Hans Ulrich Obrist
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is celebrating the completion of its Rem Koolhaas-designed Garage new building. It will be housed in a stunning renovation of the famous 1960s Vremena Goda.
Opening June 12, 2015, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art is celebrating the completion of its Rem Koolhaas-designed Garage new building. It will be housed in a stunning renovation of the famous 1960s Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) restaurant, a prefabricated concrete structure that has lain derelict for more than two decades in Moscow’s Gorky Park. The transformation of the building has been entrusted to OMA (Office for Metropolitan Architecture), a leading international architectural firm practicing architecture, urbanism, and cultural analysis. Garage is celebrating the building's completion with eight exhibitions.
Katharina Grosse: yes no why later
June 1–August 9, 2015
curated by Snejana Krasteva
For her first exhibition in Russia, German-born artist Katharina Grosse has created one of the largest site-specific installations ever seen in Moscow. Challenging perceptions of what painting is, the installation yes no why later metamorphoses the 800 square-meter exhibition hall into a spectacular, immersive environment. As the final project for Garage Pavilion, the work has been created specifically for the space and its context, using materials that make the connection between Gorky Park and the architecture of the temporary building, which was designed by Shigeru Ban. The result is a haunting, unearthly, “living picture” that visitors can move through, composed of soil and trees sculpted into surprising formations and contaminated by vivid, raw color.
Since the late 1990s, Grosse has been widely recognized for her painting interventions across incongruent surfaces in open air spaces, office buildings, and train stations, as well as facades and interiors of galleries, museum halls, collectors’ homes, and even her own bedroom. Untethering painting both from the limitations of a canvas support and the restriction of the brush, the artist uses a spray-paint gun to reach places that are beyond the body’s reach, creating complex systems of raw colors and objects as visual traces of where her disembodied gestures took place.
Often, the scale of the installation means that the viewer can only comprehend the whole by moving through the space, experiencing a flow of interconnected fragments. Bordering on aesthetic vandalism, each work simultaneously produces a multitude of perspectives, as well as a complete breakdown of definitions. Similarly, architecture and object neither merge nor remain independent, but acquire new, hybrid forms. At times, these elements migrate from project to project, or are saved from one installation to be repurposed in another. As such, when these “drifting” surfaces become visually evident through their faint distinction from the whole, the installations accrue another dimension, suggesting that a larger narrative is in play that has a past and future, which audiences can witness, or intuit, but perhaps never fully comprehend.
For Grosse, it is these oftentimes contradictory, absorbing experiences that create the “picture.” Its elements may not be wholly visible, of the present moment, nor bound to a particular place, but they are united through their employment in the artist’s painting technique, which accrues a very special temporal quality, both in its realization and in the viewer’s comprehension: “I think that non-materialized existence of thought is underestimated,” says the artist. “We have a lot of possibilities in the invisible. Therefore, we need art. Desperately.”
Katharina Grosse was born in 1961 in Freiburg, Germany and lives and works in Berlin. Recent exhibitions include: Inside the Speaker, Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, Germany (2014); Wizz Eyelashes, Magasin 3, Stockholm Konsthall, Sweden (2014); Two Younger Women Come in and Pull out a Table, De Pont Foundation for Contemporary Art, Tilburg, Netherlands (2013); and Third Man Begins Digging Through Her Pockets, MOCA Cleveland Ohio, USA (2012). Grosse has been selected for the exhibition All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015). She has been a professor at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf since 2010.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Theory
untill August 9, 2015
curated by: by Yulia Aksenova
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first solo exhibition of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in Moscow. Plunging the spectator into a series of extraordinary, immersive environments, the exhibition will offer Garage visitors a unique sensory and psychological experience that will extend from the West Gallery into the Auditorium and out into Gorky Park.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Theory features two of the artist’s groundbreaking installations: Infinity Mirrored Room–The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away (2013), consists of a room with mirrored walls filled with thousands of small lights, which appear as pulsating dots. These are infinitely reflected in the mirrors to create an illusory cosmos, which is experienced by a lone viewer, enabling each visitor to momentarily get lost in Kusama’s mesmerizing world. Conversely, the installation Guidepost to the Eternal Space (2015) invites audiences to gather amidst an environment in which white polka dots on a red background cover walls and structures, forming an outlandish landscape, confusing viewers’ perception and spatial orientation.
Complimenting the installations, Walking Piece (1966), which is one of Kusama’s earliest works, is a slide film, which shows the artist walking the streets of New York in a traditional Japanese kimono with a parasol. In Garage Auditorium, a film of the performance Kusama’s Self-Obliteration (1967) will be presented weekly. One of Kusama’s best known works, it shows how the artist covers the objects, animals, and people around her with endless colored dots. Beyond the Museum, an urge to extend her artistic gesture into the world outside the gallery is what inspired Ascension of Polkadots on the Trees, a project that Kusama has taken to various public spaces around the world. In Gorky Park, trees in avenue will be wrapped in red cloth decorated with white polka dots.
Kusama’s obsession with creating works using colored dots have their roots in the artist’s psyche, wherein hallucinations have haunted her since her childhood. In her memoirs, she recalls sometimes seeing the pattern in paintings spilling over the edges of the canvas to envelop her and everything around her, dissolving her inner self in the outside world. Later, she would use this perceptual experience, which shifts boundaries between fact and illusion, the real and the imaginary, to create works in a variety of media, from drawing, painting, and installation to sculpture, video, and performance.
Yayoi Kusama was born in 1929 in Matsumoto, Japan and lives and works in Tokyo. Her work gained widespread recognition in the late 1980s after a number of international solo exhibitions. She represented Japan in 1993 at the 45th Venice Biennale to much critical acclaim. A large-scale and well-received retrospective traveled from 2011 to 2012 to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Kusama's work is currently the subject of two major international museum exhibitions. Yayoi Kusama: A Dream I Dreamed is a solo exhibition of over 100 recent works traveling through Asia, which was first displayed at the Daegu Art Museum in Korea, followed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Shanghai and the Seoul Arts Center. Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Obsession tours Central and South America throughout 2015.
Rirkrit Tiravanija: Tomorrow is the Question
until August 23, 2015
curated by: Kate Fowle and Ekaterina Inozemtseva in collaboration with Hans Ulrich Obrist
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art presents the first large-scale exhibition of Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961, Buenos Aires, Argentina) in Russia. Developed after spending time in Moscow while also expanding on his personal ongoing interests, Tiravanija has created a series of interconnected participatory projects that form a dialog with the history of the Soviet Modernist building Garage inhabits, as well as with popular activities that the artist experienced and envisaged in the city, such as ping pong, producing self-styled t-shirts, and eating pelmeni (the quotidian Russian dumpling). Adding another perspective to the exhibition, the artist has also paid homage to little-known Czechoslovakian conceptualist Július Koller, (1939-2007) who is both an inspiration and creative source for Tiravanija, particularly in his choice of the exhibition title: Tomorrow is the Question.
Occupying the Central Gallery and Skylight Gallery of the Museum, the exhibition both recalls and updates the original functions of the building as a social hub of the city, as well as highlighting the unique approach architect Rem Koolhaas took in envisaging a permanent home for Garage. Initially designed as a prototype for a 1200-seat restaurant that could be constructed in parks across the country, Vremena Goda (Seasons of the Year) opened in Gorky Park in 1968. The building quickly became a fashionable destination for Muscovites, and eventually the first “beat club” in the city, which emerged from a stage installed in the cocktail bar of the restaurant, providing an outlet for the underground music scene. Forty years later, and decades after Vremena Goda was left derelict, Koolhaas and his OMA studio undertook a groundbreaking preservation project by making very little visible intervention into the original concrete structure, as well as preserving of a number of Soviet-era elements to avoid what the architect calls “the exaggeration of standards and scale” that he considers as ubiquitous in new art spaces around the world. For Tiravanija, this unique approach to renovation and recalling local histories formed the starting point for exploring what the current and future iterations of culture and sociality could be in a contemporary museum.
Covering the floor in a deep plush, purple carpet, Tiravanija will transform the space into a surreal place for leisurely passing time, filling it with custom-black ping pong tables that are flanked by two “stations” reminiscent of Soviet-style bus stop architecture. These will house the equipment for serving guests pelmeni throughout the run of the exhibition, as well as a t-shirt factory, where visitors can choose to have one of a number of slogans devised by the artist screen-printed onto a t-shirt that they can take away. Working in collaboration with the Moscow Ping Pong Club, Tiravanija has also opened up the exhibition as the location for a major, citywide ping pong tournament, which will run through the Summer, as well as welcoming visitors to play in casual games each day.
In a conceptual game of “ping pong” with Czechoslovakian artist Július Koller, whose work is presented in Moscow for the first time, Tiravanija has selected pieces from the Július Koller Archive that both extend and accentuate the paradoxical relationships between art and life that the two artists share. Central to the “exhibition in an exhibition” are the presentation of a number of works that refer to Koller’s interest in table tennis, including the Ping-Pong Society that the artist founded for a month in 1970 in Bratislava, as well as Ping-Pong Monument (U.F.O.) (1971) which is a collage showing a gigantic table tennis bat lifted heroically towards the sky in front of a housing estate. Transforming Koller’s dry humor and “anti-happening” manifesto, into his own call to action, Tiravanija has also restaged one of Koller’s seminal works Universal Futurological Question Mark (U.F.O.), from 1978, wherein the artist sat with children in a field to form a question mark, which was then photographed. Unlike happenings, Koller’s acts intentionally avoided creating situations filled with psychological expression, but rather sought concrete embodiments of abstract symbols that denoted his specific attitudes to the social reality he was experiencing. In Moscow, Tiravanija photographed locals from the gates of Gorky Park as they formed a question mark at the entrance. This image will be produced as a poster, which will be presented within the exhibition.
Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1961 and is currently based between New York, USA and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Recent exhibitions include: Just Smile and Don’t Talk retrospective at Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Germany (2010); A Retrospective (Tomorrow is Another Fine Day) at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; and the Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (2004). Tiravanija has been selected for the exhibition All the World’s Futures at the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015). Tiravanija is a lecturer in Visual Arts at Columbia University School of the Arts and one of the founders and curators of the Station Utopia project, a collaboration between artists, curators and art historians. He is also the president of The Land Foundation, an educational-ecological project located in Chiang Mai and part of a collective alternative space called VER located in Bangkok.
The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art
until August 9, 2015
curated by Sasha Obukhova
The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art is a long-term research initiative by Garage Archive Collection. It is intended as a framework though which to develop the yet-to-be-written history of Russian art from the mid 20th century on. The project consists of a series of closed-door roundtable discussions between specialists, an interactive installation and exhibition of documents, a program of public discussions and a screening program. Revealing the network of connections within the artistic community, the initiative pinpoints the key figures, events and phenomena of post-war art in Russia.
The branches of The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art consist of artists, poets, philosophers, musicians, art groups, seminal exhibitions and important exhibition spaces, each surrounded with a host of professional and personal connections. The Family Tree finds its roots in the nonconformist art of the 1960s, nurtured by the soil of the Russian avant-garde of the 1910s-1920s. The key figures and events of the era—from Ilya Kabakov and the Lianozovo Group to Anatoly Osmolovsky and Collective Actions; from the Bulldozer Exhibition to the street performances of the 1990s—will appear in a new coordinate system, where the importance of each element will be determined by the degree of its involvement in the artistic life of the time, All connections in the Family Tree are explained and commented on, and supported with evidence and documentation, particularly through an analysis of sources from Garage Archive—such as films, newspapers, memoirs, and interviews—that give evidence of the influences and collaborations, friendship and family ties, teacher-pupil relations, and shared projects that unite the participants of this history.
The Family Tree of Russian Contemporary Art has been conceived as collaborative endeavor, with sociologists and art historians complementing or questioning each other’s approaches to tracing the history of Russian art. Over the last six months, a team of researchers has started developing the tree model, adding details and checking connections, expanding its roots, trunk, and branches, with a view to expanding the research throughout the exhibition, gaining feedback from Garage audiences, as well as artists and specialists who view the show.
For the opening of the new Garage building, the initial presentation of the Family Tree project will exhibit many artefacts from Garage Archive Collection for the first time, including unique documents and pieces from the archive of famous Russian collector Leonid Talochkin, who founded his collection in the 1960s.
Garage Archive Collection is central to the activities of the museum. It is the hub through which the institution is developing and sharing knowledge of Russian art as well as a platform for international research projects, including conferences, exhibitions, seminars and publications. The Collection consists of an extensive holding of documentary materials relating to contemporary art in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other cities within Russia. As the first public resource of its kind in the country, the Collection records artists’ practices from the mid-1960s through to the present. It includes articles published by local and foreign media from the late 1970s to the present day; a stills library consisting of exhibition documentation, portraits of artists, and reproductions of their works from 1960-2010; video documentaries related to performances and exhibitions in Moscow from 1944; and a corpus of texts written by artists from the 1960s through 1990s, as well as unpublished critical articles, artists’ biographies, press releases, catalogues, and other materials from exhibitions (1985–2013).
George Kiesewalter. Insider
until August 23, 2015
curated by Sasha Obukhova
One of the key contributors to the Moscow underground art scene of the 1970s and 1980s, George Kiesewalter is known as a member of Collective Actions group and the Avantgardists’ Club, and for exhibiting his works at the legendary APTART gallery. What is less-known is that he also was a prolific photographer of the scene in which he participated. Insider is the first exhibition to feature the artist’s documentary archive photographs, which are now part of Garage Archive Collection.
Offering rare glimpses into an otherwise closed community, Kiesewalter’s photographs capture the energy of the Moscow underground in the 1970s and 1980s. His archive includes documentation of Collective Actions’ happenings, apartment exhibitions, portraits of fellow nonconformist artists and interiors of their studios, as well as scenes from their everyday life. “In the mid-1970s I was simply taking pictures of the people and events I liked on my basic Smena-7 camera that I always carried in my bag,” Kiesewalter recalls. “I would photograph everything that happened in my circle, emphatically dissolving into whoever or whatever I was shooting and the whirlpool of happenings, travel, and meetings. I was shooting my buddies, my equals, ‘from the inside’.”
George Kiesewalter was born in Moscow in 1955 and graduated from the Moscow State V. I. Lenin Pedagogical Institute in 1977. He was one of the co-founders and members of Collective Actions group (1976-1989) and exhibited his works at APTART gallery in Moscow (1982-1984). In 1981-1985 he also took part in the preparation of files for the Moscow Archive of New Art. Kiesewalter was the editor of Those Strange Seventies or Loss of Innocence (Moscow: NLO, 2010) and Tipping the Eighties in the Unofficial Art of the USSR (Moscow: NLO, 2014).
The Sixties: Points of Intersection
until August 23, 2015
Garage Teens Team is an annual program for high school pupils and first-year university students, launched by Garage in 2013. Each year the group prepares a project based on a course combining the theory and practice of contemporary art and museums, taught by art historian and lecturer Olga Kholmogorova.
For the opening of the new museum, the Teens Team was asked to comment on the time when Vremena Goda—the restaurant that originally occupied the building—was a fashionable destination, which was the era of their grandparents’ youth. The result is a display in Garage Resource Room, wherein five “typical” 1960s characters are created from a medley of portraits from the time, based on literature, cinema, and art, as well as written histories, photo archives, and interviews with witnesses of the era (including artists Vladimir Nemukhin and Yuri Rost). Assembled as photo cut-outs complete with text, sound, and video, the figures will take visitors back to the early years of Vremena Goda. At weekends Garage Teens Team will develop the characters’ stories through interactive tours.
Field Research: A Progress Report
until August 23, 2015
Established in 2013, Garage Field Research is the first cross-disciplinary platform in a contemporary art museum in Russia. Generated by the interests of artists, curators, and writers working around the world, the program gives a new perspective on overlooked or little-known events, philosophies, places, or people relating to Russian culture. Each research project lasts 1-3 years and has no predetermined outcome, but there are regular public presentations charting the progress of each initiative from the point of view of the participating artists and curators, as well as seminars with specialists to provide a broader context for each initiative.
SAVING BRUCE LEE: AFRICAN AND ARAB CINEMA IN THE ERA OF SOVIET CULTURAL DIPLOMACY (A PROLOGUE)
Curated by Koyo Kouoh and Rasha Salti in collaboration with Alexander Markov and Phillippe Rekacewicz
Filmmakers include: Abderrahmane Sissako (Mauritania/Mali), Salim Cissé (Mali), Abdoulaye Ascofaré (Mali), Daouda Keita (Guinea), Khalifa Condé (Guinea), Jean-Baptiste Elanga (Congo Republic), Ousmane Sembène (Senegal), Sarah Maldoror (Guadeloupe), Salim Mohammad Ibrahim al-Noor (Sudan), Azzedine Meddour (Algeria), Mohammad Malas (Syria), Oussama Mohammed (Syria), Mohammad Abouelouakar (Morocco), Nasir al-Tayyeb al-Mak (Sudan), Hassen Bouabdellah (Algeria), Rabah Bouberras (Algeria), and writer Sonallah Ibrahim (Egypt).
Saving Bruce Lee (A Prologue) is an introductory presentation of a three-year project focused on retracing the destinies of African and Arab filmmakers who studied in Soviet Russia. By making public the research-in-progress, visitors can get to know the seventeen “protagonists” and their journeys to Moscow, the key context for which was Soviet cultural diplomacy in the African and Arab worlds respectively. The research is the first of its kind to trace the influence of Soviet cinema on the work of these acclaimed filmmakers.
Developed by curators Koyo Kouoh and Rasha Salti, the research spans three generations of filmmakers who studied in the USSR at the Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography (VGIK) from the 1960s to the late 1980s. By bringing to light their little-known stories in Moscow and in other regions of the former Soviet Union, as well as influences that contributed to the aesthetic and ideological language of their films, the project represents a major breakthrough in the understanding of African and Arab film studies and history. Saving Bruce Lee is an attempt to re-write the cinematic canons and explore the place these ‘third world’ VGIK graduates occupy within it by acknowledging and researching Soviet stylistic influences in their work.
For this “prologue” exhibition, the curators are collaborating with geographer and cartographer Philippe Rekacewicz to create special maps charting the economic and political relations of the USSR with Africa and the Arab world during the Cold War. Filmmaker, Alexander Markov is also collaborating, contributing a critical deconstruction of the USSR’s ideological quest in Africa through montages of forgotten archival documentary film to explore how official representations were constructed within the realm of international socialist friendship.
A seminar will take place on July 30, 2015. Participants will include Koyo Kouoh, Rasha Salti, Catarina Simão, Filipa César and Philippe Rekacewicz. During this one-day event, curators and artists will reflect on and interrogate the academic canon of film studies. Of particular interest is the issue of how to reconcile the dissonance between oral history, personal memories and institutional archives. Artists and researchers Filipa César and Catarina Simão will reflect on their remarkable initiatives to resurrect the film archives of Guinea Bissau and Mozambique respectively. And lastly, geographer and cartographer Philippe Rekacewicz will talk about his practice.
Within the frames of the project on July 30 Garage will host a seminar, Research as Suture.
Thanks go to Naum Kleiman; the Eisenstein Library, Moscow and especially to Ekaterina Hohlova; Gerasimov Institute of Cinematography, Moscow and especially Tatjana Krivolutskaya, Tatjana Tursunova, Elena Russinova, Oleg Shukher and Anatoly Shakhov for their assistance in the research; Jean-Michel Frodon; Bernard Eisenchitz; Philippe Lacôte; Abdoulaye Ascofaré; Ossama Mohammed; and Abderrahmane Sissako.
TARYN SIMON: BLACK SQUARE XVII
Taryn Simon collaborated with Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) to prepare a work of art made from nuclear material. In the year 3015, approximately one thousand years after its creation, a black square made from vitrified nuclear waste will be permanently displayed at Garage in a custom designed void that has been integrated into the new museum building.
The process of vitrification took place on May 21, 2015. This converted the radioactive waste from a volatile liquid to a stable solid mass resembling polished black glass. It is considered to be one of the safest and most effective methods for the long-term storage and neutralization of radioactive waste. Simon’s Black Square XVII is currently being stored in a concrete reinforced steel container, within a holding chamber surrounded by clay-rich soil, at the Radon nuclear waste disposal plant in Sergiev Posad, located 72 km northeast of Moscow. It will reside at the Radon facility until its radioactive properties have diminished to levels deemed safe for human exposure and exhibition.
Black Square XVII is composed of medium-level, long-term nuclear waste containing organic liquids, inorganic liquids, slurries, and chemical dusts from a nuclear plant in Kursk, as well as pharmaceutical and chemical plants in the greater Moscow region. Cast within the mass is a two-ply cylindrical steel capsule holding a letter to the future written by Taryn Simon.
Central to the artist’s concept for this project is the agreement that Garage Museum of Contemporary Art will be the repository for the artwork when it is completed, raising questions of permanence, preservation, visibility, and ownership. In effect, this is Garage’s first permanent work of art, although for centuries to come the only evidence of its existence will be the site that awaits its installation, and the plaque that tells its story.
Black Square XVII was created during the centenary year of Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square. It continues Simon’s ongoing series of works entitled Black Square, which she initiated in 2006, focusing on the consequences of man’s inventions. To create each Black Square, Simon collects objects, documents, and individuals within a black field that has precisely the same measurements as Kazimir Malevich’s 1915 Suprematist work of the same name.
Thanks go to ROSATOM State Atomic Energy Corporation, the Radon Plant in Sergiev Posad and the Radon engineering team.
ANTON VIDOKLE: THIS IS COSMOS
This is Cosmos is the first film in a planned trilogy inspired by the ideas of Russian cosmism, which is a unique phenomenon that emerged in the late 19th century, bringing together religious, philosophical, scientific and aesthetic theories united by a common idea of cosmos as a universal order.
Drawing widely on poems, philosophical texts, scientific writings, academic papers, and historical studies from followers of Cosmism, Anton Vidokle has focused on the writings of philosopher Nikolai Fyodorov, the founder of the movement. In creating his theories of the “Common Cause,” Fyodorov advocated for the development of scientific methods for the radical extension of life and the resurrection of the dead, believing that death was a mistake, “because the energy of cosmos is indestructible, because true religion is a cult of ancestors, because true social equality is immortality for all.”
This is Cosmos was filmed at locations in Moscow and Arkhangelsk regions, Altai, Kazakhstan and Crimea—regions and places that have played an important part in the history of the movement. As a non-linear history of ideas and practices related to cosmism, the film is an aesthetic exploration of the potential immanent in the utopian idea of a better world. In this way Vidokle recalls the tradition of the Russian avant-garde with their totality of thinking.
Underlining this connection, one section of A Progress Report is dedicated to works by artists of the Russian avant-garde: Kazimir Malevich and his pupils Nikolai Suetin, Ilya Chashnik, Konstantin Rozhdestvensky, Vladimir Sterligov, Ivan Kudriashov; Mikhail Matyushin’s followers Pavel Mansurov and the Ender siblings; as well as visionary architect Yakov Chernikhov. For them cosmos was no longer an abstract idea, but a very real foundation for a great experiment. They all believed in the universal power of their art and imagined a new world, challenging the laws of physics. In the context of cosmism, their utopian projects become a constructive force leading humanity toward new opportunities.
Anton Vidokle will continue filming his trilogy from June 2015.
FACE-TO-FACE: THE AMERICAN NATIONAL EXHIBITION IN MOSCOW, 1959/2015
Developed in collaboration with the Museum of American Art in Berlin (MoAA)
Working closely with the MoAA, Face-to-Face: The American National Exhibition in Moscow, 1959/2015 explores the uncharted reverberations this exhibition, held in Moscow, had on culture in Soviet Russia. Through the perspective of the socio-political situation today, the “resurrection” of this legendary show aims at highlighting how crucial such “face to face” encounters were not only for culture, but also potentially for altering the course of the Cold War.
Partial reconstructions of the elements in the original exhibition, including artworks and aspects of the design will be exhibited alongside rare primary materials and artifacts, historical reviews, films, recollections and comments from visitors and tour guides. Moscow-based Americanist, Dr Victoria Zhuravleva and historian Alexander Shubin have provided academic guidance in building the cultural, as well as geopolitical context to reassess the importance of this event today. Special focus is given to the pursuit of science and technology as a common aspiration for both the USSR and USA.
Predominantly known for the provocative “Kitchen Debate” that took place between US Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the American National Exhibition took place in Sokolniki Park in central Moscow. It showcased the USA’s achievements in the fields of technology, fashion, manufacturing, and culture. Officially the exhibition provoked rigorous criticism of the consumerist society that it represented, but received great public acclaim. For A Progress Report the intentions of the original exhibition have been explored to deconstruct and better understand the actual (yet fictionalized) historical context of the event, while simultaneously exploring the impact of how narratives are affected when revisiting events in the past from the perspective of the present.
Thanks go to Vladimir Meletin; Dan Slobin; The Kennan Institute, Woоdrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C.; History through the eyes of Krokodil. 20th century publishing house, Moscow; Polytechnic Museum, Moscow; Moscow Design Museum; The Masey Archives, New York and especially Beverly Payeff-Masey.
Erik Bulatov: Come to Garage!
until August 23, 2015
Pioneering Russian artist Erik Bulatov will inaugurate the series of Garage Atrium Commissions with two monumental paintings—installed on a nine and a half meters high structure in the entrance of the Museum—inviting guests to venture inside and discover the possibilities of art. This is the first time such a large-scale artwork by Bulatov has been commissioned in Moscow.
True to his particular use of text and imagery in painting, the artist creates a heartfelt slogan reminiscent of the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky’s advertising posters from the 1920s. The enthusiastic phrase Come to Garage! is inscribed within the rays of a rising sun, creating a picture that stands out as a warm proposition to the audience. Visible from Gorky Park, where thousands of people stroll daily in the summer, these words reflect the artist’s strong belief in the power of art as an appeal to expand viewers’ horizons.
Since the beginning of his career in the 1960s, Bulatov has continued investigations rooted in painting, becoming testimony to the ongoing potential of this tradition within contemporary practices. Often associated with the school of Moscow Conceptualism, alongside artists such as Ilya Kabakov, Collective Actions, and Komar & Melamid, among others, Bulatov developed what can be described as “conceptual painting”. In his pictures, imagery and words are used to explore space and light. In turn, these spatial preoccupations describe social relations in the real world. By analyzing closely the pictorial elements, one can understand how Soviet reality was so accurately chronicled by the artist: “I realized I have a very important instrument in my hands – the possibility to express a social issue through a spatial one.”
Image: Yayoi Kusama
Alyona Solovyova firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening: Friday 12 June 2015, 11:00 - 22:00
Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
Adress: 9/32 Krymsky Val st., 119049, Moscow, Russia
Mon - Thu: 11:00 - 21:00
Fri - Sun: 11:00 - 22:00