Dear Hermitage…

News About Malvina 2018. Acrylic on board, 12 x 16″

Dear Hermitage,

Can you push a little good fortune to your painting neighbors? It seems too easy, more so now than ever before, to host the visual love, hopes and dreams of your cities’ artists. I see their expression every day on the Internet, from way over here at 45 degrees latitude, and down about 17 degrees from you crisper arctic dreamland. You’re not trying to mirror a MoMA are you? Because in America we painters know the MoMA to be a bad joke on the struggle of the world’s living artists. It’s one more phony dope dealer in a corporate opiate mall. It knows mediocrity can be sold to the mediocre, but it cannot know art, not know it fully, since a market personality will always shun the existential dread and rooftop yawping of the artist, the expressionist, the bipolar image-maker, the clumsy over-elaborater. In America, young people in the arts are taught to network toward advancement, thousands are graduating from colleges and universities each year to set up social media sites for galleries, and pretend that a new car payment will recognize a work of art, or any worthy artist among them. My naivety refuses to believe Russia is on a similar path. Saint Petersburg is bursting with the potential energy of  hometown artists. They must be everywhere for the lack of venues available. My Russian friends send their work overseas to me, at no light effort of time and expense, while so many careful and fortunate gallerists of your cities mimic the western paradigm, which is fraught with such vacuous and uninspiring visual theater. I know because I live in it.

New York has turned Basquiat into a billionaire’s toy. New York is stupid.

I took an interest in your museum about two years ago while hosting an exhibition of my work and the work of four Russian painters—three, who happened to be your neighbors on the street. One of your board members might have had his tea topped off in a cafe by Lena Ulanova, while she dreamed of strange Americans captured by her paintings and purchasing them precisely for their ability to instigate positivity and dreaming, uninteresting to corporate galleries and museums unless the bottom line can be drawn beforehand in fat, black marker.

Still, the majesty of your beautiful palace on the Neva captured my imagination and I followed what you had to show on social media. One day you posted the efforts made toward our little breakthrough exhibition, and hope was reborn.

Dear Hermitage, Please Do Not Forsake Your Native Son 2016. Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48″

I began to believe in an earthly domain for the living artist. I dreamed a permanent residence for my wife and I to celebrate the seasons passing:

I Think St. Petersburg Would Be A Good Place For The Shoeless Painter 2016. Acrylic, 17 x 24″

Your city, and your painters have inspired both the American dreamer and malcontent in me. Their work is a treasure to uplift and encourage (as well as so many unmentioned, under-represented artists on your streets). Certainly the Hermitage has the resources to reach out to a Lena Ulanova, Andrew Makarov, Alexey Stepanov, and if it feels Moscow to be a sister city, then Alena Levina as well. The MoMA has lost touch. It is not a museum of modern art. It is a museum of wealth and oftentimes bad taste, charging $25 for cheap existentialism, that any dope can see for him or herself on a private night walk. Your city. Your painters. The non-existentialists, expressing what is alive now, and what is truly modern. And they charge next to nothing. I myself wish to meet more of them, to walk a Saint Petersburg boulevard, to stop mid-bridge and watch the big fluffy clouds pass overhead in late summer. I want to see this alleyway, and know this winter:


There you go. My first appeal to you, dear Hermitage. Please find these painters. Let the world see Saint Petersburg via its own precious artists. Open your doors and secure the continued greatness of your city, or follow New York artifice to the dead end of manufactured art for the wealthy.

Lena wrote about her first United States solo exhibition and made me blush a bit. Do you see the red in my cheeks? It’s life. It’s modern. It’s non-existentialism. Seek her work and show it, even in a tiny space to a thousand eyes. You will thank me for it when your city becomes the art capital of the world.

Bad translation by me, followed by original Russian:

This autumn, in America, I will have my first solo exhibition. Over the summer I sent 30 paintings to my friend, a wonderful artist and an amazing person (vice versa)—Ron Throop. Ron is really an amazing person, and I am not wasting words. Obsessed with painting, he paints as well, and helps other artists when he can. He helped me in the past, curating a group exhibition in America, along with Andrew Makarov, Alexey Stepanov, and Alena Levina. Recently he curated a solo exhibition of the Spanish painter Lupo Sol. He regularly organizes exhibitions of his own strange and colorful paintings. Now it’s my turn. Hooray!
Life is an amazing thing. In August of 2015, when I first came to meet and paint with the guys on the Yunnatov streets, and entered the studio and saw paintings by various artists, among them on the wall hung three paintings of one artist. I asked Lesha Stepanova, who the painter was. It was Ron Throop. Who would have known, then, that this person would bring such joy into my life.
There is so much more to say, but I will not. Thanks to Ron, for his work and kindness! If you are near New York, please go to the exhibition. And tell me later how it went. The address and date to be announced.

[Fuel gallery will gladly succumb to another gallery in need of greatness.]

Этой осенью, в Америке, пройдёт первая персональная выставка. 30 картин добрались до нашего друга, замечательного художника и удивительного человека (можно наоборот) – Рона Трупа, этим летом. Рон действительно удивительный человек, это не просто слова. Одержимый живописью, он рисует сам и помогает другим художникам. Так с его помощью, в Америке, прошло уже три наших совместных с Андреем Макаровым, Алексеем Степановым и Алёной Левиной, выставки. Недавно он организовал персональную выставку испанского художника Lupo Sol. Он регулярно организовывает выставки своих странных, красочных картин. Теперь пришла моя очередь. Ура!
Жизнь удивительная штука. В августе 2015-го, когда я в первый раз пришла знакомится и рисовать вместе с ребятами на улицу Юннатов, когда я вошла в эту комнату-мастерскую и увидела картины самых разных художников, среди них на стене висели три картины одного художника. Я спросила Лешу Степанова, кто их автор. Автором оказался Рон Труп. Кто бы знал, тогда, что именно этот человек принесёт столько радости в мою жизнь.
Больше сказать, вроде бы нечего. Спасибо Рону, за его работу и доброту! И будете недалеко от Нью-Йорка – заходите на выставку. Если получится зайти, расскажите хоть потом, как всё прошло) Адрес и дата будут позже.