PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Jen Schmitt on Ekphrasis Rachel Hadas on Text and Pandemic Kirsty Gunn Essaying two Jee Leong Koh Palinodes in the Voice of my Dead Father Maureen Mclane Correspondent Breeze
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This report is taken from PN Review 98, Volume 20 Number 6, July - August 1994.

Letter from St Petersburg Jeremy Noble

'A loaf of bread and a kilo of art, please,' explained Natalia Alexandrovna, director of the Borey art gallery on Literary' Prospect. 'That is how I want people to think of the pictures on show here. It's not an art exhibition, it's an artistic happening. Wait and see how people will buy.' It was a Saturday evening and this was an unusual auction of paintings by young Petersburg artists.

The Borey is famous for having exhibited a naked man and woman who were then painted by the artist as 'Adam and Eve'. This time the pictures were being sold by weight, a dollar per kilo. Russian artists are now a very commercial breed, and it is perhaps not surprising that if I could have afforded anything I would have needed a thick wallet and a very large carrier bag. There was a time - only two or three years ago - when you could go direct to an artist's studio and buy a picture for roubles. Now, artists have agents who control this 'art market' and price everything in hard currency.

I looked around me, at the rather ragged group of mainly artists' friends, trying not to get in the way of the television cameras: art here is still an everyday news item. I was searching for the discerning new Russian rich, the spiritual descendants of Shchukin and Morozov, those pre-revolutionary Moscow merchants whose nationalised collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century French pictures ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image