In 1990, when the Soviet Union was already dying but had not yet collapsed completely, Julia and Marat Gelman opened The Gelman (Guelman) Gallery. It was one of the first private art galleries in the Soviet Union.
They were witnesses to the incredible and rapid changes that were occurring in the USSR, and during this time the Gelman’s worked with many political and social artists. They believed art was an expression of freedom, and these artists were accurately documenting the spirit of the times. In 2000 Putin came to power, and all the open doors began to shut.
The political and social art the gallery exhibited by Russian contemporary artists like Oleg Kulik, Alexander Kosolapov, and Blue Noses was considered too controversial. This caused them to be targeted by extremist groups as well as the government, which ultimately forced them to close the gallery in 2012. Seven years later Julia Gelman in collaboration with One After 909, will exhibit Caution! Freedom: Contemporary Art from Russia, with complete freedom in Chicago.
Artists in the exhibition: AES Group (AES+F), Blue Noses Group, Dmitry Gutov, Alexey Kallima, Komar & Melamid, Alexander Kosolapov, Oleg Kulik, Leonid Lamm, Tatiana Liberman, Pavel Pepperstein, Dmitry Tsvetkov, Dmitry Vrubel.
Image: Blue Noses Group, Era of Mercy I., 2005-2009, Photograph, 30 x 40 inches