• Andrei Molodkin, Project, 2009, acrylic tubes filled with crude oil and neon tubes, 133 7/8 x 102 3/8 x 9 13/16”.

    “Futurologia: Contemporary Russian Artists and the Heritage of Avant-Garde”

    Garage Museum of Contemporary Art
    Krimsky Val, 9
    March 4–May 25, 2010

    Curated by Hervé Mikaeloff

    The Russian historical avant-garde has become a popular brand, often drafted to raise interest in the country’s subsequent cultural phenomena. Organized by visiting French curator Hervé Mikaeloff, “Futurologia” offers two paintings by Kazimir Malevich as appetizers to a survey of contemporary Russian art, with works ranging from Viktor Alimpiev’s hermetic, dance-inflected videos to Ilya Gaponov and Kirill Koteshov’s hyperrealist paintings of coal miners. Mikaeloff proposes that, like Malevich, those more recent artists aim their gaze at the future. “Utopias,” a concomitant exhibition at the Garage: Center for Contemporary Culture, expands on this thesis. While it’s uncertain whether either show will trace a sound lineage between a visionary determined to change the future and the myriad artists content to fantasize about doing so, the attempt promises to be no less interesting to consider.

  • Alexandra Exter, Study for a Male Costume, 1920, gouache on cardboard, 48.2 x 35.7 cm

    Alexandra Exter

    Moscow Museum of Modern Art
    25 Petrovka Street (also at 10 Gogolevsky blvd, 9 Tverskoy blvd, and 17 Ermolaevsky lane)
    April 22–July 4, 2010

    Curated by Georgi Kovalenko

    Comprising some 200 objects—180 of which are borrowed from the A. A. Bakhrushin State Central Theatre Museum in Moscow—this show, surprisingly, is the first retrospective devoted to painter and designer Alexandra Exter, perhaps the most peripatetic member of the Russian avant-garde. For almost two decades before she settled in Paris in 1924, Exter was constantly on the move, working for extensive periods in the French capital, as well as in Kiev, Odessa, and Moscow. With her firsthand knowledge of the latest aesthetic developments—Cubism, Futurism, Orphism, Suprematism, Constructivism—Exter played cultural emissary for other artists, while her own exuberant color compositions defy easy identification with any single movement, style, or national culture. This show will foreground her exploration of the stage as a dynamic arena for visual experimentation, arguably her greatest accomplishment.