Bacon in Moscow

James Birch


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Profile Books Ltd
3 February 2022
ISBN: 9781788169745
208 pages

From the publisher

‘A rollicking cultural adventure…Fascinating and true. What a liver!’ — Grayson Perry

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.

‘I don’t know much about espionage – but I know what I like, and I love this book. Five gold stars!’ — Harland Miller

‘Funny, exhilarating and heart-breaking all in one go!’ — Polly Stenham