PRINT December 2016

Books: Best of 2016

Daniel Baumann


Midway through the show at Moscow Museum of Modern Art featuring the New Blockheads, a collective of artists from Saint Petersburg who were active from 1996 to 2002, I wondered if the group really existed or if this was an exhibition mimicking an exhibition about a laconic art practice lingering between absurdity, politics, and metaphysics. The small but inspiring catalogue The Brotherhood of New Blockheads (1996–2002) by Peter Belyi, Lizaveta Matveeva, and Viktor Misiano does clarify things—and extends the mystery. Introductory articles provide context for more than a hundred events taking place in streets and parks, at clubs, Saint Petersburg’s Borey Gallery, biennials, and festivals, often without leaving any trace. These performances included frying eggs and sausages over a bonfire on Liteyny Prospekt (Fried Eggs, 1998) as a metaphor for how artists stupidly

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