What lessons does the art market hold for the young artist?

“Where any view of Money exists, Art cannot be carried on.”–William Blake

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”–Samuel Johnson

MY ART EDUCATION was bookended by two discussions of art and money. It’s impossible not to retrospectively arrange my schooling like that: two stern reminders of the reality that awaited me upon graduation. The first was an essay, titled prosaically “Art and Money,” the final entry in a collection by Robert Hughes called Nothing If Not Critical (1990), given to me by my father when I started my undergraduate degree. The second was a glitzy Taschen tome entitled Collecting Contemporary (2006), a gift from my boyfriend just after I finished my NFA.

Hughes’ essay, presented originally as a public lecture, is an attempt to make sober sense of the art-speculation boom of the mid-80s. As a historical reference, it is ideal: clear-headed, pragmatic, deliberate. As a bit of financial reportage, however, it appears quaint: a dated document about wealth, desire, prestige and the public appetite for spectacle. He cites a public-expenditure scandal in the 70s: the Australian government’s purchase of a Jackson Pollock for $2 million. Hughes first gave his lecture in 1984, and even then that price seemed reasonable, if not low. Now, of course, it’s the steal of a bygone century. A further, more telling example: Hughes quotes mounting auction prices, warning, “Dealers tell us that the day of the $10 million painting is at hand” By the time the lecture was printed in book form, it was 1990, and Hughes was forced to reckon with the fact that this “absurd” price had been surpassed multiple times over the span of five–years, by living artists to boot.

I wonder if Hughes has taken a look at the results of any recent Christie’s and Sotheby’s contemporary art questions, where those 1990 prices have been further surpassed–now outstripped by emerging and mid-career artists. This is the new trend in art-collecting: young contemporary art. The reasons for it are numerous, ranging from the simple–young collectors have a greater affinity for artists their own age; to the obvious–works by dead artists, to say nothing of long-dead artists, have all been bought up by or donated to large museums; to the more complex–new trends in art-exhibiting (the art-fair phenomenon) enable gallerists to show new work by young artists to a greater number of people, thereby establishing wider, more international markets at a speed that would be unthinkable were they limited to gallery traffic; to the crass–buying a young artist means you can get in cheap on the ground floor, and, if you’re lucky, you can watch your artist’s reputation grow, and then make a tidy sum by selling your purchase at auction two years later for 10 times the original price.

Whatever the reason, the auction house is where fortunes are made, and bigger fortunes are spent; Christie’s First Open Post-War and Contemporary Art and Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sales are big events, on par with Art Basel or Dolphin Gallery. Now, I have never thought that money was a pollutant of art (if anything, I’d like more money so I could devote myself to making more art). Still, perusing the sale prices from these auctions does funny things to one’s perception of the works themselves (and therefore the artists). Sure, Elizabeth Peyton sold for a respectable $384,000, but that looks a little shabby next to Glenn Brown’s $734,000, which in turn seems inadequate when compared with Cecily Brown’s $1.1 million sale. And even that looks paltry alongside the recent sale of a number of works by Jeff Koons for over $20 million each.

In the midst of this trend and its cascades of spent wealth is my post-MFA present: Collecting Contemporary, a strange little tome written by Adam Lindemann and published by Taschen. It is the most perplexing object I have ever come across, and, in its blissful lack of self-awareness, surely the most concise artefact of the art market at the beginning of the 21st century.

I should be more specific: only half of the book is innocently oblivious–the content half; the design and presentation half of the book is steeped in irony. The cover image is a detail of Richard Phillips’ painting $ (2004), in which a topless seductress with jet-black hair and kohl-rimmed eyes gazes at us languidly, a giant image of a dollar bill projected across her chest and face. Atop this, the words COLLECTING CONTEMPORARY are embossed in glistening, variegated tones of ruby red. Hidden within these pages, declares this mammoth knowing wink of a cover, is treasure: a world of high art, high money and high glamour.

The book is laid out in easy-to-digest sections, each one consisting of interviews with various art-world figures, or, in Collecting Contemporary parlance, “art market players”: The Artist, The Art Critic, The Art Dealer, The Art Consultant, The Collector, The Auction House Expert and The Museum Professional. Unsurprisingly, given the book’s subject, the largest sections are reserved for the dealer, the consultant and the collector. “The Artist” is the shortest section of the book, weighing in at a scant two pages, but, despite the fact that not one artist is interviewed, it is ultimately its most truthful section for it declares the essential paradox at the core of this art-and-money issue: artists are simultaneously the most important and the most superfluous element of the art market. Yes, they create the fetish objects that set this gyroscope a-spinning, but that’s where their contribution stops. Just as a cow has nothing to do with selling hamburgers, the artist doesn’t set prices, doesn’t directly determine his or her own popularity and only controls the span and availability of his or her own market by dying. Lindemann puts it plainly and succinctly: “The artist must have faith in order to continue to develop his or her personal vision, but you don’t, and neither does the art market.”

Before reading this book, I had never quite understood why the phrase nouveau riche was such a declasse designation. Collecting Contemporary has edified me, for that is precisely its audience. You can tell by the questions posed to the interviewees and by the advice dispensed that this is an audience that must be taught how to want. They must be told that, if they want to know something about art, they should pick up a book or, even better, an art magazine. This is an audience that cannot grasp on its own that, should they want to become interested in art, they should visit galleries or attend art openings, but who need their vast expenditures justified by quasi-religious verbiage about an artwork’s enduring, intangible glamour. The tenor of the book suggests an audience that has fallen ass-backwards into a giant vat of cash, and can’t spend it fast enough. As a corrective, Lindemann suggests the wonderful world of art-collecting, where, if they’re savvy enough, new collectors can not only revel in the reflected glory of their purchases but also achieve posterity as Taste Makers.

Among its many pleasures, Collecting Contemporary manages to up-end some of the more tacit conventions of the art book. First of all, it repurposes the reproduction. Usually, reproductions are meant as illustrations of the topic at hand. Here, reproductions serve a dual purpose: they are at once an illustration of ownership and an incitement to buy. No individual work is discussed or dissected; these works appear in the book because someone owns them.

Secondly, in its undeclared insistence on the art-market-as-centre-of-the-art-universe, the book introduced to me a new jargon term: the art-market star. This refers to what the rest of us call simply art stars. John Currin, Lisa Yuskavage, Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons (based on the frequency of his reproductions, surely the best-loved figure in the book): they are no longer art stars, they are art-market stars. I find this so crass, and yet so gloriously right, as the coinage speaks to an essential factor in the success of these artists: their headline-making prices at auction. It also speaks to an irreducible fact of their continued notoriety: critical appreciation doesn’t keep their careers afloat, financial speculation does. Sure, mid-career surveys at major museums help, too, but scratch beneath the surface and you will find a trustee or a benefactor or a board member whose investment needs protecting.

Of course, this is reductive cynicism, which is just as dangerous as Lindemann’s gleefully ravenous consumerism. I have to admit, though, that it becomes increasingly hard to hold on to one’s idealism amidst all this talk of primary and secondary markets (in non-art-market-speak, the gallery and the auction house, respectively), investments and returns. Even the cast of Collecting Contemporary has difficulty regulating their own schizophrenia; every time they get too excited by their mercantile chatter, the mantra must quickly be repeated: art is holy, unquantifiably significant. The only people for whom this is not the case are the Museum Professionals, largely because they curate rather than collect art. And so they breathe a bit of fresh air into the proceedings in their obliviousness to market intrigue, and their unique and seemingly genuine belief in an innate (non-financial) value of art.

Perhaps the moral of this book, and, in fact, the moral of the art market in general, is to be found in the two pages devoted to The Artist. q-he market’s lack of “faith” in the artist’s “personal vision” applies equally in reverse: the artist and, in turn, the larger public do not need to have faith in the market. Its spectacles of untrammelled spending may inspire fun gossip, but these are essentially private purchases, private shopping sprees, and are the reflection not of an artist’s importance or cultural value, but of the collector’s need to own. And if there’s one thing that posterity teaches, it’s that markets swell and burst, but artists, who pace Lindemann, need only have faith in themselves, and go about their business regardless.

Patterns why

In today’s art practices, the dysfunctional can be rebellious, which can be positive, but only when it is embedded in the user’s competence–meaning that the viewer must have the ability to correctly decipher dysfunctionality, to decipher its purposefulness. In the first show at Spesshardt & Klein, Matthew Burbidge and Jaro Straub, who work individually and together, explore the limits and utility of functionality in a practical and also conceptual manner.

Most of the works in this exhibition use the strategy of appropriating found objects and altering them in some way. Objects are cut, inverted or replicated; others are broken, or are about to break, and so no longer operate in their original capacities. Yet they are not abandoned as non-functional objects; instead, each one contributes to the ever changing dynamic of the exhibition as a whole. This is especially prevalent in Plaza (Burbidge/Straub, 2007), a fountain made with a mosaic of mortar, broken glass and metal, which is slowly decaying. As both artists were inspired by completely different existing fountains, the work is a result of their separate visions: diverse histories tirelessly negate and propagate each other. It is an installation born out of dialogue, experimentation and lack of expertise, without a prescribed end. After all, the work will not be finished until, propelled by entropy and frailty, the fountain itself breaks down. When a motorized object finally fails, it is thought to have reached a threshold, a kind of mechanical death. However, this moment is not its last moment. As the video Doublebroken (Straub, 2007) shows, an inoperative fountain in Berlin needs only to be rained on in order to be reactivated, in order to function again, in a completely different manner.

A key element in this exhibition is the dull humming and muttering produced by failing motors, leaking water, and friction from materials rubbing together. The sounds add a tonal hue, a soundtrack to the exhibition. They feel almost subterranean, surfacing from some deep organic caverns. As the viewer threads through the gallery, each sound can be carved away from the rest, and can be measured and experienced completely on its own terms. But even though one can easily identify such singularities in this exhibition, they can disintegrate just as easily, divide up into multiplicities, creating further layers and associations. Take Bildflache 2 (Burbidge, 2007), for example. Here, a solitary white window frame hanging by its hinges is fastened perpendicular to the gallery wall. Within the frame there is nothing except for various thin, painted wood beams. They look like cracks in a window, like incarnate forms delineating the non-existent broken glass. The piece itself acts like a cleaver and cracks the space of the wall in two, as each side of the work is lit separately, casting two distinct shadows on the wall. This spectral duality floats in the background, fading into the wall like a hushed dialogue that trails behind the object. It is an imprint of the artists themselves, always lurking behind the stage, in the shadows, subsisting in plurality.

The exhibition allows one to drift through this subtle background of contingency, through its historical traces and vague outlines. Yet there is an unmistakable theatricality to each piece, a performative aspect that locks the viewer in the present moment. Heraclitus with Broken Foot (Burbidge/Straub, 2007) is a sculpture composed of found objects and materials. Its base, a wooden tripod, supports a small object which appears to be a fragment of a piece of furniture; this object, almost impaled, sits at roughly the height of the human torso. Underneath it are scattered pieces of red Plexiglas. In the front of the sculpture stands a small lamp, emanating a weak light that passes through the lens of a slowly rotating magnifying glass, illuminating the Plexiglas. The combination of elements creates an intense atmosphere, as if the found object is like a heretic about to be engulfed in the plastic fire. Dispersed through the lens, the light dims and gleams; with protracted flickers, it oscillates on the surface of the Plexiglas. This has the effect of appearing to slow down the drama that the work evokes before the viewer’s eyes. All the while, the piece functions at a minimal pace, its components like cogs in a machine that is about to fail. This creates a tension that stretches over time: it is present in the work’s separate parts, and even lingers in its raw materials. The wood, the glass, the light are inherently linked to the idea of fire; they summon this idea, but it is not actualized. With Heraclitus with Broken Foot, the artists create a situation that hovers in between the object and its realization; it exists only as potency and potential. The idea of creating an artwork that conceptually “hangs over the edge” is exactly the strength of the work, for it operates in a gap–a gap between its current state and its imagined realization. You may call this distance dysfunctional, but really it is an area rich with possibilities, encompassing the simple binary of function/dysfunction, to open it up beyond dialectics.

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The politics of cool

ASTRIA SUPARAK is a young curator originally from Los Angeles, who started curating during her undergrad years at The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, when she was in her late teens. She was a contemporary of Miranda July’s, and collaborated with July on the Joanie 4 Jackie film and video chain-letter project. In April, 2006, she was hired as director of The Warehouse, a gallery affiliated with Syracuse University under the auspices of something called the Coalition of Museums and Art Centers. In September of this year, she was unjustly fired from her position there. It’s a long, rather baroque story, and if you are curious you can find more information at Syracuse Loses Again.

This firing has been much on my mind while I try to write about this astonishingly bold, smart curator. Suddenly, the stakes are different and I’ve had to make some decisions about how I can best use this platform to both support and critically discuss Suparak’s practice. But again and again I return to the central question I’ve always had about her sensibility, and that has to do with the way she deploys the aesthetics of cool. In my mind, this has worked both to reinforce and to undermine her work.

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Suparak’s curatorial ideology (and I use that word without negative connotation–without guiding ideologies we are vague and dull) is built around a politics of inclusion and empowerment. Miranda July put it this way when writing about Suparak’s early work: “At age 24 Astria has curated all over the US and Europe, testing out new programs at NY’s best venues and then touring with them like a kid with a band. She comes to you: museums and galleries, universities, independent/underground film festivals and micro-cinemas, as well as public places like bars, community centres, and living rooms. Just imagine what the young girls who watch her shows think–hunger, desire and the power to choose are suddenly instruments like guitars and video cameras.”

Suparak comes from the DIY culture of Riot Grrrls and zines, and she carried this through to her work at The Warehouse, both conceptually and aesthetically. Her use of cool aesthetics is perhaps the most consistent thing about her practice, rivalled only by an unrelenting (and, for me, very satisfying) focus on ethics. These are her lodestars: moral utility and coolness.

Some examples: in her time at The Warehouse Gallery, she curated a total of five exhibitions. For my purposes here, I will discuss only the last three.

In February, 2007, Suparak mounted an exhibition called Embracing Winter, which addressed environmental degradation. She doesn’t describe the way the show deploys the aesthetics of cool. I think it’s a forest-for-the-trees situation: she is so immersed in a particular species of cool that she isn’t aware of the stamp it impresses on the stuff she makes. On the other hand, she is keenly aware of her responsibility to curate shows that are “about” morality and how to apply it. She writes: “As technology advances, our concept of physical comfort becomes increasingly narrow and artificially mediated. We can program thermostats to the degree, swim in heated pools in the winter, and ice skate in tropical regions. We prefer to encounter the seasons as an aesthetic experience, when convenient, within the self-created myth of a weatherless society … Embracing Winter is the third exhibition in a series at The Warehouse Gallery referencing the natural world and encouraging environmental consciousness.”

Cool aesthetics emerged in this show in two ways. First, Suparak selected works by two artists whose work circulates through the coolest of all cool art scenes. Rudy Shepherd is an artist whose work shows at galleries like P.S.I, Mixed Greens and The Studio Museum in Harlem, and is written about in publications like Artforum and The Village Voice. Takeshi Murata is a digital artist with a similar profile, working with Eyebeam, featured in Artforum and hanging out with Paper Rad, who for me epitomize the irony-laced hipsterism of the contemporary art world.

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Despite the fact that I’m merely listing the impressive accomplishments of these artists, somehow, it sounds like I am trivializing their work. I want to make it clear that that is not my goal: these artists are serious and skilled; they just happen to have also been marked as cool.

Second, Suparak intervened in the show in a way that flies in the face of conventional curatorial practice. Referencing Duchamp, she mounted several snow shovels, which could be borrowed, on the wall of the gallery, and she made two large piles of non-toxic de-icer (a salt alternative) reminiscent of Gonzales-Torrez’s candy spills. Visitors were invited to take small bags home with them. This speaks in the vernacular of cool, in that it flouts convention of the artist/curatorial divide with elan.

The next show Suparak mounted was Networked Nature, curated by the famously cool new-media outfit Rhizome, and first shown at the equally famous and cool Foxy Production in New York. This show deals again with ideas of nature and technology. One of the artists from the Networked Nature show was chosen to represent Taiwan at this summer’s Venice Biennale.

Suparak final exhibition at The Warehouse Gallery was titled Come On: Desire Under the Female Gaze. Interestingly, this show took cool as part of its core. It evolved in part out of discussions Suparak had with her assistant director, Frank Olive, about the ways they had negotiated sexual-identity construction as adolescents. For both of them, this had to do with ideas of cool and glamour–specifically those around glam-rock, punk and heavy-metal music.

The show includes a video by Rachel Rampleman called Poison: My Sister Fucked Bret (2006), which I loved. In the piece, Rampleman’s sister, Sarah, tells the story of her obsession with Poison frontman Bret Michaels and the circumstances that took her to his house to have passionless, limp-dicked intercourse. Also notable are a series of exquisite, large-scale graphite drawings by Juliet Jacobson depicting nude men with erections, and two works by Montreal artist Jo-Anne Balcaen. In the first, entitled Blow (2001), Balcaen affixed about 20 long, penisy-looking balloons to the wall in the shape of a heart. Over the course of the exhibition, the balloons gradually deflated, coming to resemble more and more closely Bret Michaels’ penis in his encounter with Sarah Rampleman. The second piece is the words, Aw, C’mon (2005), cut from mirrored plexiglass, presented in the familiar typeface and curved form of the Metallica logo. This was for me the most poignant work in a show about feminist responses to phallocentric heteronormativity. In the context of the exhibition, I saw it as both a girl’s plea for relief from said conditions and, painfully, a boy’s whining bid for sex.

I’d better do a bit of unpacking. Both the concept of moral utility and the concept of cool (Suparak’s aforementioned lodestars) tend to be contested and overdetermined, so I’ll try to explain how I’m using them here. Art that is morally useful, as I’ve discussed elsewhere, is art that reduces suffering. In the case of Suparak’s practice, the kind of suffering that’s reduced is generally identity-related: the pain of feeling outside and alone.

There’s been some interesting scholarship on the subject of cool in the past 20-odd years. Dick Hebdige’s book Subculture: The Meanings of Style (1979) is an excellent example. More recently, Dick Pountain and David Robins’ Cool Rules: Anatomy of a Style (2000), while problematic in terms of its discussion of cool and gender relations, has some useful insights; more satisfying is Susan Fraiman’s collection of essays Cool Men and t-he Second Sex (2003). But the place I found the most lucid discussion of cool was, perhaps not surprisingly, Wikipedia. The online encyclopedia represented cool as a clear and fascinating plumb line running through historical eras and geographical locations with the democratic elegance that makes it so awesome. It’s worth a Google.

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But what stood out for me–both from the research I did and from my personal history of trying to understand how to be cool–is the incredibly flexible nature of the relationship between cool and politics or ethics. True, cool has always been countercultural and disruptive to the status quo, but its edges have stretched to include socio-political groups as diverse as Valerie Solanas’ Society for Cutting Up Men and the child soldiers of Western Africa (if you’re skeptical about the latter, take a look at some images of these boys, posing with their Kalashnikovs and marijuana cigarettes, their names borrowed from the idiom of American hip-hop and their classically cool contrapposto stance).

So, yes, I am suspicious when cool is used to stand for political radicalism or moral utility. But what Suparak has done for me is to restore my sense that cool can work as a powerful rhetorical device. Because, as Miranda July pointed out almost 10 years ago, Suparak curates to empower those who feel less than powerful. Her practice is remarkable partly because, although she speaks in the vernacular of the my culture on which she cut her teeth, the exhibitions and programs she puts together speak about a range of issues, and her sense of social justice is comprehensive and critical. She uses her personal voice and her institutional power to give permission to speak to those who might not have believed they had it.

Art relating to Augustan femininity

Art relating to Augustan femininity was displayed elsewhere in the portico. Specifically, Pliny the Elder (Historia Naturalis, 36.28) describes the famous Aphrodite by Phidias, which formed one of the jewels of the collection. Its erection here would have evoked for the viewer the proclaimed divine ancestor of the gens lulia, Venus Genetrix. As mother of Aeneas, who founded the Alban settlement that later would become Rome, Venus legitimized Augustus’ dynastic and hegemonic claims. In art and literature, her nurturing aspect was emphasized above her erotic character, as is suggested by the so-called VenusfTellus/Italia relief on the Ara Pacis Augustae As noted, the Phidian statue may have been paired with the Cornelia figure, and, if true, the two surely would have created a striking visual and conceptual parallel between Rome’s ideal matron and the Julian family’s progenitor.

Other images in the portico provided exempla of a different nature. Festus wrote that a statue of the legendary Tarpeia stood in the Temple of Jupiter Stator. A seminal figure in Rome’s early history, Tarpeia betrayed the Roman people to their Sabine enemies for promises of gold. When the Sabine warriors attacked the Roman citadel, they killed Tarpeia for her treachery (Festus, 496L; Livy, 1.11.6-9). To later Romans, Tarpeia’s story was a cautionary tale, extolling women to eschew the pleasures of luxuria gained by betrayal in favor of patriotic devotion. In the context of the Augustan portico, Tarpeia’s image played off of Cornelia’s; she was an example of inappropriate feminine behavior and a constant reminder of the consequences of immoral acts.

Tarpeia’s actions resonated in other ways for Romans. Kampen argued convincingly that the story of Tarpeia’s treachery and the related rape of the Sabine women linked early Rome to the later Augustan city through the social policies the tale promoted. In the story, Roman men, lacking women to bear their children, kidnapped the Sabine womenfolk, an act that precipitated the later attack in which Tarpeia’s treachery cost her her life. Tarpeia’s interference signaled an attempt to foil Rome’s growth and ultimately its expansion. Though the historical accuracy of the story may be uncertain, it was a popular narrative in imperial Rome, appearing not only in the Porticus Octaviae, but in the extensive relief that decorated the Augustan renovations of the republican Basilica Aemilia in the Roman Forum, that most political of civic spaces. The story’s popularity suggests a general anxiety about a shrinking citizenry, and its appearance as a theme in the portico should be considered not only as a didactic tale of immorality, but as a call to women to place the interests of the state–the reproduction of citizens–first.

In combination, images of Cornelia, Venus, Tarpeia, and, in all likelihood, Octavia created a web of historically significant women related to each other through their stories, virtue, or disloyalty. Together these came to provide moral guidelines for the women of a new Rome with Octavia presented as a kind of generic proper matron, a living embodiment of and a reinforcement to a traditional notion of femininity.

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Reintegrating Euphrosenia into History

Reintegrating Euphrosenia into History. Information on the activities and character of Pradslava/Euphrosenia rests to a great extent on the Chronicle Life of the Blessed Euphrosyne, Abbess of the Convent of the Almighty Holy Savior in the City of Polacak. This is the earliest surviving document concerning Euphrosenia, and is usually dated to the fourteenth century. Scholars believe that it was written by a contemporary of Euphrosenia, who survived her. There are many facts to substantiate this claim: the language includes expressions dating back to the twelfth century, the use of geographic names also suggests this period, while familiarity with historic events sounds immediate. Two suggested authors are Euphrosenia’s companions to the Holy Land: her cousin Zvenislava/Eupraksia and Monk Michail. Both knew first hand the sequence of events in Jerusalem, including the details of Euphrosenia’s death and burial at the St. Theodosian monastery near Jerusalem. Zvenislava/Eupraksia seems to be a more logical choice, because some of the details of Euphrosenia’s life would be more likely known to a female companion rather than a male. Some of the quotations given by the hagiographer are Euphrosenia’s words. These would be known best to a nun in her convent. A woman would attend to Euphrosenia’s needs at her deathbed, and the observation of Euphrosenia receiving water from the river Jordan: “She got up with joy, drank the water, poured it all over her body, than lay down again in her bed …” seems to be of an intimate female companion. Finally, reference to Euphrosenia’s parents in the concluding statement sounds like the choice words of a relative.

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Euphrosenia was anonymous in the West, except for very brief entries in such standard references as Lexicon der Christlichen Ikonographie, Butler’s Lives of Saints, Dictionnaire Historique des Saints by Louis Reau and Relique de la vraie croix by A. Frolov. Until recently, she was quite anonymous in the East as well. This is because during the years of Soviet control, Russian scholars concentrated on Russian subjects. In 1901, the Russian theologian and historian E. Golubinskij explained clearly that Euphrosenia “… was foreign to Moscovite culture.” This, in fact, applied to all research on Belarusan culture until the disintegration of the Soviet Union. As Soviet writer L. Abecedarski explained, the name ‘Euphrosenia’ spurred reactionary interests and Communism was threatened by her twelfth-century philosophy of love, compassion, and tolerance.

New scrutiny of archaeological and archival material have resulted in scholarly publications, prose, and poetry on Euphrosenia. Over the past decades a number of churches have been dedicated in her honor. For the 800th Anniversary of her death in 1973, the Belarusan Diaspora in the United States commissioned a medallist in Great Britain, Paul Vinci, to design an icon in the saint’s honor (Fig. 4). The artist represented Euphrosenia as a youthful, energetic individual, her pose indicating action. A crown over her head establishes her royal status. She holds the cross she commissioned from Bohsa in her right hand, and in her left are lilies, symbolic of virginity. In the background, on either side, are depicted the cathedrals she built. She is framed by an arc of columns representative of the apse of St. Saviour Church. On the spandrels, the recto and verso of St. Euphrosenia’s official seal are included. At the bottom, her name is written in both English and Belarusan, as well as the year of her death on the left, and the year of Vinci’s completion of the work on the right.