Columbus collector's world-renowned assemblage of Russian 20th-century art displayed at Columbus Museum of Art

In the 1980s, many art collectors and political activists purchased art by Russian artists in support of creative dissidence. Once the Soviet Union dissolved, interest in that art waned, affecting the market for the work. Columbus collector Neil Rector recognized this, and, in the past 25 years, has amassed a significant collection of both “unofficial” Soviet and Russian art and photography.

The Columbus Museum of Art will exhibit work from these two collections together in “Red Horizon: Contemporary Art and Photography in the USSR and Russia, 1960-2010,” opening Friday, June 16.

“I wasn't interested necessarily in the political dissident aspect,” Rector said. “I do try to identify artistic movements that deserve to be protected and shown for future generations. And interesting art is made at times of great political change. These are historically important pieces.”

Co-curator Tyler Cann, curator of contemporary art at the CMA, said the exhibition offers an interesting look at how artists and photographers lived in and outside the Soviet government's strict rules on art-making, and how sometimes they walked a fine line between the two.

This exhibition marks the first time so much of this world-renowned collection will be displayed at once.