August 30, 2007

The second wave of the Soviet avant-garde

"Nonconformists on Red Square" The Historical Museum, Moscow. Through Sept. 17

Tatyana Gershkovich reports in the Moscow Times: "'We didn't drink, we didn't smoke, we weren't bohemians, and we didn't want to engage in ideological debates,' says Vladislav Zubarev, an artist and a prominent member of the second wave of the Soviet avant-garde. He wants to divorce the idea of 'unofficial art' from its connotation of dissidence. 'We avoided all confrontations with the state,' he said. 'We just came together to make art, to think about what is essential and spiritual, and to escape the banal materialistic preoccupations of that time.' Zubarev is one of the 21 artists featured in the exhibition 'Nonconformists on Red Square,' which opened Aug. 14 at the Historical Museum. The diversity of the works on display demonstrates the impressive range of style, motif and technique that is grouped under the label of 'unofficial' or 'nonconformist' art....While patronage of their art endows contemporary artists with greater exposure and resources, some critics argue that acceptance signals the death of the avant-garde. Zubarev bristles at the question of whether the avant-garde can exist without an ideological opponent: 'We are the spiritual avant-garde, and politics has nothing to do with it.' "Read more.