New York

Ilya Kabakov, Vertical Painting #12, 2012, oil on canvas, 112 x 70 7/8".

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

Pace | 32 East 57th Street

Ilya Kabakov, Vertical Painting #12, 2012, oil on canvas, 112 x 70 7/8".

Born in 1933 to a scarcely tolerated minority, the Russian-Jewish artist Ilya Kabakov was nevertheless accepted as a student at the prestigious Leningrad Institute of Art. Ironically, he has become one of its greatest attendees, if one still regarded askance by official taste.

It is unlikely that those of us who saw Kabakov’s “Ten Characters,” a suite of dioramas installed at New York’s Ronald Feldman Gallery in 1988 (the artist having immigrated here in 1987), will forget the drab repressions embodied in those inspired installations: the smell of unwashed congestion, of families thrown together helter-skelter, bereft of space and proper sanitation or, worse, strangled by the duplicities of utopian thinking. The fairy-tale-like The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment, 1981–88, is emblematic of the group. Propaganda posters adorn the enclosing walls of a small room in a

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