Bacon in Moscow

James Birch


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Profile Books Ltd
1 June 2023
ISBN: 9781788169769
240 pages

From the publisher

This funny and personal memoir is the account of an audacious quest by James Birch, the young British curator, to mount the ground-breaking Francis Bacon exhibition at the newly furbished Central House of Artists, Moscow in 1988.

Somewhat sidelined by the British establishment, Birch found himself not only the subject of a honey-trap, but also the focus of the KGB and a picaresque and shady cast of officials, attachés and politicians. Birch’s exhibition brought an unseen Western culture to Russia during perestroika, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, making it part of the sea of change in the events that subsequently unfolded.

‘This really is a peculiarly evocative & authentic title… [Birch’s] anecdotes shine’ - The Observer

‘There’s a mini series itching to get out of this book… It has all the right ingredients’ - The Times

‘A 'forthright and enjoyably strung-out anecdote about the gallerist’s hidden plight… An enjoyable portrait of two insular, rather dysfunctional societies' – The Spectator

‘This is a curator's memoir more thrilling than most’ – Apollo Magazine