Yekaterinburg. Summer 1994
Houston. Autumn 1994
       
 

The TEXAS ART for RUSSIA exhibition was initiated by an invitation from Tamara Galeeva of Ural State University in Yekaterinburg, Russia. Ms. Galeeva had become familiar with my work during an exhibit I had at the Museum of Fine Arts in Yekaterinburg in the summer of 1994. And she knew of my activities in the art community of Houston, Texas, from 1981 to 1993, before I moved to Russia. Ms. Galeeva extended an invitation for me to help organize exhibits of contemporary American art for the American Information Center in Yekaterinburg.

 
Yekaterinburg. January - February 1995
       
       
 
During my tenure in Houston I had been on the Board of Directors of the Art League of Houston. I contacted Linda Carter, the Executive Director of the Art League and Lydia Bodner - Balahutrek, an artist and professor of painting, to help organize an exhibit from Houston for Yekaterinburg. With a plan in hand I contacted Paul Smith, the Cultural Attache at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, to see if the United States Information Service would be interested in helping with their sponsorship; and they were. Paul and I both thought it would be a good idea to investigate the possibility of doing the exhibit at other American Centers throughout Russia as well. After contacting the primary six American centers throughout the country and getting positive responses from all, it became simply a scheduling problem to facilitate Texas Art for Russia.
And of course we had to get the works of forty Texas artists gathered, prepared, crated and transported from the American Southwest to points east.
 
Tomsk. March 1995
       
       
 
Conceptually, I felt it more important to make this exhibit an introductory program rather then get into any specific movements or trends that might be prevalent in Houston at that time. It was therefore my intent, to include a broad spectrum of "contemporary" artists. That is to say, we chose and invited artists of differing ages, a variety of conceptual approaches, ethnic backgrounds, and with a sound representation of the kinds of materials that were used by artists in Houston at that time. We limited the size to 18 by 24 inches, due to the constraints of the budget and unpredictable travel arrangements. And it was decided we should implement the exhibits in the space of one year. The work shown was primarily works on paper, a few collages and photography.
 
St. Petersburg. April - May 1995
       
       
       
       
 

Texas Art for Russia was shown first in Yekaterinburg then Tomsk, St. Petersburg, Rostov on Don, Nizhney Novgorod, Tyumen, and it concluded in Moscow in November and December of the 1995. Each of the exhibits was shown for a little over a month's time in the local American Centers of these Russian cities except for St. Petersburg were the exhibit was hosted by the Russian State Museum at their Marble Palace galleries. In Tyumen the exhibition was hosted and sponsored by the Tyumen/Houston Sister City organization.

 
Rostov on Don. June - July 1995
       
       
 
The American Centers were and are basically libraries and resource centers. This made the installation something of a challenge in each case. The work was presented under clear plastic to keep the physical dimension of the work as thin as possible making it easy to pack in two small carrying crates. We installed with any kind of hanging device we could utilize on the spot; there was generally limited wall space available, so we used the sides of book shelves, drapes, display cases, etc. Tyumen gave us a local art salon to show in which was very nice. But of course the Russian Museum was by far the most professional and impressive venue. I personally framed the work with individually fitted wooden frames and glass for that exhibition.
 
Nizhney Novgorod. September - October 1995
       
       
       
 
As an outreach program I believe it was very successful and it was a tremendous personal experience. I met hundreds of Russians: students, educators, artists and arts professionals, journalists, politicians and business people of all stripes. I presented an average of three slide lectures daily when on the road with the exhibit. My lectures were about Texas contemporary art, American contemporary art in general and my own career as an American contemporary artist. The talks were presented at universities, art galleries, Unions of Artists gatherings, architecture groups, grade schools, and of course in the American Centers. The following photographic presentation is an attempt to chronicle and share fragmented portions of the year long experience.
 
Tyumen. November 1995
       
 

I owe many thanks to the cumulative efforts of the American Center Staffs throughout Russia, Tamara Galeeva, Linda Carter, Lydia Bodner - Balahutrek, Paul Smith and the United States Information Service, the Art League of Houston, the Tyumen/Houston Sister City Organization, and forty trusting artists for the year long loan of their work for the exhibition Texas Art for Russia.

Frank Williams

 
Moscow. 1992 - 1995
       
       
       
 
Moscow. November - December 1995
       
 
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