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Newsletter No. 10 Ц September 2007

Olesya Turkina, Contemporary Art in Russia

Prices for contemporary Russian art are going up at lightning speed. The Russian art market is topping all sales records at the world's most famous auction houses, whose Russian branches are now mushrooming in Moscow. (After Sotheby's opened its branch in May, Christie's announced it was going to open a Russian office, too.) These new developments have illuminated the territory of contemporary Russian art like a flash. The euphoria caused by the rapid dynamics of the growing art market has overshadowed the problems associated with two processes simultaneously unfolding in Russia: governmental institutionalization of contemporary Russian art and its valorization by the market. Such problems include the neocolonial policy toward native culture that was particularly evident during the last Moscow biennale (see, the insufficiency (or rather, given the country's immense size, the absence) of contemporary art education, and the extremely poor infrastructure for fostering young artists. The partial shift in demand from late 19th-century Russian and Russian avant-garde art to contemporary artists, whose works are currently being sold by the pound to mostly Russian art collectors, should be explained by the growth of the national economy as well as by the desire of new collectors to find a new form of self-identification. The new collectors don't restrict their interest to pure collecting and are keen to open private museums (Igor Markin's Art4.Ru is the most well-known: and contemporary art foundations (mainly in Moscow; the most well-known of these is the Ekaterina Foundation: However, these collectors tend to buy artworks that are already part of the contemporary art canon. They also prefer to buy the works of artists who were internationally famous long before the current price boom. While this does minimize investment risks, it makes it futile to expect that Russia will experience the breakthrough that has happened in other countries.

Jo Vickery, Head of the Russian Department at Sotheby's (, kindly agreed to answer our questions.

Newsletter: Sotheby's held its landmark sale in Moscow in 1988, when not only well-known Russian avant-garde art but Soviet contemporary art as well had been internationally recognized. What do you think about the dynamic of the last twenty years? Why was the interest in contemporary Russian art postponed, only to develop at breakneck speed during the last few years?

Jo Vickery: Throughout the eighties and nineties the Russian Auctions in the west were focused on pre-revolutionary Russian art. There was a brief period of activity in the late eighties in the US and France following Sotheby's Moscow auction, but this was short lived, possibly because the art market in general experienced a dip at this time and other smaller markets followed suit. In more recent times it was the traditional art of the 19th century and modernist periods which first became attractive to new Russian collectors; over the past five years we have seen many different sectors within the Russian art market start to grow; the contemporary sector has been the most recent such phenomenon. Russia's top contemporary artists were until recently much less appreciated than those from earlier periods, and this applied not only to nonconformist painters, but also to official Soviet artists. Emerging Russian artists still command fairly conservative prices on the market today, though as the market develops these artists' works may also begin to command higher prices in the future.

Newsletter: Sotheby's has just opened a new Moscow office. What role does contemporary art play in Sotheby's Russian department?

JV: Sotheby's plays a keen and active role in the development of new, emerging markets, and the contemporary Russian market is one of these. We will be holding our next contemporary Russian sale in February 2008 and are currently accepting consignments for this sale.

Newsletter: At the recent sales of Russian art, most of the sellers are from Europe and the States, but most of the buyers are Russians. To what extent is the international interest in Russian art connected to the growing Russian economy?

JV: The market in contemporary Russian art is a fledgling one: at the moment it is mainly driven by collectors in Moscow who have a keen appreciation for what they are buying, as well as an eye on investment potential. I think it is driven by Russians rather than international buyers, but as there have recently been some extremely high prices paid for works by Kabakov and Bulatov on the market in the west, and the global contemporary art market is performing so well, we hope to see further interest from international collectors of contemporary art.


John Varoli, who reports on the Russian art market for The Art Newspaper, Arts & Auction, and Bloomberg News, kindly agreed to share his opinions on the Russian art market with the readers of Newsletter. He commented on the sale of contemporary art organized this past June by Phillips de Pury & Company in London. Russia rarely ever walks. It usually prefers to run. That has certainly been true with the Russian art market over the past seven years, as values for 19th- and early 20th-century art have grown as much as twentyfold.

The Russian contemporary art market, however, has been a totally different story, showing little growth over the past fifteen years, and looking pitiful compared to the stellar performances of other contemporary art markets. The situation is changing rapidly, however, and the Russian contemporary art market looks ready to burst off on a sprint.

At the end of June in London, Phillips de Pury & Company, the small upstart auction house that appeared in 2004 out of the ashes following the collapse of the 200-year-old Phillips auction house in 2000, held a sale of international contemporary art. Among the works on sale were Russian contemporary art pieces that sent the market to new highs and gave a clear picture of how rapidly this market is developing.

The second most expensive lot at the sale was Ilya Kabakov's La Chambre de Luxe (1981), which sold for £2,036,000 ($4.1 million) on a top estimate of £600,000. This is now the highest price ever paid for a Russian work of contemporary art. The previous Kabakov record, set at Sotheby's Russian sale in London in May 2006, was £254,400 for Where Are They?

Phillips also sold Eric Bulatov's Ne Prislonyatsa (Do Not Lean, 1987) for £916,000 ($1.83 million) on a top estimate of £150,000; while Evgeny Chubarov's Untitled sold for £692,000 ($1.39 million). Bulatov's previous record was £198,000, set at Sotheby's February sale of Russian contemporary art. Chubarov's previous record was £288,000, also set at that sale.

Simon de Pury, chairman of Phillips, believes the secret of his June success is that Russian art should not be holed up in sales dedicated solely to Russian art. They can hold their own at international art sales.

While we can't be sure that these works were bought by Russian collectors, most insiders believe the buyers were Russians-a term used to include both citizens of the Russian Federation as well as Soviet émigrés.

The Phillips results aside, one thing has been clear over the past eighteen months, which has seen the openings in Moscow of an exhibition space by Vladimir Semenikhin, a private museum by Igor Markin, and the Winzavod arts center by Roman Trotsenko. All these men and their wives began collecting classical Russian art about five or ten years ago. Today, their new passion is collecting and promoting contemporary art. As the tastes of an increasing number of rich Russians mature away from classical art, and as Russian contemporary art increasingly becomes fashionable among the new elite, more and more wealthy people will enter this market and push prices up.


This May, Art Moscow (, Russia's only international art fair, was held at the Central House of Artists for the eleventh time. Though still not on an equal footing with such leading international art fairs as Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, Frieze Art Fair, FIAC or The Armory Show, Art Moscow has steadily been growing in importance. The boom in sales of Russian contemporary art has catalyzed the process. Artist Oleg Artyushkov took these photos of the 11th Art Moscow art fair especially for Newsletter.

Special non-commercial projects have long been a specialty of Art Moscow. This year, the first art reality show, Kommunalka (organized by M'ARS Centre of Contemporary Art, Moscow, and Expo Park, Moscow), was launched as part of the fair. The event's curator Antonio Geusa reports:

Kommunalka (Communal Apartment) took place 15-20 May 2007, in the Central House of Artists, as part of the 11th Art Moscow art fair. Seven renowned Russian artists-Vika Begalska, Vladislav Efimov, Elena Kovylina, Anton Litvin, Diana Machulina, Mikhail Mutaev, Sergei Shutov-shared the same living space, an approximately one hundred square meter room divided by curtains into two parts, a bedroom and a lounge. To make their works they had computers, video and photo cameras, a printer, canvases, and different types of colors, clay, paper and pencils at their disposal. The artists were not allowed to leave the Kommunalka, but they could receive guests. Visitors of the art fair could also watch them at work from behind a glass wall. Home viewers could have a look at what was going on 24/7 at the site During their stay the participants produced a considerable number of works (performances, paintings, photographs, videos, sculptures, etc.). Some of these sprang from tasks given to them by the members of the jury: Irina Bychkova, Ekaterina Dyogot, Irina Gorlova, Eugenia Kikodze, Natalia Kossolapova, Irina Kulik, Olga Lopukhova, Milena Orlova, Elena Selina.

Newsletter: Antonio, Kommunalka is the first art reality show to be realized in Russia. This genre has become extremely popular in Russia during recent years. What was your main intention? To criticize the mass media by reappropriating a popular genre? To probe whether there is a difference between the art community and the community usually represented in reality shows? Or was it something else?

Antonio Geusa: I would handle the phrase "art reality show" with care. Kommunalka was above all an "art experiment" that the M'ARS Centre of Contemporary Art and I wanted to conduct. It had many features in common with a TV reality show, but at the same time it would be utterly wrong to interpret it as an alternative variant of such a popular television format. The way I see it is that this "show" was proof that whatever formula works for television does not work for art. On the other hand, art is the most apt medium for deconstructing such formulas. At the same time, for me it was a very interesting study of the way the creative process takes place.

At the beginning we let everybody believe-participants and members of the jury included-that we were going to follow the mechanisms which form the fundamentals of a TV reality show: votes and evictions. But of course that never happened. Nobody got the boot. That would have been a crime! It would have meant choosing the person over their work. With art you cannot do that. All the participants were ARTISTS: each of them is a relevant member of the Russian art community.

When I saw the expression of joy on the faces of the artists when the jury told them that nobody was going to be sent home, that all of them were going to stay until the very end, I realized that our experiment was successful.

Newsletter: What does the title of your project mean? The very name Kommunalka takes us back to the Soviet past, when different families were forced to live together in communal apartments, to share bathrooms, kitchens, etc. Today we see the same phenomena resurrected by the mass media, which forces groups of people to live together. The reasons for these living conditions are different. We might say that Kommunalka is a political artifact, while the reality-show communal apartment is a media artifact.

AG: Well, I guess it simply alludes to a bunch of artists sharing the same living space. Between the two options you've suggested, I would say that our Kommunalka is an "art artifact." At the opening, one member of the press actually told me that she believed the title was a little offensive. Being a foreigner, I was accused of treating certain "historical" issues too lightly. I respect her opinion, but, frankly, I'm afraid that she overtly missed the irony implied in such a choice. There were no social or political connotations. Just a "catchy" title.

Newsletter: Did the artists enjoy participating in Kommunalka? What was the public's reaction to the project? Do you plan to repeat Kommunalka?

AG: The artists had a great time. Seriously. They kept saying that they felt like kids at a Young Pioneers camp. A strong spirit of comradeship was palpable all the time. It filled the whole space with a very exciting atmosphere. One couldn't fail to feel it. A lot of the people from the art community (and not only!) who came to see what was going on in the "house" sensed that and wanted to move in. The best commentary that I read in the press was that Kommunalka was reminiscent of the art communities of the eighties, such as Furmanny Alley and Trekhprudny Alley.

To be honest, I had not predicted that. I had actually foreseen big rows and the possibility that someone would quit before the end. Luckily, this didn't happen. Not a single conflict took place. I guess this demonstrated that artists are really made of very special stuff. The public (and the media) came in hordes. Sometimes, the artists even decided to have their door closed and not let anybody in so that they could keep working.

As for repeating Kommunalka, the answer is straightforward: no way! Again, repeating a successful show might work for TV, but it won't work for art. In the latter case, doing an exhibition just for the sake of getting your fifteen minutes of fame is a deadly sin.


Irina V. Lebedeva, Deputy Director of The State Tretyakov Gallery (, Moscow, kindly agreed to answer Newsletter's questions about the new hanging of 20th-century Russian art that has recently been unveiled in the gallery's building on Krymsky Val.

Newsletter: What makes the new exposition in this building different from the previous one?

Irina V. Lebedeva: The first version of this exposition was on view to the public at the end of the last century, in 1998-2000. That was our first attempt to create a large-scale exposition of 20th-century Russian art. One should remember that it has been only during the last twenty years that it is permitted to exhibit the avant-garde in Russian museums, while it was only five years ago that contemporary art became a focus of the Tretyakov Gallery. Today, we feel it is important to present this complex, contradictory material in a different way. Our task was to create an articulate and well-balanced exposition. Finally, this very task determined our methods of presentation as well as the overall design of the exposition.

We did our best to respond to the two most frequently asked questions: Where can we see Russian constructivist art? Where's the socialist realism? There are three special projects within the exposition, which occupies forty-two rooms and contains over fifteen hundred artworks. The first project is the hall of constructivist art. There you will see a reconstruction of the 1921 exhibition of the OBMOKhU Society of Young Artists. (Vyacheslav Koleichuk carried out the reconstruction.) The second project is a conceptual representation of socialist realism. We decided to show five large canvases, including three depictions of Stalin and two mythological canvases-Yablonsky's Bread and Gerasimov's Kolkhoz Festival. There are also quite a few sculptures on view in this room, including a model of Vera Mukhina's famous Worker and Kolkhoz Woman. We also decided to show a potpourri of classic Soviet films and a history of the Christ Our Saviour Cathedral, which can be seen through the exhibition hall's windows. Finally, Alexander Vinogradov and Vladimir Dubossarsky specially created the third project for our new exposition. This famous duo of artists created a photographic collage, Seasons in Russian Painting. It reveals their thorough knowledge of art history and their genuine love for our national painting tradition.

Newsletter: Would it be true to say that the relationship between art and power is a basic motif of this new exposition?

IVL: Yes, surely, though this relationship is now shown in a less obvious way. Thus, we tried to avoid the division between official and unofficial art. Instead, we created three "rays" or clusters for art made after the Thaw. In the first cluster, which includes paintings by such official Soviet artists as Plastov and Tkachev, we wanted to demonstrate the painterly characteristics of realism as well as the traces of the impressionist influence on Soviet painting. The second cluster reflects the innovativeness of 20th-century art. It traces historical continuities and shows the reception of the European avant-garde by unofficial Soviet art. Works by such significant artists as Mikhail Roginsky, Boris Turetsky, Yuri Zlotnikov, and Oskar Rabin are on view here. This cluster is completed by Erik Bulatov's Clouds Growing, which he painted specially for our new exposition. This picture does not belong to the Tretyakov Gallery yet, but we are planning to purchase it. And, finally, the third cluster, which opens with Nikonov's Geologists, shows the art of the sixties, seventies and eighties, its complex relations with the realities of the period, and the fate of the large easel painting.

Newsletter: Given the rapidly growing prices for contemporary Russian art (and for Erik Bulatov's works in particular), as demonstrated by the recent auctions, do you think it will be difficult for the Tretyakov Gallery to purchase his work? What is your take on the auction boom for Russian contemporary art?

IVL: It's all interdependent. Artists whose works are on view in the new exposition can now sell their works for greater prices at the auctions. And given the latest auction prices, it becomes all the more difficult for the museum to purchase their works.


Russian artists who took part in this summer's major events, such as the 52nd Venice Biennale, documenta 12, and Art Basel, seem to have demonstrated a law that applies equally to the Russian and international art scenes. Thus, work by the AES+F group, who were extraordinarily popular at the Russian Pavilion in Venice, was the hit of Art Basel as well. This suggests that the evil-tongued critics are right: the Venice Biennale has in fact degraded into a preview show for Art Basel. At the same time, Russian artists Andrei Monastyrsky, Anatoly Osmolovsky and Dmitri Gutov, who participated in Robert Storr's Arsenale project, exhibited their works at documenta, which underscores its deep opposition to the Venice Biennale.

Kate Sutton, an independent American curator and art critic, kindly agreed to share with the readers of Newsletter her impressions of how Russian artists fared on the so-called Grand Tour.

The Grand Tour-as the once-a-decade coincidence of Documenta, skulpturproekte, the Venice Biennale, and Art Basel was christened-capitalized on the increasingly lucrative enterprise of art tourism, sponsoring a city-by-city invasion by the art elite.

Indeed, in a two-week blitz across Europe, Biennalists and Baselites alike bumped shoulders and bruised elbows, vying for outside tables and last-minute hotel rooms. The diverse crowd was easily distinguished, sporting complimentary shoulder bags and pumping paper fans. What was particularly intriguing was how of them many spoke Russian. Where is this sort of audience in Moscow? What would it take to attract this audience to the Moscow art scene?

In comparison to the flood of Russian visitors, the number of Russian artists represented on the Grand Tour remained relatively few. Curators tended towards the recognized warriors such as Andrei Monastyrsky, Anatoly Osmolovsky, and Dmitri Gutov, rather than taking a risk with any of the cutting-edge up-and-comers.

As befits a project by Olga Sviblova, the Russian Pavilion at Venice was certainly a showstopper, dazzling and diverting, but ultimately unconvincing. Deriving its title from a project by Julia Milner, CLICK I HOPE devoted most of its space to video installations by Alexander Ponomarev, but it was AES+F-on the heels of their show at the Russian Museum, where they unveiled their First Rider sculpture-who really stole the show with Last Riot, a three-channel animation of collected photographs, infused with a blunt narrative and brazen special effects. It was all bombastic but bloodless, in keeping with their chilled aesthetic. Andrey Bartenev's play with mirrors created quite a buzz as well, though not nearly as much as the artist's opening-day outfit of unitard and platform shoes.

Decidedly less playful, Robert Storr's Arsenale project, Think with the Senses-Feel with the Mind. Art in Present Tense, at times overdid its knit brow, but generally performed well under pressure. Storr recuperated an earlier work by Monastyrsky, a Monument to Husserl and Brentano, which included a tower of suitcases, containing a video screen and crowned by a taxidermied rabbit. Further along, an audio recording of the participants of the Lifshitz Institute reading Marx accompanied a wall of Gutov's coyly candid canvases. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov transformed an entire room with an installation of utopian visions, a theme that carried over into their separate project, The Ship of Tolerance, moored in the Grand Canal not far from the Guggenheim.

In keeping with the boat theme, Oxana Maleeva's The Storm and the Harbour sought shelter in the glorious gondola-filled space of the Palazzo Donà dalle Rose, rekindling the romance of perestroika-era Petersburg. In the stunning spaces, Timur Novikov's textile works festooned the masts of one ship, while Georgy Gurianov's sailors manned another. In a crumbling palace on the Grand Canal, the Stella Art Foundation presented Ruin Russia, Stas Polnarev's epitaph for what was formerly the world's largest hotel, the Rossiya in Moscow. The installation combined the artist's digital prints documenting the building's destruction with ephemera such as receipts, menus, and promotional videos that commemorated its former splendor. Meanwhile, at the Guggenheim, Janna Bullock and the RIGroup sponsored the inventive Beuys and Barney show, presumably prolonging the collaboration that brought Barney to the Moscow Biennale in the spring.

The next stop on the Grand Tour, Art Basel is becoming increasingly difficult to extricate from the other "non-profit" exhibitions (the opposite also holds true.) In addition to announcing an upcoming panel on the future of the museum in Russia, Art Basel inaugurated its Conversations series with the Kabakovs and Boris Groys, in an all-Russian discussion on russkost' (Russianness) and utopia. Venturing their own (anti-) utopia at Marco Noire Contemporary Art, AES+F continued to draw stares with the provocative Last Riot project. The only Russian gallery represented at the fair, XL showed a solid booth, with works by Irina Korina, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, the Bluesoup Group, and Aristarkh Chernyshev.

Rather than fixing the contemporary moment, Roger M. Buergel's documenta 12 suggested an overlooked addendum to recent art history. Works were arranged with no regard to chronology (some works dated as far back as the fifties) or content, creating an easy dissidence altogether complimentary to the three (rather divergent) themes of Modernity, Bare Life, and Art Education. In a Carrollian turn, a seventies-era Monastyrsky work invited visitors to push a bureaucratic white button; the import of this action was ambiguous until the very end of the exhibition. Nearby, Gutov has translated his painting into iron, the canvas replaced by wire grid, the scratchy pen marks made metal in a conflation of light and heavy, delicate and dangerous. Osmolovsky's iconostasis Bread, seen in this winter's I Believe, at the Winzavod, found new life against the bright blue background of the documenta-Halle. In the Museum Fridericianum, his Hardware huddled under the swooping works of Iole de Freitas, while elsewhere Buergel included the iconic photograph Osmolovsky-Mayakovsky, which pictures the artist perched on the shoulder of the monument to the revolutionary poet.

Parallel to the exhibition project, Buergel enlisted magazines from all over the world to produce their own issues on documenta's three themes. Participating publications from Russia included Moscow Art Magazine and St. Petersburg's What Is to be Done? Inclusion in the international contemporary art discourse marks an important opportunity for the Russian art world to flex its muscles outside the confines of the East-West debate.

While the Grand Tour produced a snapshot of the contemporary art world, there is still a long way to go before the number of Russian participants is proportionate to the number of Russian viewers. All the same, the enormous amount of interest bodes well. We can only imagine what the next Grand Tour could look like

Dmitri Novik, a columnist with the St. Petersburg-based NOMI (New World of Art) magazine kindly agreed to share with the readers of Newsletter his impressions of the Russian artworks exhibited at documenta 12.

The Russian participants at documenta-Andrei Monastyrsky, Dmitri Gutov, Anatoly Osmolovsky, and Kirill Preobrazhensky-did not get as much attention as John McCracken, Kerry James Marshall, and Juan Davila, whose works beckoned throughout the entire documenta space, from the park adjacent to Aue-Pavillon to the Schloss Wilhelmshöhe. The Russian presence at documenta 12 was, nevertheless, highly remarkable.

Andrei Monastyrsky's project, Goethe, consisted of a button and a speaker that linked the entrance and the exit of the huge Aue-Pavillon, documenta's principal exhibition space. The provocation provided by the white button (whose effect only became apparent after you'd completed the whole tour through dozens of different artworks) was compelling enough to make you countermarch through the exhibition and see all the exhibits in reverse order. While making this return journey you came to notice that McCracken's modest green object expands into Gerwald Rockenschaub's gigantic green plastic cube after you pass by Luis Sacilotto's audio installation with electronic guitars. You also came to notice how Zheng Guogu's calligraphy and the fashionable hairdos with African plaits in J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere's photographs rhyme with the Karl Marx texts and Chinese poems welded in metal by Dmitri Gutov. The Russian collective consciousness was quick to suggest the notion that "manuscripts don't burn" and other connotations related to the imperishability of the empyreal. Anatoly Osmolovsky's Bread was shown at the documenta-Halle, where curators attempted to reflect on basic themes of human being such as sex, war, politics, and entertainment. Osmolovsky's wooden worm-eaten breads were an ostensible but extremely emotional metaphor for the spiritual or (to be more precise) the loss of the spiritual in the earthly world. Osmolovsky's objects appear within a totally different context beside Andrei Monastyrsky's installation at the Fridericianum Museum, Fountain. Photographs of golden collective farm girls from the famous Friendship of Peoples fountain at Moscow's VDNKh clearly manifest the artist's attempt to overcome the totalitarian myth: the back of each figure bears a sticker describing Soviet hydroelectric stations that flooded huge territories. But how startlingly beautiful such myths can be! Beauty is inherent in myth as such as well as in specific embodiments of the mythology of violence: this what Osmolovsky says with his bronze tank turrets, representing all the armies of the world (Hardware). To overcome dangerous delusions one must undertake something extraordinary: for instance, clambering onto the shoulder of a monument to totalitarian culture and humanizing it in the process. Photo documentation of Osmolovsky's famous action Netzesudik's Journey to Brobdingnag was renamed Mayakovsky-Osmolovsky for the ease of western viewers.

Kirill Preobrazhensky's audio project (Tram 4 Inner Voice Radio) , almost the only work of public art at documenta, was exhibited in trams on the No. 4 route. The mystery of the road, which makes strangers in a streetcar bare their hearts to each other, is akin to the mystery of art, which is capable of doing the same thing to anyone.

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Artist's Viewpoint

St. Petersburg-based artist Andrei Rudyev shares his impressions of the Nord Art festival in Büdelsdorf (Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, 10 June-30 October 2007) with the readers of Newsletter. Rudyev took part in the festival (

The festival was founded ten years ago by the artist Wolfgang Gramm, who persuaded Hans-Julius Ahlmann, the owner of ACO-Gruppe, to sponsor this large festival, which has become one of the biggest art events in northern Germany. The exhibition, which this year gathered 200 artists from thirty-five countries, was preceded by a symposium. The curators paid special attention to Petersburg art and invited such artists as Vera Svetlova, Inna Pozina, Masha Garkavenko, Nastya Eliseeva, Anna Zhelud, Veronika Rudyeva-Ryazantseva, Petr Shvetsov, Sergei Denisov, and myself. The exhibition occupied the huge shop floors of a former factory, refitted as an exhibition hall. They also have a large sculpture park. Though there were no "stars" and "fashionable names" among the participants, the exhibition was quite interesting. I liked Anna Zhelud's Favorite Things, Petr Shvetsov's My Granny Was Right, and two objects by the Berlin-based artist Anna Myga Kasten.

The works by the Estonian artists looked good, and so did the "new" German painting. There was too much monotonously formal sculpture, while the show in the industrial park zone looked a bit obsolete. Generally speaking, however, Nord Art is what they called a "creative resort" during Soviet times-with good financial backing, great technical assistants, materials provided to the artists, and so forth.

Masha Godovannaya, a film and video artist based in St. Petersburg, kindly shared her opinion on the exhibition Asia-Europe Mediations, in which she participated. The exhibition opened on 29 June 2007 in Poznan, Poland.

Asia-Europe Mediations ( united over 200 artists from twenty-three Asian and twenty European countries. Asian attitude was hosted by the Poznan National Museum; European attitude, by the Poznan School of Humanities and Journalism. There also was an exhibition of Israeli video art at a place called Synagoga Nowa (a synagogue before WWII, now it's a swimming pool). There was a quite impressive show of contemporary art at the Inner Space Museum, which recently opened at a former hospital complex, video screenings at the Zamek Cultural Centre, and many collateral exhibitions and events at other Poznan art galleries. It was impossible to see everything in two or three days (there were round tables, symposiums, talks, etc.) but it was possible to see the city and talk to the artists. The event sites were spread all over Poznan, and a nice walk with other participating artists quickly became a tradition during the several days I stayed there.

Petr Shvetsov, a St. Petersburg-based artist, kindly shared his impressions of the exhibition Time of the Storytellers at Helsinki's Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (

Along with Boston's ICA, Kiasma is one of my favorite contemporary art museums. I like their size, their architecture, and most of the curatorial projects I have seen in these museums.

The exhibition Time of the Storytellers recently opened at Kiasma. Its curator, Victor Misiano, has helped popularize Central Asian art by bringing exhibitions to sites across Europe, beginning with his show at the Venice Biennale two years ago, followed by five exhibitions this year, including recent shows in Prato, Athens, and Tallinn. Most of his projects present the same artists and the same art works. In this way, Misiano has turned his attention from Russian art and become the only European curator who represents the art of Central Asia.

According to Misiano, the Kiasma project represents artists "from the Urals to Asia" who both shatter exotic oriental stereotypes and address important social and political issues. Frankly speaking, apart from a few exceptions I didn't notice any particular political or social themes in the works, though the exhibition title seemed a good choice to me. The artists, in fact, tell stories and most of them are very beautiful.

The works I liked the best-by Erbossyn Meldibekov and Vladimir Kuprianov-were the least narrative. It seems pointless to talk about Erbossyn's works since they are absolutely transparent. One of them, a replica of his Gattamelata in Hide of Genghis Khan, at first glance seems no different from the version of the piece exhibited by Marat Guelman at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg this past spring. According to the artist himself, however, the replica exhibited at Kiasma is better because "the hooves here are more convincing from the taxidermal point of view." Besides, the sphere beneath the left forefoot is "antique copper."

Meldibekov also showed his installation Victory Peak, models of ten or so Asian mountain peaks (from Communism Peak to Victory Peak), fashioned by beating chamber pots, kitchen pots, and gasoline barrels with a hammer. The work is quite simple, but very expressive and particularly delightful because it gives the viewer the opportunity to learn how you need to hit a chamber pot and what you need to hit it with so that it will look like Bora Bora in springtime.

Painting is scarcely represented in the exhibition. The only exception, works by Kote Sulaberidze, seems to be a political rather than a painterly phenomenon. This raises an interesting question: what would East European and Asian artists have to exhibit if photography and video did not exist?

When I talked with the artists, I was intrigued by yet another question: what do they carry in their luggage? Their movements around the world must look quite suspicious. Leonid Tishkov, who brought Olga Chernysheva's video installation to Helsinki, expected a serious interrogation at customs since her work consists of a great number of videos of people doing something in the illuminated windows of apartment buildings. It might seem like a coded message or something more dangerous to customs officials. Tishkov himself was transporting dozens of colored balls made from his relatives' old clothes, cut into narrow strips.

But the most suspicious looking artist was certainly Erbossyn Meldibekov. He was carrying cardboard Pall Mall cigarette cartons, deformed pots, cauldrons, thermos flasks, and finally, horse hooves. Unfortunately, most of the artists exhibited videos and were thus transporting only ordinary DVDs.

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Critic's Choice

For this issue of Newsletter, Stanislav Savitsky, PhD, a critic and a curator affiliated with the PRO ARTE Institute of Contemporary Art and the Russian Institute of Art History, has reviewed the best art events in St. Petersburg this past summer.

The Circle of Artists

The State Russian Museum

28 June-10 November 2007

This exhibition made the greatest impression on me during the past few months. First, a Petersburger can't help admiring the artists who established the peculiar tradition of Leningrad painting. It is quite a rare chance to see the originals of their works, which makes this large-scale exposition extremely interesting. Second, the decade that followed the October Revolution seems to invoke particular interest nowadays. The Circle of Artists brought together the first generation of post-Civil War Vkhutein graduates. This group of artists made its artistic debut at the time when the first myths of the Revolution arose and the first attempts to write its history were undertaken. What was the proportion of romanticism to political arithmetic in the minds of this generation? How does a strong faith in utopia co-exist with pragmatic considerations? The present exhibition goes a long way towards answering these questions.

Vladimir Shinkarev

Borovaya and Smolenka

NOMI (New World of Art) Exhibition Hall

8-31 May 2007

Shinkarev is the real Petersburg's long-standing heartthrob, a man who prefers modest art to showy success. His novella Maxim and Fyodor was so popular that it produced a number of proverbs and sayings. Besides, in Petersburg, quiet backstreets have been the favorite strolling grounds among several generations of intellectuals. Perhaps I liked this exhibition because of my recent engagement with art projects focused on such out-of-the-way districts as Kolomna and Shkapina Street. The meditative style and a subdued palette that oscillates between white and dirty aren't new to the artist. This exhibition only develops his old methods and themes. But since it's these very themes and methods that the public loves most, it is extremely easy for a spectator to dispense with her wish to see something new from the city's adored master.

Oleg Kotelnikov Mini-Festival: 49 Isn't a Sentence

Freud Museum of Dreams

Navicula Artis Gallery

Museum of the New Academy of Fine Arts

St. Petersburg Independent Art Archive and Library

13 May-26 June 2007

This was a local event (or so it seems). Such blockbusters as Adventures of Black Square or the AES+F and Yankilevsky retrospectives, which all took place at the State Russian State Museum, are much more important for the news feeds. However, the relish of the Petersburg art scene comes from its self-sufficiency. In Petersburg, we've always had a life that isn't registered by the ratings and awards. And now (as always) artists who concentrate on their private projects seem far more interesting than those who are dying to make friends with the whole world. It's a pity that paintings from Kotelnikov's New Wilds period were scarcely represented at this so-called mini-festival. His golden age was mainly illustrated by medium-size pieces, graphics, and funny little drawings.

A booklet, O.K. 7x7, was published in connection with the festival. Featuring archival photos and poems by Kotelnikov, the booklet also includes short essays by Andrei Khlobystin, Timur Novikov, Gleb Ershov, Thomas Campbell, Sergei Dobrotvorsky, Gleb Aleinikov, and Ekaterina Andreeva.

Zoe Beloff

Charming Augustine

Freud Museum of Dreams

17 June 2007

This was, perhaps, the most Petersburgian event of the past few months. A New York-based artist, Beloff is fascinated with early 20th-century movies documenting psychiatric case histories. For her, psychiatry is a specific form of theater, a morbid and hypnotic scene. The stereoscopic, 16 mm black-and-white sound film screened at the Freud Museum is based on materials published by psychiatrists at the Hospice de la Salpêtrière in 1880. This strange screening or stereo staging allows viewers to see film with the eyes of a spectator of the nineteen-teens and twenties.

Anastasia Mityushina, an independent art manager and art critic based in Moscow, kindly gave Newsletter her choice of the best shows of summer 2007.

Oleg Kulik

Chronicle. 1987-2007

Central House of Artists

25 June-29 July 2007

(XL's Gallery Moscow Contemporary Project)

The very best show of this summer and, maybe, the whole 2006-2007 season. The leading Russian contemporary artist, Oleg Kulik pondered the twenty-plus years of his career, rethinking the dull, quotidian space of the CHA in the process. The results of this rethinking were fabulous-a vivid unfolding of Kulik's career that eschewed slow, step-by-step narration. The viewer experienced something rare in Russia-spatial freedom, and in this space she could meet both the famous man-dog of the radical, exuberant nineties as well as an artist searching for a new, hidden path in 2007.

PROUN Gallery

9 July-25 September 2007

This gallery should no doubt be shortlisted as the home of the most witty and sophisticated projects. Its curator, Marina Loshak, has a distinct knack for finding ways to demonstrate the avant-garde in its essence and roots. This show launches a program focused on the primitive art that caused a revival in painting at the beginning of the 20th century. The twenty doors on display here-from peasant houses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and loaned to the gallery from private collections in Moscow and St. Petersburg-make a strong, encouraging impression. There is still something out there we haven't seen.

15 Years

Aidan Gallery

28 July-September 2007

In celebration of its fifteenth anniversary, one of Russia's best and oldest galleries brought together all the main players on the Russian art scene, who either have worked with the gallery or are connected to it in one way or another. The show reminds the viewer that contemporary art in Russia was once childish but has now achieved a lot. Just imagine our future.

The New World: 300 Years of American Art

Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts

24 July-9 September 2007

Nothing very special if you travel a lot, but rather symbolical and significant if you don't, this worldwide traveling exhibition is the biggest American art show ever to come to Russia. There is no curatorial concept at work here, but rather a game for the attentive viewer. In the first half, which covers pre-20th century art, one should note how the Americans aimed towards European ideals. In the second part, one should just gaze at the brilliant specimens of the unique freedom generated by America's post-war artists.

Andre Butzer

Gary Tatintsian Gallery

22 June-6 August 2007

The best show if you wanted to feel as if your summer travels weren't over: no borders exist for Gary Tatintsian Gallery, which brings the most promising emerging artists to Russia. Andre Butzer is a typical representative of the German expressionist-based line of contemporary painting, but he has found his own signature-large brushstrokes and splashes outline funny, smiling faces.

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West Meets East

Zefrey Throwell
( is a San Francisco-based artist whose practice revolves around painting, social interventionism, and video. He works with three collectives: Thin Ice Collective (, Red76 (, and Neighborhood Public Radio ( Most recently, Throwell has been working with P.S.1 in New York and its in-house radio station, WPS1 ( For the project Venetian Interiors Throwell investigated the relationship between the local community and the Venice Biennale through a series of interviews that were subsequently broadcast in Italy and the US. During the past few months, Throwell has been on the road exploring the contemporary art scene in cities such as Hamburg, Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Vilnius, and Belgrade. The interviews he conducted during his travels will be posted on the WPS1 website in early September.

Throwell kindly shared with Newsletter his impressions of contemporary Russian art-in Venice, Moscow, and Petersburg.

Newsletter: Could you tell us what you thought of the Russian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year?

Zefrey Throwell: At such events it's always difficult to come up with a quick analysis of the art one sees because it is so often jammed in amongst so many other things that clarity is rarely what one walks away with. That being said, I definitely remember the Russian Pavilion as a standout this year.

The multi-screen, computer-animated works of AES+F immediately struck me. What caught my attention was that the primal action was halted right before the bloody payoff. One so often expects art to make the full leap to absolute shock and gore that it is quite striking when, in fact, it doesn't. The action is never realized. This teasing of the moment was something that I found quite erotic. This is most certainly the aim of AES+F, seeing as the outfits and svelte physiques of the computer-animated figures suggest a new wave fashion shoot rather than a modern-day battlefield.

Andrei Bartenev's piece was my favorite in the pavilion. Simply stated and without the use of heavy technological gadgets, it made a moving point. LED lights spinning with mirrors stretched out to infinity with the glowing message Connection Lost. This perfect commentary on our hybrid world of zeroes and ones and the blank space that it creates in human interaction nearly brought a tear to my eye. There is a certain beauty when something can both tantalize visually and leave the viewer questioning and also identifying. It reminded me of the amazing kaleidoscopic piece that Jim Drain and Ara Peterson presented at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts earlier this year. Bartenev had that same feeling, but with a stronger message.

Newsletter: You've been touring around Russia for the past few weeks, interviewing artists, curators, critics, and gallerists. Could you give us an outsider's opinion of what the contemporary art scene in Russia looks like?

ZT: Russia is on the very edge of exploding onto the contemporary scene. There is a quite a bit of talk about China right now, and the new perspective that China is offering to art. This is all most certainly true, but I think that the key player in the days to come will be Russia. Some favorites from my travels include Petr Shvetsov and his dark, brooding paintings. Viktoria Ilyushkina and Masha Sharafutdinova are both producing excellent video work, and Peter Belyi has already cracked the international scene with his decaying architectural installations. My personal favorite as far as painters go is Ilya Gaponov. His renditions of Siberian coal miners are something that mixes both the traditional talents of Russian classical painters with a forward-looking eye to the fragile social issues that Russia and the rest of the world now encounter. Also, filmmaker Dimitri Lurie is doing some amazing work, especially with his new piece Theater of Tears about life in current-day Iran.

In Moscow, I was particularly struck by Diana Machulina and her new work featuring street scenes from around the world. There is a desperation to these paintings that truly catches the eye. An inherent anarchy in them calls on the viewer to overturn the status quo and live a life without social boundaries. Also, I enjoyed the work of Art Business Consulting group. They have captured an element of the corporate/office structure of art and extrapolated that into an intricate series of installations and performances. Truly imaginative and cutting edge.

Russia is a treasure trove of up-and-coming contemporary art.

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Artists' Dreams

Well-known Moscow-based artist Pavel Pepperstein, a founding member of the Medical Hermeneutics group and the author of such books as The Mythogenic Love of Castes, The Swastika and The Pentagon, and Military Tales, had a dream about an installation, Train Around the Sun, by a forgotten suprematist: "It is a giant ball of an intense, 'icon-red' color. It is suspended from the ceiling. The ball is surrounded by drawings, which are hung next to each other like little train cars. The drawings depict fragments of a train, rendered in a quasi-suprematist manner. I am told that the artist was particularly interested in speed and made endless sketches of trains moving at different speeds. The drawings hung around the ball increase in size, thus (in part) creating the illusion that the 'head' of the train (depicted in the larger drawings) is closer than the rear of the train, depicted in tiny drawings."

This dream was published in Russian in Pavel Pepperstein, "Dreams," KABINET Ë: Pictures of the World, II. St. Petersburg: Skifia, 2001.

With this issue, Newsletter launches a new column, which will introduce the forthcoming projects of Russia's leading curators and artists.

Eugenia Kikodze, a well-known Moscow-based art curator and critic, kindly shared her plans for a series of exhibitions she will organize during the 2008-2009 season at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. Simple Forms Painting, or Russian Geometry will present works by such artists as Boris Bich, Yuri Zlotnikov, Francesco Infante, Alena Kirtsova, Vyacheslav Koleichuk, Oleg Kudryashov, Lev Nusberg, Oleg Prokofiev, Viktor Umnov, Mikhail Chernyshev, Igor Shelkovsky, Alexander Yulikov, and Valery Yurlov.

This program will delve into one of the most intriguing albeit poorly investigated strands in the Russian unofficial art of the late Soviet period. The standard narrative has it that, under the totalitarian regime, political dissidence and linguistic analysis were the two fundamental art discourses. The romantic, pro-western Russian version of abstract expressionism also played an important albeit lesser role on the scene. By contrast, abstract geometric painting was the least involved with the sociopolitical context since it was focused on the formal possibilities of visual language.

Alena Kirtsova will be the subject of one of the first shows. Her works represent a return to the origins of modernism, seemingly lost forever during the Soviet regime. Critics labeled her art "Russian minimalism" because of her geometric works of the early eighties. It was then that the artist's intuitive experiments acquired clarity thanks to a happy choice of subject: the interiors of prefab concrete housing blocks. Kirtsova's task was to show that these aseptic, box-like houses were the true heirs of the modernist aesthetic. Her new understanding of the non-figurative nature of painterly language led her to evolve her method. Anything she did after that-whether "remembering boards" or box objects or photo collages-should be deemed experiments in painting. In modernist painting, that is: painting that refuses to perceive itself as the canvas surface and strives to identify with the matrix and the cosmos, to imagine itself as a practical guide to the future.

* * *


VII Krasnoyarsk Museum Biennale
Design of Siberia
17 September-18 November 2007

The theme of the biennale is the artistic rethinking of Siberia "as a positively charged emptiness, a hidden resource of the new post-industrial civilization." Sponsored by the Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation and the Administration of Krasnoyarsk Territory, the biennale has changed its format for its seventh run. Aside from the Krasnoyarsk Museum Center, the museums of Krasnoyarsk Territory, Kemerovo Region, Tiumen Region, and the Maritime Territory will be involved in the event. Over thirty artists will take part in the main project, including Yuri Avvakumov, Alena Kirtsova, Ilya Chichkan, Sergei Shutov, Olga and Alexander Florensky, and the Blue Noses Group. The biennale's parallel program will feature well-known British artist Darren Almond and New York-based artist Yevgeniy Fiks, as well as Konstantin Batynkov and Leonid Tishkov.

Dennis Hopper in the Manezh
Manezh Central Exhibition Hall, Moscow
13 September-9 October 2007

Organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, the RIGroup, and The Multimedia Arts Center (Moscow), this exhibition features over seven hundred works. Most of these pieces were not shown at this summer's Hopper exhibition at The State Hermitage Museum.

The Kandinsky Prize
Press Conference: Announcement of the Jury
ITAR-TASS Press Center, Moscow
20 September 2007

Founded by ArtKhronika magazine and Deutsche Bank, The Kandinsky Prize will be awarded for achievements in contemporary Russian art. At the September 20 press conference in Moscow, the members of the jury will be announced to the public. The jury members will judge among 250 submissions, awarding prizes in three categories: Artist of the Year, Young Artist of the Year, and Media Art Project of the Year. In addition to cash prizes, the winners will have exhibitions in Moscow, Germany, and New York. The winners are to be announced in a gala ceremony on 4 December 2007, Vasily Kandinsky's birthday.

Alexander Ponomarev
Verticale Parallèle
Chapelle Saint-Louis de la Salpêtrière, Paris
Festival d'Automne à Paris. 36th Edition
13 September-14 October 2007

Alexander Ponomarev is a well-known artist (his work is represented in the Russian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale) and a former naval engineer. For the installation Verticale Parallèle, Ponomarev has created a giant periscope. Exhibition visitors will be able to point the periscope's lens towards outer space or the rooftops of neighboring houses. These images will be broadcast in real time to rooms in the adjacent hospital.

This exhibition opens the so-called Russian autumn in Paris-a series of exhibitions of contemporary Russian art at the city's most important venues.

Espace Louis Vuitton, Paris
21 September-31 December 2007

This show presents works on the themes of urbanism and life in Russia's megalopolis by Moscow-based artists: Alexander Brodsky, Kirill Chelushkin, Valery Chtak, Olga Chernysheva, Alexei Kallima, Valery Koshlyakov, Oleg Kulik, Pavel Pepperstein, Ksenia Peretrukhina, Stanislav Shuripa, Iced Architects Group. Hervé Mikaeloff will serve as the exhibition's commissar.

Galerie Orel Art
16 October Ц 30 November 2007

The exhibition brings together a selection of Russian and international artists (Italy, Great Britain, USA) whose artistic reflection is based on questioning contemporary society as well as deconstructing our cultural references. Participating artists: Andrei Molodkin, Sergei Shekhovtsov, Arsen Savadov, Marina Chernikova, Valery Koshlyakov, Yuri Shabelnikov, Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov, Stephen J. Shanabrook, Rupert Shrive, Raffaella Nappo.

Sots Art. Art politique en Russie depuis 1972
Maison Rouge, Paris
21 October-20 January 2007

A chronological presentation of the world-famous Sots Art movement. The exhibition will present works from the seventies by the movement's founders and end with a look at Sots Art's trace in contemporary Russian art.

Two other shows will open in parallel with the event: a solo exhibition by Alexei Kallima, a Moscow-based artist whose work centers on Chechnya, at Galerie Anne de Villepoix; and an exhibition of the Moscow group AES+F, who are representing Russia at the 52nd Venice Biennale and participating in the 10th International Istanbul Biennial, at Passage de Retz.

Contemporary Art in the Traditional Museum
PRO ARTE Institute (multiple venues)
29 September-21 October 2007

This festival is one of the most significant and well-known projects of the PRO ARTE Institute. Via a series of exhibitions in museums great and small, on and off the beaten track, the festival aims to bring about a rapprochement between Petersburg's traditional museum culture and its contemporary art as well as to modernize the city's museums. This year's festival features nine projects:

Pulkovo Observatory: Elena Gubanova, Ivan Govorkov, Ludmila Belov, Sergei Bugaev Afrika, Peter Belyi (St. Petersburg), Joulia Strauss (Germany), Susan Kleinberg (USA)
Anna Akhmatova Memorial Museum at Fountain House: Janna Kokko (Finland)
Museum of the Petersburg Avant-Garde (Matyushin House): Tatiana Tulicheva (St. Petersburg)
Dostoevsky Memorial Museum: Gluklya and Tsaplya (Natalia Pershina-Yakimanskya and Olga Egorova) (St. Petersburg)
State Museum of the Political History of Russia: Students of the PRO ARTE Institute
Central Museum of Railway Transport: Ilya Trushevsky
St. Petersburg Water Museum: Efva Lilja (Sweden)
Museum of Astronautics and Rocketry: Masha Sha (St. Petersburg)
Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (Kunstkammer): Nancy Zendora (USA)

The John L. Stewart Collection of Russian Contemporary Art
A Contemporary Art Sale
Phillips de Pury & Company, London
13 October 2007

This auction will feature works by some of the most important unofficial Soviet artists of the seventies and eighties: Erik Bulatov, Semyon Faibisovich, Oleg Vasiliev, Vadim Zakharov, Igor Mikhailov, Igor Kopystiansky, Svetlana Kopystianskya. A major collector of American art, Stewart acquired most of the works from the artists themselves while visiting the Soviet Union during the perestroika period. The sale also includes paintings by the well-known duo of Vinogradov and Dubossarsky.

George Pusenkoff
Who Is Afraid
Moscow Museum of Modern Art
Yermolaevsky Pereulok
In cooperation with pARTner project Gallery
15 October-11 November 2007

This project by the German-based Russian artist Pusenkoff deals with the career of abstraction in contemporary art. The exhibition's title (which is also the title of a series of works presented in the project) alludes to a famous cycle of works by Barnett Newman, Who Is Afraid of Red, Yellow, and Blue, which in turn referred to Alexander Rodchenko's Pure Red, Pure Yellow, Pure Blue.

USA Today. New American Art from the Saatchi Gallery Collection
The State Hermitage Museum. General Staff Building
24 October-13 January 2008

This exhibition launches the Hermitage 20/21 project, an ambitious scheme to extend the museum's treatment of 20th-century western art and put high-profile contemporary work on view in the Hermitage. USA Today is a natural first for the program, showcasing an exciting new wave of American talent from the Saatchi Gallery collection. The show brings to St. Petersburg the vision, outrageous humor, and alienation of artists who've come of age in George Bush, Junior's America. The fifty-eight works by twenty-one artists were created over the last three years or so by a generation, mostly in their thirties, living in the shadow of 9/11. Among the works on view are Adam Cvijanovic's Love Poem (10 Minutes after the End of Gravity); Terence Koh's magical chandelier, fashioned from "paint, lollipops, vegetable matter, human and horse hair, mineral oil, rope from a ship found after midnight, glass shards, stones, and the artist's blood and shit"; and Kristin Baker's canvases, which explode with color in a manner reminiscent of Kandinsky.

USA Today was first shown in November 2006 at the Royal Academy of Art in London. A new selection was made for the Hermitage show by Charles Saatchi, Norman Rosenthal, Exhibition Secretary of the Royal Academy and advisor to Hermitage 20/21, and Dmitri Ozerkov, the Hermitage's newly appointed Curator of Contemporary Art.

Collins Building, Miami Design District
3-10 December 2007

After the first successful presentation of contemporary non-commercial Russian art at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2006 a follow-up exhibition has been initiated by Nic Iljine, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation's European representative. RUSSIA MIAMI 2007 is curated by Julie Sylvester, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, State Hermitage Museum. The exhibition will include works by the major players on the contemporary scene in Moscow and St. Petersburg as well as works by younger artists and artists whose works may have remained relatively unknown in the new rush to the art market. The art selected for the exhibition is a purely Russian art-art made in the post-Soviet era, influenced by a rapidly changing society, and in some cases, not represented by the new galleries.

The catalogue will be richly illustrated with the artists' works, and include portraits and biographies. A short story by the acclaimed author Victor Pelevin will serve as the text for the catalogue. RIGroup will sponsor the event.

* * *


The Official Catalogue of the Russian Pavilion
at the 52nd Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art
Moscow: WAM, 2007
In Russian and English

The catalogue introduces the six Russian projects presented at Venice this year: AES+F's Last Riot; Windshield Wipers and Waves, two installations by Alexander Ponomarev; Connection Lost and Field of Lonely Hearts, sculptures by Andrey Bartenev; Julia Milner's net-artwork CLICK I HOPE, which provided the title for the entire Russian Pavilion; and Alexander Ponomarev and Arseny Mescheryakov's installation Shower, dedicated to Nam June Paik.

The catalogue is the second part of a special issue of WAM (World Art Museum) , published in cooperation with the Interros Publishing Program. The first part was published in March 2007. It was the catalogue of the Thinking Realism project, curated by Ekaterina Dyogot and presented at the State Tretyakov Gallery as part of the 2nd Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art

The State Russian Museum
St. Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2007

This extensive catalogue was published for the Petersburg retrospective of Moscow-based artists AES+F, an internationally recognized group who were represented this year in the Russian Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale. The catalogue surveys twenty years of provocative art making including Islamic Project, Suspect, Le Roi des Aulnes, and Last Riot.

The catalogue features Olesya Turkina's interview with AES+F as well as essays by Alexander Borovsky, Antonio Geusa, Robert Leonard and Janita Craw, Alexander Zeldovich, Anna Maria Koppenwalner, and Javier Panera.

Vladimir Yankilevsky: Moment of Eternity
The State Russian Museum
The Ekaterina Foundation
St. Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2007

The exhibition catalogue from a major retrospective of Yankilevsky's work at the Ekaterina Foundation in Moscow and the State Russian Museum in Petersburg. Yankilevsky is one of the most important Soviet nonconformist artists, and his artistic vision had a huge influence on artists in the eighties and nineties.

The catalogue features forewords by Ekaterina and Vladimir Semenikhin, an essay by Alexander Borovsky, and an interview with Yankilevsky by Wolfgang Schlot.

Oleg Kulik
Nihil inhumanum ame alienum puto
(Nothing inhuman is alien to me)
Bielefeld: Kerben Verlag, 2007

The first major catalogue to cover fifteen years of work and outrage from one of Russia's most influential and well-known artists, Oleg Kulik. Kulik achieved international recognition in the mid-nineties for his borderline "man-dog" performances. The catalogue includes numerous archive photos as well as texts by artists and by Russian and international art critics.

Igor Khadikov and Thomas Campbell
Kniga vecherinok
(The Party Book)
St. Petersburg: Avvakum Press, 2007

An offbeat record of art-as-life at Petersburg's world-famous Pushkinskaya-10 squat in the mid-nineties, this book instantly became a bibliographic rarity when it was first published in 1996. The new edition features cover art by Babi Badalov and a present-day afterword by the authors. With guest appearances by Petersburg counterculture titans Timur Novikov, Oleg Kotelnikov, Arkady Dragomoshchenko, and Vladimir Volkov.

Adventures of the Black Square
The State Russian Museum
St. Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2007

The catalogue of an exhibition that reflects on the most radical Russian art work of all time: Kazimir Malevich's Black Square. Curated by Irina Karasik, the show guides the viewer through the Square's transmogrifications in the hands of Malevich's Russian descendants. Includes essays by Irina Karasik and Tatyana Goriacheva.

Art Moscow 2007
11th International Art Fair
Central House of Artists
16-20 May 2007

The catalogue of this annual art is a unique guide to contemporary Russian art as well as the Russian and western galleries working with Russian artists. Includes information on the galleries represented at Art Moscow 2007.

The Pierre-Christian Brochet Collection. 1989-2007
Moscow: Avant-Garde, 2007

Published in conjunction with the exhibition The Future Depends on You: The Pierre-Christian Brochet Collection. 1989-2007, at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art. The collection features unique works from the late eighties and early nineties as well as masterpieces by the foremost Russian artists of the nineties.

The catalogue includes articles by Frederic Bouglet, Ekaterina Dyogot, and Brochet, as well as statements (in Russian) by artists about the collector himself. There is also an English-language index that lists the artists represented in the collection and the websites of galleries that work with Russian art.

Art Exis Collector Book
Exis of the Russian Art World, 2007/2
Paris: +7 Production, 2007

The second issue of the new publication founded by Ekaterina Lagache. Art Exis features the latest news from the Russian art worlds and portraits of its principal figures. The journal consists of four sections: Dossier, Analysis, On the Steps, Choice. The new issue focuses one of the key figures in late Soviet art, Oskar Rabin.

Ante 5. Contemporary Russian Art in Translation
Edited by Nicholas Herman, Dmitri Siegel, Eugene Raikhel, and Elena Sorokina

Published since 2002, the American almanac Ante is dedicated to emerging artists and intellectuals, and the triangulation of art, design, and cultural studies. The new issue is an alphabetically arranged survey of contemporary Russian art with essays, interviews, portfolios, and projects by such artists and critics as Victor Alimpiev, Ekaterina Andreeva, Svetlana Boym, Dmitri Vilensky, Dmitri Gutov, Alexei Kallima, Vitaly Komar, David Ter-Oganyan, Thomas Campbell, Vladimir Shinkarev, Yevgeniy Fiks, David Riff, and Olga Chernysheva.

Viktor Misiano and Jari-Pekka Vanhala
Time of the Storytellers: Narrative and Distant Gaze in Post-Soviet Art
Helsinki: Kiasma, 2007

The catalogue to the exhibition Time of the Storytellers, which presents contemporary art from the post-Soviet regions: Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Essays and images show how these young nations are constructing new identities. Works by fourteen artists reflect the contradictions that arise when rich traditional cultures assimilate the Soviet legacy while hoping for a better future.

Ice Cream: Contemporary Art in Culture
10 Curators
100 Contemporary Artists
10 Source Artists
London: Phaidon Press, 2007

The fourth issue of a global art survey that has been published regularly since 1998. Ten internationally recognized art curators chose one hundred of the most significant emerging contemporary artists. The featured Russian artists are Victor Alimpiev, Sergei Bugaev Afrika, Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov, Irina Korina, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Kerim Ragimov, and Yevgeniy Yufit.

Dr. Olesya Turkina

Art historian, critic, curator (international projects include the Russian Pavilion at the 48th Venice Biennale), correspondent for Flash Art International, Kabinet (St. Petersburg), and Moscow Art Magazine (Moscow)

Translation by Olga Serebryanaya

Copy editor: Thomas Campbell

Design by Nikita Shlapatsky

This Newsletter is published by Nic Iljine, European Representative of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

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