April 18, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Scott Niichel ’06 will present a gallery talk on Natalia Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 5, at the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College. Admission to the talk and all related events is free and open to the public.

Niichel, a double major in fine arts and Russian, will discuss Goncharova’s artistic career as a central and radical figure of the Russian avant-garde. While drawing upon themes from his senior thesis, he will describe the artist’s struggle to create a truly Russian style in response to Western-influenced modernity, and ultimately expose Goncharova’s Mystical Images of War as a complex and apocalyptic figuration of Russian attitudes toward World War I at its inception in 1914. Niichel was a recipient of the 2005 Mead/Fine Arts summer fellowship, which supported his internship at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where he worked on the exhibition Russia!

The gallery talk is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Natalia Goncharova: Mystical Images of War, organized by the Mead Art Museum, on view from Feb. 10 to June 4. The exhibit features an important album of lithographs produced in 1914, as well as a related crayon drawing and rare self-portrait. One of the so-called “Amazons of the avant-garde” in early 20th-century Russia, Natalia Goncharova combined folk traditions, traditional religious imagery and modernist abstraction in her early easel paintings and theatrical designs for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes. Her concern for traditional Russian culture inspired the Neo-Primitivist movement. The exhibition is selected from a major collection of more than 400 works of Russian art donated in 2001 by Thomas P. Whitney ’37. Support for the exhibition was provided in part by the Julia A. Whitney Fund.

The Mead Art Museum is currently open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9 p.m. From June 6 to Sept. 3, the Mead is open from noon to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays, and on Thursdays until 8 p.m. Additional information can be found on the museum’s Website at www.amherst.edu/mead or by calling the museum at 413/542-2335.