• 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.

  • Member News: Steve Yates

    Member News: Steve Yates

    Steve Yates continues global research in collections, libraries and archives with lectures and writing on early modern photographic history with the Latvijas Nacionālais mākslas muzejs, the National Museum of Art in Latvia, which recently opened its major retrospective Gustav Klucis. Anatomy of an Experiment from its collection August 22 - October 22, 2014. His essay “Gustavs Klucis and the Avant-Garde: Proto Modernism to Photographic Ideas for the 21st Century” is included in the NMA’s upcoming reference publication with catalog raisonné on the early modernist. The Museum hosts the accompanying international symposium October 7-9. Yates’ lecture “Modern Photomontage in the Age of Proto Modern Photography” with ongoing research will be presented with scholars and curators globally. Papers to be published by the NMA in 2015. Research conducted with the Director and Curator of The George Costakis Collection of Russian Avant-Garde Art and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, Greece is included.

    Yates is conducting lectures with unpublished early modern research and masterclass “Intersections: Proto Modern Histories into the New Century” for the Lithuanian Photographers Association in Kaunas from September 24 to October 22, 2014. He also is mounting a site-specific installation of large color, digital photographic works at the new Meno Parkas Galerija, which opens October 19-November 14 in collaboration with the gallery and Contemporary Arts Festival.

  • Conference: East West Central 02: Re-scaling the environment. New landscapes of design, 1960–80 (ETH Zurich, Switzerland; November 28-29, 2014)

    Further information:

    The conference will trace transnational phenomena within design, architecture and planning that sought to give shape to the age of large-scale systems of living, leisure and supply in Eastern and Western Europe.

    The years between 1960 and 1980 were a period of a hitherto unknown scale of building production both in East and West Europe. The rhetoric of “great numbers” (Jakob Bakema), “no-stop city” (Archizoom) or “megastructure” reveal the advent of new dimensions in architectural thinking. The shift from objects to processes, systems and networks went hand in hand with rapid modernization and gave rise of technocratic concepts and utopian ideals. Economic recession and social upheavals fueled a crisis-consciousness from 1968 on, leading to a widespread criticism of modernization and modern architecture which can be seen as a counter-current to the temptations on bigness.

    After “Re-humanizing Architecture. New Forms of Community, 1950-1970” our second East West Central symposium focuses on the expansion of the territory of architecture between 1960 and 1980. The aim of this symposium is to analyze how architects in East and West reacted to such contradicting pressures, questioning the disciplinary confines of architecture as well as basic tenets of modernism.

    The presentations of the conference will trace the development of novel approaches and strategies for a systemic and comprehensive design of the built environment and for architectural and territorial planning since the 1960s. Transdisciplinary encounters with new subjects such as cybernetics but also with established disciplines such as economic planning and sociology had a profound influence on architecture and urbanism. New ideas of scale, efficiency and centrality were fostered by new means of traffic, programming and production in all parts of Europe. We ask to what extent these innovations and shifts in both scale and method within the practices of architecture and urbanism were symptoms of convergence and/or outcomes of the competition between different economic and political systems. The conference will examine strategies behind the material, conceptual and design-oriented changes that have fundamentally transformed the European landscapes across the East-West dichotomy. It also seeks to trace exchanges and knowledge transfer between agents across the political divide through international professional networks.

    Conference participation is open to everyone. As the number of seats is limited timely reservation is requested before November 19 2014.


    Conference organizer is the Chair for the Theory of Architecture (Prof. Ákos Moravánszky). Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture gta, ETH Zurich


  • Exhibition and conference: A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia (GRAD Gallery and the Courtauld Institute, London, September 27 - November 30, 2014)


    A Game in Hell. The Great War in Russia examines the artistic and historical significance of the First World War in Russia. So rapidly was the First World War succeeded by the 1917 Revolution and the Russian Civil War that there was little time to process its impact during the changing regimes that followed. In collaboration with the Russian State Library and an important private collection, GRAD bring together a rich variety of contemporaneous materials, many of which are on display for the first time in a public context, to examine public, personal and artistic responses to the war. Exhibits include Natalia Goncharova’s woodcut portfolio ‘Mystical Images of War’ and handmade Futurist books, as well as propaganda lubki by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Kazimir Malevich and photographs of the conflict.


    A full-day conference will be held on September 27 to coincide with the opening of the exhibition. Curated by two of today’s most prominent Russian scholars, Prof John Bowlt and Dr Nicoletta Misler, the exhibition examines the artistic and historical significance of the First World War in Russia. The conference will address this long-neglected subject. So rapidly was the First World War succeeded by the 1917 Revolution and the Russian Civil War that there was little time to process its impact during the changing regimes that followed. This year’s centennial commemoration provides the opportunity to examine this period from new perspectives. Tickets to the conference can be purchased on-line here.

  • Member News: Академия архитектуры - a complete run available for purchase from PRODUCTIVE ARTS

    Member News: Академия архитектуры - a complete run available for purchase from PRODUCTIVE ARTS

    The All-Russian Academy of Architecture was founded in October, 1933 and was intended to be the highest ranking academic, scientific and research institute for the most accomplished Soviet architects.

    The journal Академия архитектуры was published in 15 issues from 1934 to 1937 in Moscow by the All-Union Academy of Architecture. One double issue was published in 1934; bi-monthly issues in 1935-36; and three issues in 1937.

    If you have interest in this journal, contact PRODUCTIVE ARTS:

  • Exhibition: El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios (Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, May 15, 2014 - October 5, 2014)

    Exhibition: El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios (Timken Museum of Art, San Diego, May 15, 2014 - October 5, 2014)

    El Lissitzky: Futurist Portfolios features two groundbreaking masterworks of modern design.

    Created in 1923, the two print portfolios by celebrated Russian artist El Lissitzky are among the greatest achievements in graphic art from the 20th century. In his prints, made during a vibrant cultural renaissance in the arts following the Bolshevik revolution, Lissitzky developed an abstract, geometric language aligned with the utopian ideals of Soviet Communism.

    Lissitzky coined the word Proun to signify his creative work. While Proun is graphically manifested in the prints, its most notable architectural form was a “Proun Room,” which the artist created in 1923 for an exhibition in Berlin. Today, almost a century later, contemporary artist Hideyo Okamura has designed a “Proun Room” at the Timken for visitors to engage with Lissitzky’s gravity-defying geometric shapes and linear vectors. Okamura’s room for the prints creates an all-enveloping art experience.

    The Timken’s world-renowned collection of Russian icons, the official art of the Imperial regime, complements this display of Lissitzky’s avant-garde prints which were suppressed by the Soviet authorities in the 1930s.

    This exhibition has been organized by The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC. The presentation at the Timken has been made possible by Fenner Milton.