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Guardians. Andy Freeberg (USA), photos

California based photographer Andy Freeberg has long been fascinated with the gallery and museum worlds, often turning his camera on the dealers, gallery patrons, artists, museum guards, and their interplay with the works of art themselves. His project Guardians, about the women that guard the art in Russian museums. Freebergs work is in many public and private collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Portland Art Museum, the George Eastman House, and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.

In the art museums of Russia, women sit in the galleries and guard the collections. When you look at the paintings and sculptures, the presence of the women becomes an inherent part of viewing the artwork itself. I found the guards as intriguing to observe as the pieces they watch over. In conversation they told me how much they like being among Russias great art. Many of them are retired professionals. I met a former economist, a dentist, an actress, an archivist. A woman in Moscows State Tretyakov Gallery Museum said she often returns there on her day off to sit in front of a painting that reminds her of her childhood home. Another guard travels three hours each day to work, yet shes happy and proud to be at the museum enjoying the people watching, surrounded by the history of her country.

Andy Freeberg

Photographer called his project Guardians. It consists of 39 photographs made in Russian art museums. This project won Photolucidas Critical Mass book award and was published in 2010. For the first time in Russia the unique photographs of the series were shown in the State Museum of the History of St Petersburg in autumn 2013 within the framework of the 12th Festival Contemporary art in the traditional museum. The exhibition Guardians has attracted great interest among inhabitants and guests of St Petersburg and now thanks to North-western brunch of The National Centre for Contemporary Arts people from Karelia have an opportunity to get acquainted with 19 unique works by Andy Freeberg. 

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