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Maker(s):Shemiakin (Chemiakin), Mikhail Mikhailovich
Culture:Russian (b.1943)
Date Made:1977
Materials:Color lithograph on wove paper
Measurements:Sheet: 24 1/4 x 19 1/8 in.; 61.6 x 48.6 cm; Plate: 16 3/4 x 16 13/16 in.; 42.5 x 42.7 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2001.430
Credit Line:Gift of Thomas P. Whitney (Class of 1937)
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
At the age of eighteen, Shemiakin was expelled from art school for his non-conformist views. To cure him of his “sick modernistic tendencies,” the authorities subjected him to psychiatric treatment in 1961. Further confrontations prompted Shemiakin’s emigration to France in 1971; he would eventually settle in New York ten years later.

Here, the artist transforms the Soviet Union’s national symbol, a bear, into a critique: with its mouth tied, the beast forces free-thinking citizens into the private refuge of their minds. Two vertical signal lines seem to hang suspended in air, without substantial support, suggesting a failure of security. Meticulously rendered in line and color, the print restricts its joyfully saturated composition within cautious, vigilant borders.
MW, 2010

abstract; stylization; birds; faces; animals; lines; patterns

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