GROTON -- "Renewal and Metamorphosis: Russian Photographs from the Forbes Collection of the Navigator Foundation" runs at Groton School's de Menil Gallery from April 7 to June 1.

Murray Forbes III, who graduated from Groton in 1958, assembled this remarkable group of photographs from artists and collectors during repeated visits to the Soviet Union over three decades. He founded the Navigator Foundation to promote international understanding through an appreciation of the various ways different cultures have employed the photographic medium to express their own experience. Forbes will give a gallery talk on Wednesday, April 16, at 7:15, to which the public is cordially invited.

The exhibit sheds insight on Russian history and politics through the photographer's lens.

In the early 20th century, Russian photography flourished along with the other arts and continued to show vitality through the turmoil of the Bolshevik Revolution and civil war. By the late '30s, Stalin had muzzled all the arts, although when Germany invaded Russia, he partially lifted photographic censorship to popularize the heroes of the Great War for the Fatherland.

As the Khrushchev era melted into the Brezhnev years, private citizens were allowed to amuse themselves with amateur photography as a modest form of individual expression. With the advent of glasnost, photographers could display their work to larger audiences than friends and fellow camera club members. Indeed, Russian photography during the 1990s experimented with growing abstraction and more biting social content.


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The de Menil Gallery is always free and open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed April 27 -29.

The Gallery is located in the Dillon Art Center at Groton School, 282 Farmers Row, one mile south of Groton Center on Route 111.