Meeting with the artist Yury Katchan: Friday, August 7, 2015 at 7:30 pm
Artworks are available for sale
Yuri Katchan was born in Minsk, Belarus. He resides in Houston with his wife Rita and has a daughter who lives in New York. Yuri is an engineer by trade but an artist at heart. Art is his passion and has always been a part of him: he made puppets for theatre in school, shoes in college, and even toys for his daughter when she was growing up.
The art represented in this exhibition showcases different mediums of his works – paintings, sculptures, and a mixed medium technique incorporating all of his favorite elements. He enjoys working with copper and utilizes orange as the main color in his pieces. “Rhapsody in Orange” showcases the artist’s ability to find something alluring in the commonplace, as in his piece “Alarm Clock”, which features a bell alarm clock framed by wood, copper, and leather.
Yuri’s unique hobby also features in this exhibition. Aside from art, this exhibition includes pieces from the artist’s shoehorn collection. He uses all kinds of sources to add to the collection – eBay, shoe stores around the world during his travels, antique and flea markets. Yuri jokes, “I’ve also made it easy for my friends when they are considering a gift for me – shoehorns never fail!”
Half a year ago, we announced a contest for a mural to be installed on the sides of the Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas” to render the building more distinct. The painting would draw the attention of those passing by on Bissonnet – especially pedestrians – and encourage them to enter our small building.
Unfortunately, we did not win a grant for the mural. But we decided not to abandon our plans.
Six artists participated in the contest and submitted their works. Each of them had his merits; they all understood that these two limited-square panels must reflect the most remarkable elements of Russian culture and history. Ballet, space, Mukhina’s sculpture “Worker and Kolkhoz Woman”, musical instruments, nesting dolls, and khokhloma painting all come to mind – but what to choose?
On one hand, it was absolutely necessary to represent the character of Russia, and on the other hand, we did not at all want a stereotypical display à la russe.
What type of Russian-Soviet art do people around the world prefer, you might wonder? Which artists do they know, and what style most impresses them? The answer is clear: without a doubt, Constructivism. The posters of Rodchenko and Mayakovsky, Bulanov and Klutsis, Lavnysky and the Stebergs are still considered the standards of the genre. They are displayed in the Museums of Modern Art in London and New York and are models for students around the world.
Among other things, the Constructivists were the first major ad artists. They thought up the ad, considering, first and foremost, its functionality instead of forcing it onto a painting as the artists before them did.
This was precisely the style chosen by the famous chain Saks Fifth Avenue, who invited designer Shepard Fairey to lead its Spring 2009 campaign. The designer of the hugely famous “Hope” poster became an icon during the first presidential campaign of President Obama in 2008. Alluding to Russian symbolism for his Saks campaign, Shepard chooses a red-white-black palette, geometric shapes, and a Russian lettering. The Russian inscription recalls the store’s slogan, “I wanted”.
“What we do every day, really, is propaganda,” said Terron E. Schaefer, the senior vice president for marketing at Saks. Why not turn to the best examples of the genre?
Therefore, our choice fell on the sketches of talented Houston-based artist Maksim Koloskov. Maksim graduated from art school in the town of Volsk before receiving a degree in architecture from the Moscow Architectural Institute. Having moved to Houston, he first worked with the architectural firm Gensler and now works in Rottet Studio. Drawing, painting, and photography have always been his passions. Maksim is very pleased that he will have the opportunity to paint the exterior walls of the Russian Cultural Center. And we, in turn, believe that we are incredibly lucky to have him as our artist.
His proposed western façade did not raise any objections. Silhouettes of the ancient domes of Moscow with an inverted panorama of downtown Houston in red and black against the white background of our building is the best way to convey the idea of our center: the popularization of Russian culture among all the inhabitants of our city. But a debate has begun concerning the eastern façade. First of all, everyone liked the red square in the middle of the Red Army, taken from the famous poster “Have you volunteered?” Only the text along the perimeter of the square was different. It turned out succinct, clear, and vivid, but the depiction of the Red Army was too militaristic for the neighboring kindergarten. Nesting dolls were the solution. Maksim found precisely what was needed: three nesting dolls with strong geometric paintings fit perfectly in the square, and the owners of the kindergarten as well as its visitors should be satisfied.
But a small matter remains: we need to raise $2,800 to realize our plans. We turned to you, our dear readers and lovers of culture. Several of you have already responded to our request: Tanya Grinblat, Olga Vayner, Victoria Filippov, Larissa Buyankina, Yulia Vekshina, – a big “thank you” to them. $345 have been raised to this date. We hope that in the coming months we will succeed in raising our target. You can support us by donating online at https://www.causes.com/campaigns/92638-beautify-our-center or by sending a check in the name of “RCC Our Texas” to 2337 Bissonnet Houston, TX 77005.
We remind you that the Russian Cultural Center is a non-profit organization, so you not only support the spread of Russian culture, but can also deduct your donation from your taxes.
Meeting with the artist Olga Porter: Friday, July 3, 6:00p.m.
All artworks are available for sale
Oleg Zakomorny is a well-known Russian artist and sculptor. He lives and works in Moscow. Oleg is a member of Moscow Union of Artists and of Creative Union of Artists since 1996. Oleg regularly participates in exhibitions in Russia and abroad. His works of art are placed in museums and galleries and in private collections in Russia and overseas. At this exhibit we present Oleg’s graphics.
The Russian-born artist Olga Porter works in traditional medium of oil on linen to capture the uniqueness of a moment. Porter has exhibited in Arizona, Oregon and Texas, including Texas Biennial 2009, ALH Celebration of Texas Art 2010, Hunting Art Prize show 2010 and 2011, and Best of Texas 2011. Her works have been featured in American Art Collector Magazine, Austin monthly, Art Ltd, and other publications.
Nudes by Olga Porter are young nude women painted from life. Each painting took only 2 to 5 hours to create. All the models are local to Houston. The series celebrates the mystery of youth and the power of life.
The best works of independent Russian movie makers will be screened in five cities of Texas: Houston, Dallas, Austin, College Station and Lubbock. Our partners are: University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Arlington -Dallas, Texas A&M – College Station, University of Houston, and Texas Tech University.
The Russian Cultural Center is continuing to work on improving our space. We replaced all of our gallery lighting to more efficient light bulbs (thank you to everyone who helped make it happen), and now we want to make our center a beautiful and inviting space!
RCC will turn our building into a work of public art. Talented Russian artist, Maksim Koloskov, will paint a mural on two walls of our building. Maksim attended art school in Volsk and then got his architectural degree from the Moscow Architectural Institute (MArchI). After coming to Houston, he began working with the architectural firm, Gensler, and later with the Rottet Studio, where he continues working today. Drawing, painting, and photography have always been Maksim’s passion, and he is excited to give back to the community by painting our murals. We will also install a large window in the front of the building, so that passersby can see our current gallery exhibition on display.
We want to not only beautify our space, but we want to turn it into a cultural destination in the city of Houston.We believe the art installation on our building will increase foot traffic to our art gallery and center.
Public art makes art accessible and free to improve communities. The Russian Cultural Center can become a landmark in Greater Houston, beautify and enhance the creative spirit of the city, and attract new artists and visitors.
We are a small but vibrant organization, and we would like our space to reflect this! With your support, we can!
RCC is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization and your charitable gifts are tax deductible.
Please make your check payable to the
Russian Cultural Center “Our Texas”
and mail it to 2337 Bissonnet Houston, Texas 77005
RCC Our Texas and Houston Ballet present ballet “Svadebka”.
Jessica Collado, soloist ballerina, and Ned Battista, assistant conductor, will discuss Igor Stravinsky’s score and Jiri Kylian’s ballet Svadebka, which will be part of Houston Ballet’s summer repertory Morris, Welch & Kylian.
Battista will highlight the intricacies of the vocal score and Collado will give audience members insight into the characters in Kylian’s ballet.
Video clips of the Houston Ballet performance will be shown.
Documentary “Winston Churchill: Walking With Destiny”;
Q/A session with Jonathan Sandys, Churchill’s great-grandson, and Mark Zaltsberg.
Jonathan Sandys, a great-grandson of Britain’s wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill is an international public speaker on the life and times of his illustrious relative and the impact Sir Winston still has on the world today. Churchill’s courage and determination enabled the British to stand firm against Hitler and the Nazis, even when France surrendered and Britain stood alone. The example of Sir Winston Churchill is a legacy of success and stands as a demonstration of how one man’s determination in the face of defeat can change the world forever.
Mark Zaltsberg is a knowledgeable person and experienced speaker. His numerous presentations on different topics at the Russian Cultural Center are always memorable events for both Russian and English speaking guests. He will ask Mr. Sandys questions regarding Sir Churchill and also share his own passion and knowledge about this great man.
NARRATOR: Houston is the largest city in the southern United States. Residents of this metropolis speak more than 90 languages from around the world. Here in Texas, Jonathan Sandys—the great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill—found his wife and his home.
The pouring rain here serves as a reminder of London. The great-grandson of the former prime minister—who was voted as the greatest Briton in history in a BBC poll—gives lectures about Sir Churchill’s legacy, publishes the online blog Churchill Bulletin, and has written a book coming out in October.
SANDYS: ‘Ya vas lyublyu’…that means ‘I love you’!
NARRATOR: This declaration of love is the only Russian the 40-year old great-grandson of Churchill knows. But today, this phrase is very appropriate. The Russian Cultural Center in Houston dedicated an evening to Churchill’s memory. In honor of the 70th anniversary of victory in World War II, the Center also hosts an exhibition of photographs by the legendary photographer Samary Gurariy, who captured historic images of meetings of the “Big Three”—leaders of the anti-Hitler coalition. What’s more, Jonathan’s uncle Nicholas Soames—Churchill’s grandson and member of the House of Commons—was the official representative of the British Prime Minister at celebrations in Moscow on May 9. “It was a general victory for all the Allies, their common cause. My great-grandfather was very much opposed to communism, but was much more opposed to Nazism. And, at the end of the day, when the Russians were attacked by Hitler, Russia thought that she was alone. And I think that Stalin was quite surprised when my great-grandfather said, “If you want to join us as an ally, you are most welcome.” In actual fact, a few weeks before Hitler attacked Russia, he called Stalin to warn him, but Stalin didn’t believe him. We Britons and Americans are very grateful to Russia for its special contribution to the victory.
NARRATOR: In Russian history, the attitude towards Churchill has always been influx: the positive excitement of the perestroika/glasnost period and early Yeltsin years was replaced by a wary, if not hostile, view in conjunction with a “reversion back to the Soviet Union”. Churchill has an aphorism regarding this issue: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Those who fought on the frontlines and saw the war are becoming fewer and fewer, while the latest history textbooks feature this politician primarily as the author of the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Fulton. Many in Russia are convinced that it was this speech (not the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe and creation of pro-Kremlin regimes there) that gave rise to the “Cold War”. Last year, thanks to FBI archives that have been opened, we learned of Churchill’s appeal to President Truman to drop an atomic bomb on the Kremlin.
SANDYS: My great-grandfather was very much opposed to communism, because he saw that people were basically enslaved. But he took an important decision during the war to separate the German people from the Nazis, so that at the end of the war, the German people would be welcomed back into the flock of Europe. The same was done with Russians and communism. There were the Russian people and communists. And I still think that’s the case today. Yes, unfortunately…people like Stalin have put Russia’s position with Europe way back, because countries like America, countries like Britain, find it very difficult to trust the Russian government. But the Russian people are absolutely fantastic, wonderful people and if we have to fight someone again, we’d really like to have the Russians on our side. I don’t think that’s the government, so much as regular people.
NARRATOR: “Never surrender!”, the rule Winston Churchill followed since his school days, became a slogan for his whole country during World War II.
SANDYS: Churchill had great courage. Churchill had great faith. That’s what we’re missing today: strong leaders who are brave, have strong faith and are honest. Honest people who won’t lie to use and who believe in their people.
NARRATOR: The Churchill Challenge, as the prime minister’s great-grandson called it, is designed to improve and develop leadership qualities in oneself. He proposes that everybody start a journal to write about deeds that display courage, faith, and honesty. The main thing is to remember: “Never surrender!”
Alexander Panov, in a special report for “Nastoyashee Vrema”. Houston, Texas. Sponsors: