The documentary explores the conceptual trend in nonconformist art of 1960-1980s in the USSR. The film also touches upon the issue of the history of one of the largest collections of art-works of the Soviet period – a collection of American Professor Norton Dodge that numbers today more than 20 thousand pieces. Many of artworks appearing in the film are now the well-known classics of the art of the twentieth century.
In addition to stories about their own works participants of the documentary tell about the relationship between the artist and power, politics, emigration and pragmatic psychology seized the contemporary art world. Among the recognized masters, who took part in the filming, there are such artists as Vitaly Komar, Oleg Vasiliev, Vagrich Bakhchanyan, Alexander Kosolapov, Leonid Sokov Victor Skersis and others. Unique video chronicle of the 1980-s used in the film allow us to see and hear again Dmitry Alexandrovich Prigov, Ilya Kabakov, a performance by "The Collective Action" group in the fields near Moscow... American and Russian art historians the Gerald Janecek, Jane Sharp, Mary Nicholas, Andrey Erofeev, Alla Rosenfeld also participate in film. The stories of artists and critics are illustrated with works from the collection of Norton Dodge.
Many of the Russian artists from whom Dr. Dodge was buying art works were unknown outside a small circle of connoisseurs. Their paintings were considered provocative by the regime, not because they were particularly experimental, but because they depicted Soviet streets and interiors as they really were: more dilapidated than glorious. Some of those artists now live in the US and Europe. Formerly banned from showing their work, denied materials and workspace by the state, they now struggle with Western economic realities and a mercurial art market. The film alternately contrasts the most successful of them, who are well established in Western art society, with those who are still trying to make a breakthrough.
This irony is not lost on a generation of artists who braved harassment and even risked their freedom by working outside official Soviet doctrine. Thus the film shows many art works and includes many comments from artists on this theme.