Igor Savitsky single-handedly created the State Art Museum of the Republic of Karakalpakstan in Nukus, Uzbekistan. He began his collection with traditional clothing and textiles created by the Uzbek people in the region, and moved on to collect the works of indigenous artists as well as the underground art of the Uzbekistan school, which melded Asian influences with European expressionism. Ultimately he would make six 1,700-mile trips (each way) to and from Moscow to rescue the avant-garde work of Russian painters whose art was considered degenerate by the Soviet regime. The state preferred “Soviet realism” for propaganda.

In what is now known as the Karakalpak Museum of the Arts, the Savitsky Collection faces a race against time and the elements to survive.