• Conference: Global networks in print (Cambridge, October 10, 2014)

    The McGrath Centre
    St. Catharine’s College, Cambridge
    October 10, 2014
    Registration deadline: October 8, 2014

    Tickets available here

    Global networks in print: Dutch/Russian exchange in the Petrine era

    This international conference is the result of an AHRC Networking grant, which has brought together academics and curators from Britain, Russia, and The Netherlands to consider Dutch-Russian exchange through print culture in the early eighteenth century. Scholars from The State Hermitage Museum, The State Russian Museum, The Russian Academy of Sciences and the Universities of Amsterdam and Cambridge will discuss the dynamism of Dutch publishing, precedents in Williamite imagery, and the emergence and nature of Europeanised prints in the genres of portraiture, city views and folk prints. This timely consideration of Russia’s historic relationship with Europe will be contextualised by Sir Anthony Brenton KCMG, British Ambassador to Russia from 2004 to 2008.


  • Exhibition and Panel Discussion: Suprematism, Unovis and Lazar Khidekel (Harriman Institute at Columbia University, New York; Exhibition on view September 10 - October 15, 2014)

    Harriman Institute at Columbia University
    420 West 118th Street, 12th Floor
    New York, NY 10027


    This reception and panel discussion will commemorate the 100 year anniversary of Suprematism, 95 - of UNOVIS (Affirmers of the New Art) and the 110th Anniversary of Lazar Khidekel (1904-1986), the Suprematist artist, visionary architect, pioneer of environmentalism and founding member of the UNOVIS group.

    The exhibition includes twenty four images in print form - paintings, drawings, period photographs, UNOVIS documents, and publications, including the legendary AERO, Khidekel’s handmade book from 1920, considered as one of the first ecological manifestos of the modern era. This rich set of material comes from the Khidekel Archive, one of the most comprehensive archives of the Russian avant-garde.

    Moderated by Dr. Regina Khidekel, the discussion will explore different aspects of Suprematism including the UNOVIS educational system, the Suprematist painting and its development in the works of the younger “UNOVIS” generation. Also to be examined Lazar Khidekel’s Suprematist painting, his role in the transition of Suprematism from a 2-dimensional art form to a movement which found its expression in real life - visible today in architecture, the processes of urbanization, and futuristic yet environmentally conscious city planning of the time.

    Speakers: Dr. Regina Khidekel, art critic, curator and president of the Lazar Khidekel Society, director of Russian - American Cultural Center in New York - York (RACC), author of numerous publications on the history of Russian avant-garde.
    Slide presentation about life and work of Lazar Khidekel.

    Dr. Masha Chlenova, “The Endpoint of Painting: UNOVIS and the Transformation of the Lived Experience”

    Anna Bokov, Ph.D. Candidate, Yale University, will talk about the pioneering educational systems at UNOVIS and Vkhutemas.

    Dr. Xenia Vytuleva, “Decoding Modernities”

    A documentary film Lazar Khidekel, Kanal Kultura, 2011, and animation Khidekel Element – Suprematism for Humanity from the ongoing The 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice, will also be shown.

  • Exhibition: JACK OF DIAMONDS (Courtauld Gallery, London; September 18, 2014 - January 18, 2015)

    Jack of Diamonds – Special display of Russian avant-garde art at The Courtauld Gallery

    This project is led by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre, founded by Cambridge University and The Courtauld Institute of Art, and marks the importance of the Jack of Diamonds group, founded in Moscow in 1910.

    This September a special display of eleven early twentieth-century Russian avant-garde paintings will be shown at The Courtauld Gallery, generously loaned from a private collection. This project is led by the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) and marks the importance of the Jack of Diamonds group, founded in Moscow in 1910. In Russia it became one of the most celebrated exhibition societies across the whole Russian avant-garde before 1914, but it remains less well known in the West. The display includes works by Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Aristarkh Lentulov, Vladimir Burliuk, Olga Rozanova, and Alexandra Exter, all of whom, both men and women, were equally active contributors to the Jack of Diamonds.

    In December 1910, at the first Jack of Diamonds exhibition, works by the French Cubists Albert Gleizes and Henri Le Fauconnier as well as paintings by Wassily Kandinsky, Marianne Werefkine and Alexei von Jawlensky were exhibited, alongside portraits and still lives by the younger members of the group, who were strongly influenced by the French and German artists.

    The combination of European innovation and Russian national traditions was a distinctive feature of the Jack of Diamonds group. These artists were united by their interest in folk art and shop signs. Even in the title of their first exhibition (and subsequently of the group), reflected their interest in the Russian popular prints, known as lubki. Playing cards and lubki were always similar. Larionov spoke of playing cards as a type of ‘people’s pictures’. The artist Kuprin remembered: “Once I was at Larionov and Goncharova’s house. We were sitting around the table, looking at the reproductions of French paintings. Larionov took a Jack of Diamonds playing card and said: ‘Why not call our exhibition and movement ‘Jack of Diamonds’?’” Whether this story is true or not, the combination of Russian art and Western-European influences made this group unique.

    Visitors to the Jack of Diamonds display will be able to see the works in the context of The Courtauld Gallery’s permanent displays of French paintings by Matisse and the Fauves, German Expressionist artists from Die Brücke, and Russian painters based in Munich, including Kandinsky, Aleksei Jawlensky (Yavlensky) and Werefkin (Verefkina).

    In 1913-1914 the Jack of Diamonds held two evening events at the Moscow Polytechnic Institute billed as Disputes. During the course of our exhibition we intend to debate the same subjects afresh to celebrate a centenary of the Jack of Diamonds debates.

    Postgraduate students from The Courtauld Institute of Art and the University of Cambridge have worked closely together on this project with curators John Milner and Natalia Murray.

    This project also marks the Galleries’ contribution to the UK-Russia Year of cultural exchange and collaboration. It is supported by the British Council and by Elena Sudakova of GRAD, the Gallery of Russian Art and Design, London. For more information, please see:

  • Exhibition: Yevgeniy Fiks, "A Gift to Birobidzhan" (21ST.PROJECTS, New York; September 11 - October 19, 2014)

    Exhibition: Yevgeniy Fiks,

    21ST.PROJECTS is pleased to announce a viewing of Yevgeniy Fiks’s A Gift to Birobidzhan from September 11 to October 19, 2014. For more information or to make an appointment to see the collection contact Yevgeniy Fiks at Viewing is by prior appointment only.

    In 2009, artist Yevgeniy Fiks originated a project called A Gift to Birobidzhan. Established in the Soviet Union in 1934 as the Autonomous Jewish Region of the USSR, Birobidzhan was for a time considered a rival to Israel. Although located in a remote area near China, Birobidzhan caught the world’s imagination. In 1936, two hundred works of art was collected in the United States by activists as the foundation for the Birobidzhan Art Museum. The collection included works by Stuart Davis, Adolf Dehn, Hugo Gellert, Harry Gottlieb, and William Gropper among others. The collection was first exhibited in New York and Boston, and in late 1936, it was shipped to the Soviet Union. The collection never reached its final destination in Birobidzhan. By late 1937, Stalin had purged the leadership from Birobidzhan at which time the collection vanished into government or private hands. Taking this microhistorical narrative as his starting point, Fiks invited 25 contemporary international artists to donate works of their choosing to the existing museum of Birobidzhan. After initially agreeing to exhibit and accept the works into its collection, the museum in Birobidzhan conditionally retracted the offer, in part to avoid confrontation with a conflicted past and the fact that Birobidzhan now consist of a small Jewish population. Granting Fiks the role of steward, the artists agreed to let Fiks store the collection until it could reach its intended destination.

    A Gift to Birobidzhan of 2009 was an attempt to repeat and complete — seventy years later — the gesture of “a gift to Birobidzhan” in 1936. As of 2014, it remains still a rejected gift and a “state-less collection,” packed in boxes in Fiks’ apartment in the Lower East Side. A Gift to Birobidzhan evokes the utopian promise of Birobidzhan — a Socialist alternative to a Jewish state — as a point of departure for discussions on broad 20th century’s impossible territorial politics, identity, national self-determination, and a common “seeking of happiness.” At present, we find that many of the same questions from the early 20th century have resurfaced again.

  • Exhibition: IMAGES OF THE UNIMAGINABLE: Art from the First World War (Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, October 3–December 28, 2014)

    To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I (1914–1918), the Mead presents Images of the Unimaginable, featuring artworks and documents from the Great War. The exhibition showcases the Mead’s collection of works by early twentieth-century Russian artists, including Natalia Goncharova’s print series Mystical Images of War, and Olga Rozanova’s linocuts War. American artists include Childe Hassam and Waldo Peirce, who sent postcards and letters from the front lines home to his friend George Bellows, whose prints are also on view in the show. Swiss painter and printmaker Félix Vallotton, who could not join the army because of his age, captured the war in his signature black-and-white woodcuts. Photographs by members of Amherst College’s ambulance corps, known as the “Black Cat Squadron,” and posters from the war complement the artists’ views in this centennial exhibition.


    The exhibition was curated by SHERA member Bettina Jungen, Senior Curator and Thomas P. Whitney ’37 Curator of Russian Art, Mead Art Museum

  • CFP: ‘Russian Orientalism through Art Production & Education’ Conference (University of Cambridge; November 8-9, 2014)

    Hosted by Cambridge Central Asia Forum & Centre for Development Studies, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT
    Conveners: Dr S.S. Saxena, Prajakti Kalra, Aliya de Tiesenhausen, Inessa

    From the beginning of the Tsarist Russian advance into the territory of present day Central Asia in the 1850s, Russian intellectuals and artists portrayed the Asian ‘other’ in particular ways. The representations by artists beginning from the latter half of the 19th century when the Khanates of Bukhara, Khiva and Kokand became part of the Russian Empire have persisted over time. The Turkestan Governor-General (1865-1920) and later, during its formative years, the Soviet government played a significant role in sustaining the orientalisation processes in Central Asian territories officially through the means of art instruction and institutions of art.

    This conference aims to look at the beginnings of Orientalising Central Asians in the 1850s and evolution of this sentiment and particularly its use in the colonial agenda of the Russian Empire and later transformation during the Soviet Union in the making of the five Central Asian states in the late 1920s and early 1930s. The images of the ‘Asian other’ have persisted not only in the region but have coloured the perception of modern day citizens of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan in a much broader context.

    In addressing the period of formation of Central Asian art production, this conference aims to broaden the parameters art and craft education in relation to economic and social processes in the region. We invite authors to present their views on the ways of seeing different forms of Central Asian art and art production outside of a limited framework or purely aesthetic history of fine arts.

    The conference will include keynote addresses and several interdisciplinary panels. We expect the publication of only selected papers (selected authors will be notified shortly after the conference). At this stage unfortunately we are unable to provide travel bursaries and participants are responsible for covering their own costs for travel and accommodation. Conference participants may apply for additional funding from their universities, international organisations or other sponsors. Cost for visa arrangements will also have to be covered by attendees, the organisers intend on providing invitation letters for visa purposes as soon as possible after the deadline for the submission for abstracts, however it is a responsibility of the attendee to arrange the visa on time.


    The deadline for submitting abstracts, no longer than 500 words, is the 1st of September 2014. Please submit abstracts to
    The authors of accepted papers will be notified by email by the 1st of October 2014. Those seeking visas need to clearly notify the organizers when submitting their papers so that the paperwork can be sorted immediately in order to help obtain a visa in time.


  • Exhibition: Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes (Kunsthalle Zürich; 30 August–9 November 2014)

    Slavs and Tatars: Mirrors for Princes

    After the presentation of their audio-piece Lektor from February to August in the future public library, Kunsthalle Zürich now opens an extensive solo exhibition of the artist group Slavs and Tatars. Focusing on the “area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China,” the artistic and discursive work of Slavs and Tatars engages transcultural as well as transdisciplinary questions of history, politics, religion, and language. Language and its conditions of translation, enactment, and resonance provided the starting point for Lektor’s inquiry into the medieval genre called Mirrors for Princes. This kind of epic advice literature for rulers also serves as the title for the exhibition. The works on show perform a particular translation of literary tropes as well as vernacular objects, such as religious furniture or cosmetic tools, into art works that create new semantic relations within the realm of art. They further the investigation of speech and sovereignty, initiated by Lektor’s selection of verses performed in different languages over the last few months (together with an intensive programme of screening-performances and talks), towards a broader spectrum of aesthetic experiences to contemplate and re-enact.

    You can download the press release for the Slavs and Tatars exhibition here.

  • Research opportunities: Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow, establishes library and archive open to researchers

    Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is pleased to announce the establishment of the first public library dedicated to contemporary art in Russia, opening in December 2014. Led by Head of Research Sasha Obukhova, the library constitutes the largest specialized public collection of books in Russia dedicated to art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection comprises over 15,000 items, including rare antiquarian editions, monographs by leading art scholars, catalogues of group exhibitions and museum collections, artists’ biographies, journals on contemporary art and architecture, and publications on the theory of culture. The library will be open to the public, and the archive will be available by appointment for specialists.

    Sasha Obukhova states, “I am pleased to announce that after two years of intensive work we open Russia’s first public library on the history of contemporary art. Students, artists, researchers, professionals, and amateurs can come anytime and take advantage of early, hard-to-reach information on the history of international and Russian contemporary art. The next step is to work on the archive materials’ digital conversion and the formation of an electronic base available for access all over the world.”

    In 2012 Garage acquired the comprehensive archive, which includes the documents, videos, and library from the Art Project Foundation. Library publications have been accumulated through strategically procured donations, gallery archives, and purchases from vintage booksellers. In addition, with the mission of creating an oral history of Russian contemporary art to underscore the archive, in June 2013 Garage began conducting interviews with artists across generations about their work and influences. Garage is gradually collecting and editing more material to be made available online by June 2015, and the entirety of Garage’s archive is being digitally converted with the goal of launching in 2017.

  • Exhibition: Russian Photography: Siberia Imagined and Reimagined (Museum of Russian Icons, Clinton, MA; September 13, 2014 - January 10, 2015)

    Siberia Imagined and Reimagined brings photographs of Siberia by Russian photographers to the American public for the first time. Countless images of Siberia by non-Russian photographers have been published and those depictions have shaped perceptions around the world. Siberia Imagined and Reimagined offers an insider’s view.

    The depth, range, and accomplishment of Siberian photography is impressive. Photographs span more than 130 years, beginning with the late 19th century and continuing to the present. They cover rural and urban scenes, landscapes, native peoples, agriculture and industry, Russian frontier settlements, the Gulag, religion, and the everyday lives of Siberians.


  • Exhibition: This Leads to Fire: Russian Art From Nonconformism to Global Capitalism, Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation Collection (Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY, September 14, 2014 – January 11, 2015)

    Exhibition: This Leads to Fire: Russian Art From Nonconformism to Global Capitalism, Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation Collection (Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, NY, September 14, 2014 – January 11, 2015)

    Neuberger Museum of Art
    735 Anderson Hill Road
    Purchase, New York
    Opening September 13

    (Purchase, New York)…. As world attention is riveted by current events in Ukraine, an upcoming exhibition of works by contemporary Russian artists at the Neuberger Museum of Art takes on a new urgency. In This Leads to Fire: Russian Art From Nonconformism to Global Capitalism, Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation Collection, on view at the Neuberger Museum of Art of Purchase College from September 14, 2014 to January 11, 2015, the challenges that Russian contemporary artists pose to both Russian and Western culture are vividly portrayed.

    This Leads to Fire: Russian Art From Nonconformism to Global Capitalism, Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation Collection features work from the 1950s through Glasnost until the present. Exhibition sheds light on challenges artists pose to mainstream Russian culture.

    “In the Soviet period, it was the pluralism of the international art world that sustained and inspired these artists, as well as their collective relationships of mutual support, both material and creative,” says curator of the exhibition Sarah Warren, assistant professor of art history at Purchase College, the State University of New York. “Today’s artists are still burdened by the legacy of Soviet Realism and face an increasingly repressive environment.” She adds that though many of the artists have exhibited extensively in the West, this exhibition will reveal the deeper context of the Kolodzeis’ collecting practices, consider the challenges the artists still face, and familiarize viewers with an important yet underappreciated body of work.

    This Leads to Fire: Russian Art From Nonconformism to Global Capitalism, Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation Collection is organized into five parts that explore the origins of Nonconformist art, the developments of Moscow Conceptualism and Sots Art, the influence of the Russian avant-garde in geometric abstraction, and the coercive legacy of Socialist Realism. It features about 100 works of art—from the 1950s through the period of Glasnost and into the present—from the Kolodzei Art Foundation, one of the most extensive collections of Nonconformist and contemporary Russian art in the world. Among the artists represented are: conceptual artists Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid; Oleg Vassiliev and Erik Bulatov, painters whose works slyly challenged Soviet realities; Nonconformist artists Ernst Neizvestny, Oscar Rabin, Vladimir Nemukhin, and Vladimir Yakovlev; and contemporary artists Tatiana Antoshina, Irene Caesar, Alla Esipovich, Anton S. Kandinsky, Alexandra Dementieva, and Valery Yershov.

    Founded in 1991 with the support of American sponsors, the Foundation comprises the joint collection of Tatiana Kolodzei, who organized exhibitions of works by Nonconformist artists in the former Soviet Union, and her daughter Natalia Kolodzei. Today, the collection contains approximately 7,000 paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, photography and video, by more than 300 artists, acquired during four decades of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist art, from the post-Stalinist era to the present.

    PROGRAMS & EVENTS Neu First Wednesdays, Wednesday, December 3 4:30 pm
    Artist Speak: Vitaly Komar
    Vitaly Komar has spent much of his career reacting to what he has called “the overproduction of ideology and its propaganda,” most notably Soviet Socialist Realism. From 1967 to 2003, Komar and Alexander Melamid organized various conceptual projects, ranging from painting and performance to installation, public sculpture, photography, music, and poetry, which form a powerful response to contemporary political and social climates. Komar and Melamid’s work is included in the exhibition This Leads to Fire.

    Collecting Art in Russia, Tuesday, November 18, 11 am
    Natalia Kolodzei has, with her mother, Tatiana, amassed one of the most extensive collections of Nonconformist and contemporary Russian art in the world. Join Natalia in a conversation about the history of collecting art in Russia.