Boris Mikhailov, photographer

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Date: 1960s

Region: Russia and Central Asia

Subject: Nudity

Medium: Photography


Mikhailov.jpg

Artist: Boris Mikhailov (b. 1938)

Confronting Bodies: KGB; Soviet government

Dates of Action: 1960s

Location: Ukraine

Description of Artwork: nude photographs of Mikhailov's wife

The Incident: Mikhailov was fired from his engineering job when the KGB found a nude photograph he had taken of his wife. Nudity in photography was forbidden by the Soviet government. It was deemed antithetical to the goals of Soviet Realist art - to champion the honorable proletariat. The nude was only allowed in museums in Old Master paintings.

Results of Incident: Mikhailov went on photographing nudes as an act of defiance and a celebratory representation of freedom and self-expression. In 1997 he moved to Berlin.

Source: Boston ICA exhibition brochure, 2004