Russia: The Connoisseur Speaks

"What sort of smear is this?" gasped Nikita Khrushchev as he strolled past rows of abstract paintings in a Moscow art gallery last week. "You cannot figure out whether they were painted by human hands or daubed by a donkey's tail!" With these words, the Kremlin's ruler doused hopes of Soviet painters that a new liberal era of artistic freedom was under way in Russia.

Approaching the painter of an avantgarde canvas titled Self-Portrait, Khrushchev asked, "Have you a mother?" "She's dead," stammered the artist. Replied Nikita: "She would die a second time...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!