the local officials found the paintings to be pornographic and with the support of some local art critics appealed to the head of the Department of Culture of Barnaul with the request to close the Naked Loneliness show.

The head of the Department of Culture did not dare to call our paintings pornographic, but still ordered to close the show in two days.
On the day of closing the officials who innitiated premature ending of the show chose not to come to the pavilion at all, as well as the head of the Department Of Culture, who signed the order.

By the way, all the time while the show was working there was a warning message attached at the entrance saying:


The next day when the press and television was seeking for answers and comments, the head of the Department of Culture Mr. G.Parshkov said that the show was not ordered to be closed, and the show was ended prematurely because the pavilion needed some extra time to prepare for the next show!!!

The main problem is that the pavilion of contemporary art Open Sky, where the show was held, is a room inside of the regional Youth Public Library which is governed and financed but the Department of Culture, and according to their policy - exposing art shows of such nature is immoral and obscene.
In general, contemporary art in Barnaul is kept in a low key by the pro-academic art critics and ignorant officials, who occupy Altai art life totally. Any artist who deviates from "traditional" realistic-impressionistic school is usually discriminated in many possible ways and not taken seriously.
Thus, Open Sky pavilion is currently the only place in Barnaul where emerging artists (who are not members of the Federal Art Union of Russia) can exhibit. From now on the Department of Culture promised to sensor and "guide" the young pavilion, (which have been working for only one year), which means that young artists would have no place in Barnaul to exhibit any more.
There are only a couple of private art galleries in Barnaul, and they are not interested in non-commercial art projects, so they mostly exhibit only salable realistic land and seascapes too.

Somehow the Department of Culture prefers to close the only alternative gallery in the town, instead of creating  new galleries for young artists, who are growing in number and are really in a great need of additional art spaces.

All this demonstrates the dreadful crisis of cultural life in Barnaul, and the situation does not promise to change soon.

Alexei Biryukoff


alexei biryukoff