Contemporaries of the Future. Jewish Artists in The Russian Avant-Garde, 1910s-1980s

  • cultural history
  • art

Works by 34 artists from Russian museums and private collections will be presented in three sections, corresponding to stages in the development of 20th-century Russian art: “First Russian Avant-Garde” (1910s-1930s), “Second Avant-Garde” (1956-1970s) and “Moscow Conceptualism and Sots Art” (1970s-1980s).

The exhibition begins with works by early 20th-century artists Marc Chagall, Nathan Altman, El (Lazar) Lissitzky, Robert Falk, Alexander Tyshler, Solomon Yudovin, Solomon Nikritin, Issachar Ber Ryback, and Joseph Chaikov. This generation directed its creative energy toward developing a Jewish style in response to denials of the existence of Jewish art. In association with the Russian avant-garde, they made a major contribution to the advancement of Russian artistic culture.

The second wave avant-garde appeared with the first international art exchanges after Stalin’s death. The so-called “second avant-garde” arose as an alternative to official Soviet art and attracted Jewish artists eager to grow and express themselves freely. Oscar Rabin, Vladimir Yakovlev, Michail Grobman, Vladimir Yankilevsky, Eduard Shteinberg, and other representatives of this group strove to visually analyze reality and destroy official art forms. Thanks to their breakthroughs, Russian art rejoined the international art world after a long absence.

Artists of the Moscow conceptualist circle, including Ilya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid, Irina Nakhova and Yuri Albert, set about analyzing and deconstructing Soviet realities and artistic norms, and in the process made an important Russian contribution to international contemporary art.

The exhibition brings together more than 140 artworks of various genres.
It also includes documentary and archival materials: photographs, catalogs and posters. The project will be accompanied by an educational program.

Exhibition curators: Joseph Bakstein, Maria Nasimova, Grigory Kazovsky