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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Washington, Moscow Artists Stage a Different Kind of Summit

Washington and Moscow have always been good for summits -- presidential talks, nuclear roundtables, shindigs on international security -- b.ut it is less often that the two capitals are the subject of a private cultural exchange.

"Washington-Moscow 22" is the title of an exhibit that grew from the combined efforts of the ElitE Gallery, the International Confederation of Theater Associations and Patriarchy Dom, and features the works of 22 Russian and American artists.

Patrice Gancie, director of the Russian-American cultural center Patriarchy Dom, decided to organize an exhibit in conjunction with Moscow's ElitE gallery as a sort of cultural bridge between the two cities. A native of Washington, and from a family of artists, Gancie has long been committed to the art scene in Washington. For the past three years she has been running an organization in Moscow that introduces Russian culture to foreigners through sightseeing tours and language courses.

The present exhibit is the first of its kind organized by the cultural center. All 11 American artists in the exhibit hail from the Washington metropolitan area and demonstrate a wide range of styles in various media -- among them is Gancie's mother Ruth, who has two works in leaded stained glass.

Though politics is not a factor into the exhibit, the four American artists who traveled to Moscow for the opening came with a political message of their own. Fresh from the United Nations World Conference on Women held in Beijing last month, Nancy Cusick presented an assemblage of greeting card-sized works as part of a worldwide call for artworks by women called Global Focus: Women in Art and Culture. Directed by Cusick and cosponsored by the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C., its goal was to encourage women to participate in the dialogue of the conference on women in Beijing. The cards treat subjects of particular relevance to women, such as birth, aging, and war and peace.

But if the program was considered by the American participants as a means to forge a cultural link between the two cities through the medium of art by women, the Russian side was less gender specific. "This is just a private exhibit without any global outlook," said Vera Vlasova, one of the directors of the ElitE Gallery and curator of the show, referring to the fact that only two Russian women were included.

Vlasova stressed that the gallery was interested in presenting paintings by important Russian contemporary artists who have had international exposure.

The first room is devoted to Russian artists like Vladimir Opara, whose multi-layered color silk-screen self-portrait, along with Andrei Budayev's photographic collages called "Devushki," provide interesting contrasts to paintings like Dmitry Glugovskiye's grotesque oil on canvas figures "Walk" and "Crocodiles," and Yury Shashkov's boldly impressionistic "Autumn Beach."

The main room in the gallery houses the remaining works of the Russians and all of the works of the Americans. Interesting pieces represented by the Americans include a papier mach? relief "Wall Fragment VIII" by Nancy Sanford -- a modern exploration of an ancient genre -- and Maria Karametou's kitschified mixed media relief, "Full Moon."

"Washington-Moscow 22" runs until Oct. 22 at the ElitE Gallery, Leontievsky Pereulok 21/1. Open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Tel: 929-7056. Nearest metro: Tverskaya.