Wivenhoe Bookshop Magazine & Newsletter | Monday 26 September 2022

Bacon in Moscow

Event Details

Date: 18/03/2022 | Venue: The Nottage Institute
Time: 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Glass of wine or soft drink included

This funny and personal memoir is the account of an audacious quest by the young British curator James Birch to mount the ground-breaking ‘Francis Bacon’ exhibition at the newly furbished Central House of Artists, Moscow in 1988. Join us today for a conversation between author James Birch and Clare Conville, joint director of the book’s publishing company CHEERIO.

Praise for ‘Bacon in Moscow’

‘This really is a peculiarly evocative & authentic title… [Birch’s] anecdotes shine’ – The Observer
‘There’s a mini series itching to get out of this book… It has all the right ingredients’ – The Times
‘A ‘forthright and enjoyably strung-out anecdote about the gallerist’s hidden plight… An enjoyable portrait of two insular, rather dysfunctional societies’ – The Spectator

About ‘Bacon in Moscow’

This funny and personal memoir is the account of an audacious quest by James Birch, the young British curator, to mount the ground-breaking Francis Bacon exhibition at the newly furbished Central House of Artists, Moscow in 1988. Somewhat sidelined by the British establishment, Birch found himself not only the subject of a honey-trap, but also the focus of the KGB and a picaresque and shady cast of officials, attachés and politicians. Birch’s exhibition brought an unseen Western culture to Russia during perestroika, just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, making it part of the sea of change in the events that subsequently unfolded

About James Birch

James Birch has been a promoter of modern art exhibitions both in the UK and overseas for over thirty years. He opened his first gallery, James Birch Art, in 1983, which specialised particularly in showing the work of Surrealists and Young British Artists. His second gallery, Birch & Conran Fine Art, opened in 1987 in London’s Soho, and a decade later he opened the A22 Gallery, in Clerkenwell, London. James has exhibited artists including Grayson Perry, Francis Bacon, Gilbert & George, Genesis P Orridge and Austin Osman Spare and Denis Wirth-Miller in galleries all over the world.

About Clare Conville

Clare Conville worked as a publisher and literary agent before co-founding the literary agency C&W in 2000. She is, in addition, one of the directors and curators of the CURIOUS ARTS FESTIVAL, and the co-author of DANGEROUS WOMEN: A GUIDE TO MODERN LIFE published in 2012. Between them, her authors have won or been shortlisted for nearly every literary prize in the UK, including the Booker Prize.


CHEERIO’s name is a nod to Bacon’s favourite drinking toast. It will commission unexpected and provocative essay collections, books and films from contributors across a broad range of artistic disciplines. Much of its content is inspired by or linked to Francis Bacon’s life and work, although that is not a prerequisite. Its eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction, drama and factual, will appeal to enquiring minds with an artistic bent. CHEERIO was established by leading literary agent Conville and celebrated author and curator Harriet Vyner in partnership with The Estate of Francis Bacon.

Bookings closed