Left: Yevgeniy Fiks, Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (Red), 2015. Screenprint, 30 x 36 in. Right: Anton Ginzburg, Zaum ESL#2, 2017. Anodized print on aluminum. 12 x 24 inches. © 2017 the artists.
Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy
October 12–December 16, 2017
Opening: Thursday, October 12, 6–8pm
Press & member preview: 5pm
International Print Center New York
508 West 26th Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Curated by Masha Chlenova
International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is pleased to present Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy. Commemorating the centennial of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this scholarly exhibition looks beyond the canon of the Russian avant-garde to focus on three avenues of individual freedoms sought by the fledgling socialist society: the equality and emancipation of women; internationalism, including racial equality and the rights of ethnic minorities in Russia, especially Jews; and sexual and gay liberation.
By placing a selection of historical printed works by key Russian avant-garde artists of the 1920s and 1930s in dialogue with contemporary works by Russian-born, New York-based artists Yevgeniy Fiks and Anton Ginzburg, the exhibition evaluates these often-obscured goals of the Revolution and addresses their continued urgency today—in Russia, the United States, and elsewhere.
The historical component of the exhibition, which features posters, book covers, journals, and illustrations by some of the most well-known names of the Russian avant-garde, including Gustav Klucis, El Lissitzky, and Elizaveta Ignatovich, alongside more obscure artists of the movement, exemplifies the print medium’s preeminent role in Soviet revolutionary society as the most accessible means for disseminating social and political ideals on a broad scale.
The contemporary works on view prioritize the agency of Russian-born people to speak about Soviet history as personal history, and to address the Revolution’s legacy in all its complexity. In Yevgeniy Fiks’s Leniniana (2008) painting, the artist erases Lenin from the ubiquitous portrait of the revolutionary leader, familiar to every Soviet household through millions of printed reproductions, and thus reflects on the selective nature of historical memory. In his posters from the 2016 Meta-Constructivism series, Anton Ginzburg uses Russian Constructivist methodology to present current points of view on the central themes of that movement in the 1920s, such as sexual liberation, the creation of the Jewish Kultur League, and attempts to develop a universal language. By preserving the Revolution’s radically transformative impulses, and recognizing its limitations, both artists maintain the critical social stance still necessary in the ongoing struggle for individual freedoms worldwide.
October 28, 1–4pm: Political poster-making workshop with Yevgeniy Fiks and Bushwick Print Lab
November 28, 6:45pm and 9pm: Anton Ginzburg film screenings at Anthology Film Archive
November 30, 7pm: Performative reading organized by Yevgeniy Fiks, with curator talk at 6pm
December 1, all day: Conference at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University
Visit www.ipcny.org for more details.
International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is New York’s flagship non-profit arts institution dedicated to the innovative presentation of prints by emerging, established, national, and international artists. Founded in 2000, the print center is a vibrant hub and exhibition space located in New York’s Chelsea gallery district. IPCNY’s artist-centered approach engages the medium in all its varied potential, and includes guest-curated exhibitions that present dynamic, new scholarship as well as biannual New Prints open-call exhibitions for work created in the last twelve months. A lively array of public programs engages audiences more deeply with the works on display. A 501(c)(3) institution, IPCNY depends on foundation, government, and individual support, as well as members’ contributions to fund its programs.