Today Me, Tomorrow You, 2019

books, cardboard slipcases, 12 x 10 x 11.5 in

When my family immigrated to the US as Jewish refugees, my mother brought along her collection of art books. Among them were fifteen volumes from a series Russian Master Painters of Late XIX Century. I grew up with these books. I would flip through their pages whenever I got bored. My memory is etched with images of epic stormy seas by Aivazovsky, bear cubs playing in a forest by Shishkin, and mythical creatures from Russian folktales by Vasnetsov. These are the artists my mother saw and admired in Hermitage Museum during her college years in St. Petersburg and later in Tretyakov Gallery when she got her first job outside of Moscow. It took her years to collect these volumes, each costing 15 rubles, nearly half of her monthly salary. She simply could not bare to leave them behind.