Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Russian icons find home in Bay State mill town.

Today's Boston Globe includes an interesting article on the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Mass. Already home to the largest collection of Russian icons in the West, this relatively new private museum is set to play host to a major exhibition of icons from Moscow's Tretyakov Gallery. Here's some of what the Globe has to say:

A small brick building adjoining a driver's education school and insurance agency isn't the first place a person would look for the world's largest collection of Russian icons outside of Russia. But that's where the Museum of Russian Icons is, in this mill town on the Nashua River. It's an hour west of Boston - and a world away from St. Petersburg.

"Everybody I talked to about this said, 'You're crazy not to do it in the big city,' " Gordon Lankton, the museum's founder, said in an interview this week at the museum. Lankton, 77, spoke with enthusiasm about icons, oblivious to the sound of hammers and crumbling plaster coming from behind a back wall.

The museum, which opened two years ago, is in the process of doubling its size of 5,000 square feet. Some 5,000 visitors came last year. This year it reached that figure by June.

Attendance is expected to go even higher starting Oct. 16, when the museum hosts its first traveling exhibition. "Two Museums/One Culture" features 16 master icons from the world's premiere institution of Russian art, Moscow's State Tretyakov Gallery, as well as icons from the museum's collection.

"It's rare for them to loan," said Natalia Batova, cultural attaché at the Russian Federation Embassy in Washington, D.C., in a telephone interview. "This show is quite an event."

How did Clinton become so, well, iconic? The town has no appreciable Russian population or other major cultural institutions. What it has is Lankton.

"The town of Clinton was very good to me," Lankton said. "I decided as long as I made my money in Clinton I should pay back some of it in Clinton."
To read the rest, click here. AMDG.


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