Virtual Conference: Center for Icon Studies

Center for Icon Studies’ Third International Conference:
The Visual Culture of Iconoclasm and Atheism

Friday, June 10 and Saturday June 11, 2022

Organized and sponsored by the Museum of Russian Icons, in Clinton, MA (USA), this virtual conference is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Images of Atheism: The Soviet Assault on Religion curated by conference chair, Dr. Wendy Salmond. Please join us on Friday, June 10, from 1 to 5 pm, and Saturday, June 11, from 9 am to 5 pm, to explore topics such as ‘godless corners,’ rituals in the Soviet Union, state-sponsored propaganda, and sacred images in hiding.

  • Members: $55
  • Non-Members: $75
  • Students: $30*

*For discounted student registrations please contact Lise Graham email: lgraham(at) or call 978.598.5000 ext. 110


Conference Schedule: (Session times will be added soon.)

FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2022 (1:00 PM-5:00 PM EST)

WELCOME: Amy Consalvi, Museum of Russian Icons

INTRODUCTION: Conference Chair Wendy Salmond, Chapman University


  • Images of Atheism: The Soviet Assault on Religion, Kevin Kain, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Nancy Norwood, University of Rochester & Wendy Salmond

Session II GODLESS AT THE WORKBENCH (moderated by Wendy Salmond)

  • The Art of Anti-Spiritual Warfare, Vera Shevzov, Smith College
  • Atheists at the Easel: Deineka, Moor, and Kogout in Bezbozhnik u stanka, David Borgmeyer, Saint Louis University
  • Early Soviet ‘Godless Corners’: Documentation and Virtual (Digital) Reconstruction, Kevin Kain & Luke Konkol, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

SATURDAY, JUNE 11, 2022 (9:00 AM-5:00 PM EST)

SESSION I ICON TO ICONOCLASM (moderated by Catherine Mannick)

  • Bolshevik and Jacobin Revolutions: From Religious Iconoclasm to Political Idolatry, Matthew Fraser, American University of Paris
  • Communist Saints and Martyrs: Iconography, Memory, and Ritual in the Soviet Union, Christopher J. Helali, Dartmouth College
  • The Prison House of Paradise: The Meaning of Iconographical Imagery in Two Soviet Era Political Posters from the Museum of Russian Icons Collection, Amy Singleton Adams, College of the Holy Cross


SESSION II SUBVERSIVE ICONS (moderated by Svetlana Nikitina)

  • The Paradoxical Iconography of Russian Iconoclasts: Sacred Images in Spiritual Christian Thought and Practice, J. Eugene Clay, Arizona State University
  • Soviet Spiritual Elders and Their “Iconic” Photographs, John P. Burgess, Saint Louis University
  • Sacred Symbols in Hiding: Felix Lembersky’s Paintings, Yelena Lembersky, Author


  • Iconoclasm at the Museum: Atheist Propaganda and the Question of Exhibiting Religious Art in Early Bolshevik Russia, Clemena Antonova, Eurasia in Global Dialogue Programme at the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna, Austria
  • Staging Iconoclasm: Soviet Anti-Religious Museum Displays in the 1920s and 30s, Maria Silina, Université du Québec à Montréal

CLOSING REMARKS: Conference Chair Wendy Salmond

download a pdf of the schedule