The Brotherhood of New Blockheads, Slavic Bazaar, 1998, photograph of performance action. Photograph by Alexander Lyashko.
The Brotherhood of New Blockheads
Curated by Peter Belyi with Lizaveta Matveeva
November 14, 2019 — February 21, 2020
An exhibition audio guide by Visnja Begovic (Mishkin Gallery's 2019-2020 Nagelberg Fellow) is available HERE.
The Brotherhood of New Blockheads (1996–2002) is the first exhibition in the United States to feature the historic performance-based work of the New Blockheads, a collective of critical young artists active in Saint Petersburg, Russia, after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Between 1996 and 2002, the New Blockheads—Vadim Flyagin, Oleg Khvostov, Vladimir Kozin, Alexander Lyashko, Inga Nagel, Igor Panin, Maxim Rayskin, Sergey Spirikhin—made their mark with incredible energy and creative productivity. More than 100 actions and performances were made across galleries, in the streets, and in the privacy of individual homes.
Capturing their work and impact, the exhibition includes documentation, readymades, and remnants of such performances as Laundry Day, 1996 (washing of the Russian flag), A New Image of a Leader, 1998 (canvassing for a fake political candidate), and The Movement of the Tea Table Towards the Sunset. Seven Days of Travel, 1996 (hosting an intervention on a tea table throughout the city).
Because of the inherent spontaneity of this work and its prolific producers, very little has been documented and subjected to analysis until recently. Working directly with the artists, this exhibition rectifies the lack of scholarly research and brings this art history to an entirely new audience within an academic context. The exhibition is presented as part of the Performa 19 Biennial
The Brotherhood of New Blockheads has been curated by Peter Belyi with Assistant Curator Lizaveta Matveeva, and produced in collaboration with Kunsthalle Zurich where it was first on view in spring 2019. Major support is provided by The Trust for Mutual Understanding. The exhibition is made possible by the Baruch College Fund and the George and Mildred Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. Additional support has been provided by CEC Artslink.
A booklet with texts by the curators has been produced as part of The Brotherhood of New Blockheads and is free and available at the Mishkin Gallery and online. DOWNLOAD A COPY HERE.
The Brotherhood of New Blockheads, The Movement of the Tea Table Towards the Sunset, 1996, photograph of performance action. Photograph by Alexander Lyashko.