The Desert of Forbidden Art
In the summer of 2011 during our Rialto on the Road phase in Sonoma County we presented a compelling documentary on banned and rescued art in the Soviet Union titled THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART. Today THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART is our next Rialto Recommends. How does art survive in a time of oppression? During the Soviet rule artists who stay true to their vision are executed, sent to mental hospitals or Gulags. Their plight inspires young Igor Savitsky. He pretends to buy state-approved art but instead daringly rescues 40,000 forbidden fellow artist's works and creates a museum in the desert of Uzbekistan, far from the watchful eyes of the KGB. Though a penniless artist himself, he cajoles the cash to pay for the art from the same authorities who are banning it. Savitsky amasses an eclectic mix of Russian Avant-Garde art. But his greatest discovery is an unknown school of artists who settle in Uzbekistan after the Russian revolution of 1917, encountering a unique Islamic culture, as exotic to them as Tahiti was for Gauguin. They develop a startlingly original style, fusing European modernism with centuries-old Eastern traditions. The LA Times raved that THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART "Tells a tale that is stranger than fiction several times over. Viewers of this remarkable documentary will be astonished at not only what this art looks like and why it's forbidden, but also where it is and how it got there." While the New York Times said "The filmmakers found an appealing collection of relatives and others who knew these artists and Savitsky to tell the story, but they also let the art do the talking, with loving, lingering shots of the brightly colored works." THE DESERT OF FORBIDDEN ART is available to rent for a modest fee from GooglePlay, YouTube or Amazon. As this film was not available on any streaming service several months ago, we would encourage you if you are at all intrigued to add this to your watch que sooner rather than later given how streaming rights seem to move around on whims.