PRINT March 2008


Komar & Melamid, Catalogue of Super Objects—Super Comfort for Super People, 1975–76, two of thirty-six color photographs, each 10 x 8"

WHAT DOES IT MEAN to be a native agent in a foreign environment? To organize exhibitions and write about a culture whose context is not transparent, and whose art objects have not yet been critically or institutionally processed, either at home or abroad? These are the kinds of questions that in previous decades wore heavy on the minds of those who, having been involved in the community of expatriate artists who left the Soviet Union during the cold war, sought to reengage with Sots art—the art movement given its name by Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid in 1972, in which socialist realism was taken up as a rich field of stereotypes and myths to be turned critically against official Soviet rhetoric. Yet these questions are still pertinent for us to consider now, especially when approaching “Sots Art: Political Art in Russia from 1972 to Today,” recently on view at Maison

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