The Brotherhood of New Blockheads (1996–2002)
Nov. 14, 2023 - Feb. 21, 2020
The Mishkin Gallery presents The Brotherhood of New Blockheads (1996–2002), 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. The exhibition has been curated by Peter Belyi with Assistant Curator Lizaveta Matveeva in collaboration with Kunsthalle Zürich, where it was first on view in spring 2019. The exhibition opens at the Mishkin Gallery on Thursday, November 14, 6 to 8 pm, and will be on view through February 21, 2020.
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 will also be a part of the Performa 19 Biennial Consortium, a New York-based network of arts and cultural institutions producing, supporting, and disseminating performance-based artistic productions and programs in partnership with Performa 19.
A booklet with a full performance chronology and texts by curators Peter Belyi and Lizaveta Matveeva has been produced as part of The Brotherhood of the New Blockheads and is free and available at the Mishkin Gallery and online.
The Brotherhood of New Blockheads has been curated by Peter Belyi with Assistant Curator Lizaveta Matveeva and produced in collaboration with Kunsthalle Zürich. 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.