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Skidmore College

Russian artist to give Raab Lecture

March 3, 2013

Russian artist Sergei Isupov will give the Raab Visiting Artist Lecture this spring at Skidmore College. Free and open to the public, the illustrated talk will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 5, in the Payne Room of Skidmore’s Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery. This lecture was originally scheduled last fall but postponed due to Hurricane Sandy.

Often called an erotic Surrealist for his daring representations of sexuality, relationships, and human encounter, Isupov takes narrative subject matter and merges it with ceramic sculptural form. Drawing on personal experience and human observation, he creates works that integrate autobiography with universal narrative. The Ukraine native combines a bold color palette, heavily tattooed faces, and textured surfaces, all of which relate his works to the aesthetics of traditional Russian art, as well as to contemporary styles of illustration.

In her feature essay for the catalogue "Androgyny" that accompanied the 2009 exhibition by the same name, Sonya Bekkerman stated, "Sergei Isupov was born in the '60s, a decade in which Russian artists began to actively question and defy the prescribed artistic ideology dictated by the Soviet Union, and he left in 1983, just before the turbulent artistic breakthroughs incited by Gorbachev's perestroika in 1987. […] Like many of his contemporaries who sought to express their individuality away from party control, Isupov emigrated to the United States, where he has never stopped looking inward and revealing truths, free associations, and sheer id, no matter how cryptic, filtered through an American and Russian lens."

Isupov earned a B.A./M.F.A. ceramics degree at the Art Institute of Tallinn, Estonia, and also studied at the Ukrainian State Art School, Kiev. Among his awards and honors are the 2001 Louis Comfort Tiffany Biennial Award and a top award for excellence at the 1996 Smithsonian Craft Show. His work is included in the collections of Museum of Art and Design, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; and the Museum fur Angewandte, Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany, among others.

The Rosanne Brody Raab Lecture was endowed at Skidmore by Raab, a member of the College's Class of 1955 and an art advisor whose firm specializes in the arts of craft and design as a way to showcase artists working in clay, fiber, metal, and wood.

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