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Preston McLane
Director, Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts

“‘Let’s Mechanize the Donbass’: Images of Industry from a Contested Heartland”

Southern Ukraine is both riven with strife and ribboned with rivers, arable land, and some of the richest coal and metal ore deposits on earth. Through an exploration of art and images from before the Russian Revolution through to the present day, this talk will illustrate how central the Donets Basin (Donbass) has been to shaping national identities, industrial aesthetics, and futurist visions of a landscape that is both inalterably mechanized and eternally pastoral. Conquering and controlling this storied territory—home of the Don Cossacks, the Crimean Khanate, the Red Army’s stand against Nazi Germany, and endless successions of robber barons—becomes the story of how the pursuit, capture, and defense of natural resources forged Soviet and post-Soviet visual culture more broadly.

Friday, February 21, 12:15 pm
38 West 86th Street, Seminar Room

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Preston McLane is the Director of the Florida State University Museum of Fine Arts (MoFA). Prior to coming to Florida State, he lived in Moscow, Russia, where he received his MA from Lomonosov Moscow State University with a thesis on the emergence of synthetic realism in early Soviet easel painting. In addition to his academic pursuits, he has worked for more than a decade as an attorney, both in private practice and in government, focusing on environmental law and regulatory issues. Dr. McLane previously served as a curatorial fellow at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Appleton Museum of Art, and the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. His research interests include artistic adaptations of the picaresque literary genre; fictitiousness in early modern and contemporary art; nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian and Soviet art; and the application of property theory to cultural resources and heritage sites.