Institute Of Strikingly modern Esthetics Formally known as Bakschtein
В. Мамышев-Монро. Христос Иисус Иосифович. Фотобумага, печать. 62,5х74 см.
Виноградов-Дубосарский «Несгибаемому Иосифу в День славного юбилея от Саши и Вовы». Пикассо в Москве. 2005. Холст, масло 60х70 см
Д. Врубель и Ко. Бумага, смешанная техника. 30,5х40,5 см
К. Звездочетов (при участии А. Савко). Гофрокартон коллаж, гуашь, 70х50 см
С. Мироненко, Иосиф Бакштейн, 1992. Холст, масло. 50х40 см.
Date: October 24 — November 19, 2017

Curator: Evgenia Gershkovich

The Moscow Museum of Modern Art presents an exhibition titled «Institute Of Strikingly modern Esthetics Formally known as Backstein», which will showcase an impressive contemporary art collection amassed by Joseph Backstein (or Iosef, an alternative spelling more conductive to acronym), the mastermind behind the Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, the director of the Institute of Contemporary Art, a curator and art critic and one of the forefathers of Moscow Conceptualism.

MMOMA continues with this exhibition to acquaint wider audiences with private collections. Currently a show based on Roman Babichev’s collection is on view at 25 Petrovka Street and previously the museum showcased the collections of Viktor Bondarenko, Vladimir Ovcharenko, and Umar Dzhabrailov. Amassed in the course of the last 30 years, Backstein’s collection may be of interest to both art lovers and professionals due to an unconventional history of its formation. The collection can be considered an account of the history of Russian contemporary art recited through Backstein’s relationships with his students and associates. All works presented here were gifted to Backstein by artists including masters such as Erik Bulatov, Oleg Kulik, Alexander Kosolapov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Alexander Vinogradov, and Aidan Salakhova, and his students, alumni of the Institute of Contemporary Art, such as Irina Korina, Anna Zhelud, Khaim Sokol, Taus Makhacheva and Olya Kroytor to name but a few. The amicable tone of the collection is also reflected in the exhibition title — the phrase «Institute Of Strikingly modern Esthetics Formally known as Backstein», which is an acronym in Russian, is taken from the title of Sergey Mironenko’s work.

Joseph Backstein is considered one of the powerhouses of the Russian contemporary art scene. He came to art from the sciences — having graduated from the Moscow Institute of Computer Sciences he went on to receive a PhD in Sociology of Arts and Culture. Friendly relations with Alexander Melamid in secondary school later allowed him to witness the emergence of Sots Art. In 1973 the writer Evgeny Shiffers introduced Backstein to Ilya Kabakov. Currently Kabakov’s studio hosts the Institute of Contemporary Art founded by Backstein in 1991. Operating differently from traditional arts education institutions the institute was one of the first in Russia to offer young artists the knowledge and skills required for their integration into the international art scene.

The exhibition aims to acquaint the public with a unique collection of contemporary art formed by one of the leading Russian curators that includes works of the those who have been shaping the art scene for the last 40 years. from Moscow Conceptualists to pathbreaking artists of today.

Joseph Backstein is an art historian and critic. He curated more than 30 exhibitions including «Bath» (1988; men’s area of Sanduny Baths, Moscow), «IsKUNSTvo. Moscow — West Berlin» (1988; West Berlin, FRG), «Between Spring and Summer. Soviet Art in the Era of Late Communism» (1990-1991; Tacoma, Boston, Des Moines, USA), «Exhibition in Butyrskaya prison» (1992; Butyrskaya prison, Moscow). He is an author of more than 70 articles. Since 1991 he has been the Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art. He was the curator of the Russian pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1999) and the commissioner of the Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007-2016). He is also Corresponding Member of the Academy of Arts of the Russian Federation.

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