From the Russian court to the mountains of Tibet, and from the laboratories of Pittsburgh to the salons of Park Avenue, the extraordinary career of the artist and entomologist Andrey Avinoff (1884–1949) has never been surveyed in its entirety. Avinoff created a rich body of effusive, fantastical, Symbolist watercolor paintings that express yearnings both mystical and homoerotic, exploding beyond the strictures of his equally esteemed entomological research (“I bow to scientific fact until five o’clock,” he once declared. “After that I may have other ideas”). Andrey Avinoff: In Pursuit of Beauty accompanies the first exhibition devoted to this visionary in more than 50 years. Incorporating botanical illustrations, Symbolist watercolors, apocalyptic scenes, dance subjects, and homoerotic drawings (many of which the artist made for his friend Alfred Kinsey), author and curator Louise Lippincott elaborates the work through Avinoff’s identity as a gay man and situates him firmly within the culture of Russia’s bountiful Silver Age.
Accompanied exhibition at Carnegie Museum of Art, February 26 to August 28, 2011.
2011; 104 pages with 80 color illustrations; available from the Carnegie Museum of Art Store and D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers; ISBN 978-0-88039-053-8
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