Ilya Kabakov

Entrance to Ilya Kabakov’s exhibits is always carefully choreographed. At the Barbara Gladstone Gallery you found yourself caught in a trembling gray curtain as you entered the space. At the Whitney Biennial you passed through a very squeaky door—an obscure object of Soviet nostalgia—the sound of it opening and closing punctuating the slide shows of family snapshots intended as therapy for elderly patients. What interests Kabakov is precisely the threshold between street and museum, trash and art, the disposable and the memorable.

The Life of Flies, 1992, (first shown at the Kunstverein in Cologne and reinstalled this winter at Barbara Gladstone) documented many forgotten worlds—from the invisible universe of household flies to the lost imaginary community of unofficial Soviet artists. The gallery was transformed into a dimly lit Soviet provincial museum where the new was presented as always

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