Photographs by Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky ’01 are on display in the Davison Art Center through Dec. 10. During a gallery talk, Rudensky explained how she rented an unsedated boa constrictor to make the photograph Snake Handlers, pictured in the center.
For more than a decade, Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky ’01 has repeatedly returned to Russia and the post-Soviet territories to photograph a lost generation that has come of age during the Vladimir Putin era.
On Sept. 13, Rudensky debuted a collection of these photographs at an exhibit titled “Acts and Illusions” at the Davison Art Center. The exhibition presents 24 photographs together with a video installation, revealing an unsettling view into contemporary life in the New East. Elijah Huge, associate professor of art, associate professor of environmental studies, collaborated with Rudensky on the video installation. Clare Rogan, curator of the Davison Art Center, coordinated the exhibition.
Studio arts major Rudensky was born in Russia and moved to the U.S. when she was 11 and returned as an artist in 2004. She’s also an assistant professor of Russian, East European and Eurasian studies and teaches Photography I and Digital Photography I this fall.
CTNow featured Rudensky’s exhibit in a recent article.
Photos of the “Acts and Illusions” reception and gallery talk are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)
Read more →
© Sasha Rudensky, from Tinsel and Blue
Sasha Rudensky ’01, assistant professor of art, assistant professor of Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies, is a finalist for the New East Photo Prize. Her photos, Tinsel and Blue, explore the relationship between illusion and truth and the young people of the post-Soviet generation. Rudensky shot the photo series between 2009 and 2015 in Russia and Ukraine.
An alumna of Wesleyan, Rudensky graduated with a degree in studio arts. Rudensky, who was born in Russia and moved to the United States when she was 10, feels this competition keeps her in touch with her heritage. “I am happy to be included on a list of Eastern European artists in general because I strongly identify as one,” she said. “A majority of my artistic work has been done on the former Soviet Union and it continues to pull me back to my roots.”
The inaugural New East Photo Prize is sponsored by the Calvert 22 Foundation supported by The Calvert Journal. According to the Calvert 22 Foundation, “the Prize champions contemporary perspectives on the people and countries of the New East (Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia and Central Asia).” The initiative received a total of 1,030 entries form 25 countries.
Rudensky’s photo will be included in an exhibition at Calvert 22 Foundation in London from Nov. 4 to Dec. 18. The winner of the prize, which will be announced on Dec. 1, will have his or her work published as a photo book.
Photography by Sasha Rudensky ’01, assistant professor of art, is featured in an exhibition titled “Tinsel and Blue” from June 8 to July 16 at the Sasha Wolf Gallery, 70 Orchard Street, New York, N.Y.
Rudensky is a Russian-born artist whose work has been exhibited widely including at the Musee de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland; Fries Museum in Leewarden, Netherlands; Macro Testaccio Museum in Rome, Italy; ArtScience Museum in Singapore; and Danziger Projects in New York. In 2010, Rudensky’s work was included in “reGeneration 2: Photographers of Tomorrow Today,” an international survey of emerging photographers. Her work is held in a number of public collections including Musee de l’Elysee, Yale Art Gallery, and Center of Creative Photography in Tuscon, among others.
Rudensky received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2008 and BA from Wesleyan in 2001. She was the recipient of the Ward Cheney Memorial Award from Yale University, Mortimer-Hays Brandeis Traveling Fellowship, Leica/Jim Marshall Award, and Jessup Prize from Wesleyan. In 2013, Rudensky was awarded the Aaron Siskind Individual Fellowship grant. Her work has appeared in New York Times Magazine, Der Spiegel, Cicero Magazine, American Photo, PDN and others. She is currently head of the photography program at Wesleyan.
Sasha Rudensky at “Tinsel and Blue,” June 8. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell)
Ricky Preslar, who has undergone growth-attenuation therapy, in his bedroom. (Photo by Sasha Rudensky/For The New York Times)
Photographs by Sasha Rudensky ’01, assistant professor of art, are featured in the March 22 online edition of The New York Times. The images accompany an article “Should Parents of Children With Severe Disabilities Be Allowed to Stop Their Growth?”
Rudensky’s images are of 9-year-old Ricky Preslar, who who underwent a controversial medical intervention known as growth-attenuation therapy. When children with intellectual and developmental disabilities enter adolescence and adulthood, the simple tasks of caring for them — dressing, toileting, bathing, holding and carrying — can become prohibitively difficult for parents. Arresting a child’s growth could benefit both child and parent. Ricky currently weighs 43 pounds and is 43 inches high.
From the time he was 4 until just shy of his 7th birthday, he received doses of estrogen high enough to stimulate the premature closing of the epiphyseal or “growth” plates, the thin wedges of cartilage found at the end of the long bones in children and adolescents.
Rudensky studied studio art and Russian literature at Wesleyan where she received a BA in 2001. She received her MFA in photography from Yale University in 2008. Her other photographs can be found online at http://www.sasharudensky.com.
The Preslar family at home. (Photo by Sasha Rudensky/For The New York Times).
Early this year, Gary Shteyngart embarked on an experiment for The New York Times: For a week straight, he would “subsist almost entirely on a diet of state-controlled Russian television, piped in from three Apple laptops onto three 55-inch Samsung monitors in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel in Manhattan.”
Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky documented this experiment in a series of photographs that accompany the story. Here is Shteyngart lying in bed, feet encased in hotel slippers, while Russian President Vladamir Putin’s stern face fills three towering television screens. Here Shteyngart is dining on Wagyu beef slices and sipping pinot noir while staring vacantly at the screens. And here, lying in bed gesticulating while a visiting psychiatrist listens to him talk. Russian TV, explains one photo caption, “dulls the senses and raises your ire.”
“Here is the question I’m trying to answer,” Shteyngart explains. “What will happen to me — an Americanized Russian-speaking novelist who emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child — if I let myself float into the television-filtered head space of my former countrymen? Will I learn to love Putin as 85 percent of Russians profess to do? Will I dash to the Russian consulate on East 91st Street and ask for my citizenship back? Will I leave New York behind and move to Crimea, which, as of this year, Putin’s troops have reoccupied, claiming it has belonged to Russia practically since the days of the Old Testament? Or will I simply go insane?”
Assistant Professor of Art Sasha Rudensky recently was a guest on WNPR’s “Faith Middleton Show,” where she discussed the work of the late photographer Diane Arbus. Though Arbus is remembered for choosing “freaks” as her subjects, Rudensky says of that term: ”I certainly don’t think it does justice to the great variety of subjects that she was interested in. I think, more than anything, she was deeply interested in people, and they happen to be very different kinds of people… Undoubtedly, she was more focused on those people that were largely unseen in society. But at the same time, I think she was as interested in people that were very privileged.”
Listen to Rudensky (starting around minute 36) here.