Exhibition: “Oleg Vassiliev: Metro Series & Selected Works on Paper from the Kolodzei Art Foundation”
Opening reception on Monday, January 23, 2017, 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
at the Harriman Institute Atrium (420 W 118th Street, 12th floor, New York)
The exhibition on view until March 10, 2017
Oleg Vassiliev was born in 1931 in Moscow; lived and worked in New York. He died in St. Paul, Minnesota in 2013. He has been the recipient of numerous artistic awards and grants, including from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (1994 and 2002). In 1999, he was the first recipient of the “Liberty Prize.” His work has been displayed in museum exhibitions across the globe. His prominent solo museum exhibitions include Oleg Vassiliev: Memory Speaks (Themes and Variations) at The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow in 2004 and The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg in 2005; The Art of Oleg Vassiliev, The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2011; Oleg Vassiliev: Space and Light at the Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick in 2014-2015.
Oleg Vassiliev is regarded as a key member of the Nonconformist Art movement; rather than confining himself to the discussion of contemporary political and societal issues, Vassiliev’s work explores concepts reaching beyond questions of social order. Among his immediate influences are the lyrical realist landscape paintings of Isaac Levitan and Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist art. As the Russian artist Erik Bulatov puts it, Vassiliev’s painting “connects such disparate lines of development in Russian art as nineteenth-century realist painting, landscape painting in particular, and the avant-garde of the 1910s and 1920s.” Though he immigrated to the United States in 1990, Russia and Russian art continued to play an important role in Vassiliev’s work. Rather than reject past artistic experiments, Vassiliev embraced them, combining traditional artistic concepts with nonconformist ideas and influences from early 20th Century abstract art. The past and present seem to collide in his work, and this work, too, appears timeless—at once belonging to the past and the present. Linked to this idea of timelessness, is the idea of transitional space. Throughout his works, Vassiliev emphasizes the importance of memory. Individual memories, often the starting points of his work, become universal explorations of memory and the act of remembering.
This exhibit is presented by the Kolodzei Art Foundation, a public foundation (est. 1991) that organizes exhibitions and cultural exchanges in museums and cultural centers in the United States, Russia and other countries, often utilizing the considerable resources of the Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art, publishes books on Russian art, and provides art supplies to Russian artists. The Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art is one of the largest private art collections, and consists of over 7,000 works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs and videos, by more than 300 artists from Russia and the former Soviet Union. For additional information visit www.KolodzeiArt.org or email Natalia Kolodzei
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Exhibition: A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1970s-1980s
Mar 04, 2017 - Jul 31, 2017
Zimmerli Art Museum
Dodge Gallery (Lower Level)
New Brunswick, NJ
A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1960s-1980s is the first exhibition at the Zimmerli Art Museum to explore the wide range of meanings that the natural world held for unofficial artists in the Soviet Union. Drawn from the strengths of the Dodge Collection, the exhibition brings together works produced in the period between thaw and perestroika that challenged the link between nature, optimism, and progress, which socialist realist aesthetics had promoted. Approximately fifty objects across media are featured, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and performance, by more than twenty-five artists and artist groups from the Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine. Despite the artists’ diverse backgrounds and creative approaches, together their works establish nature as a vibrant subject matter, push the boundaries of landscape as a genre, and limit the appropriation of landscape imagery in the name of socialist ideology. In turn, the status of nature in late socialism, and one’s individual or collective place within it, is explored as an open–and vital–question.
A Vibrant Field assembles varied perspectives, vantage points, and orientations that underlie how one experiences nature, both in the physical sense of navigating nature as a real environment and in the conceptual sense of coming to know, describe, represent, or assign it with symbolic value. The exhibition is mapped along three principle zones of inquiry. The first, Visions, draws together work that takes to task the process of visualizing spaces in nature in order to elucidate, reimagine, or critique how humans relate to or inhabit them. In this section, particular attention is paid to works that highlight ecological concerns resulting from the exploitation of natural resources and rapid pursuit of industrialization in the Soviet Union. In Reflections, artists place less emphasis on the material landscapes in nature than on how they become a picture and the role of artistic convention, memory, and ideology in mediating this process. Finally, Encounters considers the emergence of land art and performance-based practices in nature in the 1970s and 1980s that provided a freer alternative to urban communality, ritual, and public space in the Soviet Union. Through their direct encounters with the land, artists in this section approach nature not only as a subject matter or a backdrop to their work, but in some cases as an actor or co-producer.
Organized by Anna Rogulina, a Dodge-Lawrence Fellow at the Zimmerli and Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at Rutgers, and SHERA member
This exhibition is made possible by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund.