#4 2005 (09)
RUSSIA’S GOLDEN MAP
The Nizhny Novgorod Arts Museum traditionally participates in exhibitions of both classical and contemporary art at the Tretyakov Gallery. However, the real gems of the museum’s Russian art collection will soon be presented there in the framework of the special Volga Project, a part of the programme "Russia's Golden Map".
150th ANNIVERSARY OF TRETYAKOV GALLERY
4 December 1898 was a sad day for the whole of Russia, not least for its cultural and intellectual circles: Pavel Tretyakov died at ten o'clock that morning. Reactions to the news brought grief not only from his family, but also from many Russian people. An endless flow of condolences, flowers and wreaths arrived at the Tretyakov house. When the funeral was over, the time came for the reading of the will of the deceased. But it turned out that brought up unexpected complications, as Yevdokia Konstantinovna Dmitrieva, Pavel Tretyakov's niece, recalled: "First, it took a long time to find the will! And when it was found at last, stuck under one of the drawers in the writing desk, and handed over to a most respected Moscow solicitor, Mikhail Petrovich Minin, he, almost at once, found a major mistake in its text ... It made it not only impossible for the Moscow district court to legalize the document, but practically declared it invalid. The family were shocked!”
On 19 September 2005 the Musee d’Orsay In Paris saw a long queue at its doors; with or without invitations, all those waiting were eager to attend the private view of an exhibition of Russian art, one both long-awaited - it was four years in its planning - and widely featured in the French press. The general public referred to it as the Saison Russe, and the project was grand indeed, comprising as it did more than 500 pieces that included, beside painting, sculpture, graphics and works from the fields of the decorative arts, architecture and photography, a series of musical and literary soirees, concerts and film screenings.
"The World of Ilya Repin and His Contemporaries" opened in the Wuppertal Arts Museum on October 9. 46 canvases and 30 graphic works from the Tretyakov Gallery display Repin's painting and drawing, alongside 30 works by artists from his circle. With some such figures the artist had studied at the Academy of Arts, while with others he shared common interests through the group of artists known as the Wanderers (the "Peredvizhniki"). It can be said of the painters concerned, both as individuals and collectively, that they constituted an artistic group that thought in similar terms.
2004 marked the 275th anniversary of the birth of the Russian painter Ivan Argunov, while this year celebrates the 235th anniversary of the birth of his son, the artist Nikolai Argunov. The exhibition currently on display at the Tretyakov Gallery is dedicated to the two events, displaying the work of Ivan Argunov and his sons, Nikolai and Yakov. It includes works provided by the Tretyakov Gallery and other major museums of Moscow and St. Petersburg, among them the Historical Museum, the Russian Museum, the Hermitage, and museums of Rostov-the-Great, Nizhny Novgorod and Novgorod-the Great, Yaroslavl, Samara and Barnaul.
Warhol - dandy, flaneur and artist - appears as the perfect embodiment of the painter of modern life.
"A country with a total shortage of goods and endless queues can't have pop-art,” the Soviet avant-gardist Vitaly Komar had said before he invented, in 1972, a politicized version of postmodernism wittily called "soc-art” (also known as "sots-art). Some of the prominent "socartist's” friends and colleagues did not believe his statement and made joint efforts to develop the artistic forms that the poet Genrikh Sapgir called "Russian pop-art”. Today, 35 years later, the question of Russian and Soviet pop-art remains open - did Russia have a pop-art style or not?
The Graphic Arts Biennale has been held since 1999 in Novosibirsk, a major city in Siberia and a scientific, economic and cultural centre situated almost in the heart of Russia. The Biennale's main objective is to create a rich artistic context in Novosibirsk, and bring the authenticity of Siberian artistic life into a wider cultural process. In a relatively short time the Biennale has managed to make its mark not only in Siberia but also on a wider front in Russia and abroad. This year's Graphic Arts Biennale represented Russia at the oldest graphic arts forum in the world, the 26th Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts (from June 24 to October 2, 2005). Now the Novosibirsk Biennale is opening again...
Modern culture - and modern art, In particular - has encompassed the term "re-actualization”, which refers to cases when a phenomenon or genre is taken out of the archive and presented to the cultural community in a new light, with new meanings and a new functional orientation.
The posthumous fame of an artist can seem paradoxical. It often happens that a painter who has toiled all his life to polish his mastery, changing his manner, creating works that would become landmarks of the dedicated path of their creator, remains known to the general public for a single painting - one which is often far from his best. Thus, Alexander Ivanov has gone down in the memory of art lovers as the painter of "The Appearance of Christ to the People”, despite the fact that his own feelings on the work were rather mixed.
"Sexy” perfectly defines the current state of the Russian art market - appealing, interesting, stimulating and inviting. Since the late 1990s Russian art has steadily emerged as one of the most dramatic, dynamic and exciting collecting areas. The meteoric rise in prices achieved each season at auction captivates every business and art-related paper and journal. Conjecture abounds in media headlines that address successful auction buyers in a most reductionist manner, the "mysterious Russian,” or the "anonymous Ukrainian;” these are the new heroes who buttress auction sales across different collecting categories. Individuals from different industries scramble to uncover identities and dissect collecting patterns. Who are these masked individuals? How can we characterize their collecting behavior?
The unprecedented exhibition of Russian art labeled precisely and appealingly “RUSSIAI" that opened in New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in mid-September has inspired great interest from the West in Russian art, and stimulated similar interest from the Russian side in the Guggenheim museums, particularly the Guggenheim-Hermitage Museum (Las Vegas); it is the only one of the five Guggenheim museums directly associated with Russia - and the contact is with one of the internationally most famous Russian museums.
POINT OF VIEW
From May 25 to May 27 2005 the Trelyakov Gallery held a conference on expertise evaluation and copyright in the visual arts, connected to the Marc Chagall exhibition in the Engineering wing. The first day of the conference was dedicated to copyright: the Russian Authors' Society (RAO), ADAGP (the French agency for the rights of authors in the visual arts), and the Marc Chagall Committee from Paris that represents the artist's successors took part in the discussion regarding questions of copyright observation for artists and their legal heirs.
It is clear that the work of the great master and founder of abstract art Vasily Kandinsky is under continuous reassessment; this is largely due to the input of Russian researchers who reach new conclusions about his work by studying Russian archives, as well as the vast state and private collections of paintings and graphic works, and investigate the great artist's legacy abroad. In this respect the book by Moscow State University professor Valery S. Turchin "Kandinskii v Rossii" ("Kandinsky in Russia") published by "Khudozhnik i kniga" in Moscow this year has become a fundamental scientific summary of the artist's legacy.
The Tretyakov Gallery and the "Tretyakov Gallery” magazine hold an annual national competition named after Pavel Tretyakov for young artists (up to 35 years years old) for the best work of realistic art.