Ilya Kabakov’s essays allow for a close look at the artist’s nonconformist path as an artist in the USSR and the USA.
The political and cultural lethargy of the late Soviet Union gave rise to the Moscow Conceptualists, whose work today offers unexpected insights for our tempestuous times.
If someone were to tell me that I’d have to walk for an hour and a half down a number of unknown streets in the southern part of central Moscow to get from the main building of the State Tretyakov Gallery at 10 Lavrushinsky Lane to its 20th-century counterpart at 10 Krymsky Val, I’d still do it again in a heartbeat. That’s because the Tretyakov Gallery at 10 Krymsky Val houses what is arguably the best collection of 20th-century Russian art I have ever seen.
JFK Airport, Queens, NY — On my way to Cape Town, South Africa I got bumped off my flight but upgraded to business on a flight four hours later. Free drinks and dinner in British Airways business class lounge and to catch up on some work poses no problems. Walking in to a new space I regularly take note of the art hanging on wall. At first glance the “toned down” works amongst the decor of the lounge appeared to be a traditional “hotel” selection and I was about to let it be when, on closer inspection, I realized I was surrounded by a collection of (admittedly toned down) work by some of the world’s leading artists.