'You may be premier and chairman, but not here in front of my works' the artist told Khrushchev. 'Here I am premier, and we shall discuss as equals.' Khrushchev, who had been disgusted by the work of the avant-garde artists that had been included in the exhibition, ended the exchange: 'You’re an interesting man – I enjoy people like you – but inside you there are an angel and a devil. If the devil wins, we’ll crush you. If the angel wins, we’ll do all we can to help you.'
Neizvestny’s style is well described: 'a blend of socialist realism and expressionism with nods to Jacques Lipchitz and Henry Moore, walked a fine line between orthodoxy and heresy.' The present bust sculpture is an unusually figurative and direct piece.
Neizvestny emigrated from the Soviet Union in 1976 and, after a brief period in Zurich, settled in New York. He had a studio in SoHo and a home on Shelter Island, where he created a sculpture park.
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