International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is pleased to present Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy. Commemorating the centennial of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this scholarly exhibition looks beyond the canon of the Russian avant-garde to focus on three avenues of individual freedoms sought by the fledgling socialist society: the equality and emancipation of women; internationalism, including racial equality and the rights of ethnic minorities in Russia, especially Jews; and sexual and gay liberation. By placing a selection of historical printed works by key Russian
avant-garde artists of the 1920s and 1930s in dialogue with contemporary works by Russian-born, New
York-based artists Yevgeniy Fiks and Anton Ginzburg, the exhibition evaluates these often-obscured
goals of the Revolution and addresses their continued urgency today – in Russia, the United States, and
The historical component of the exhibition, which features posters, book covers, journals, and illustrations
by some of the most well-known names of the Russian avant-garde alongside more obscure artists of the
movement, exemplifies the print medium’s preeminent role in Soviet revolutionary society as the most
accessible means for disseminating social and political ideals on a broad scale. Images and text from the
American journal The Crisis (1923) in which Harlem Renaissance writer and intellectual Claude McKay
published an essay entitled “Soviet Russia and the Negro”—inspired by his visit to Soviet Russia as an
invited speaker at the Fourth Congress of Communist International—provide global context for the
progressive, open nature of Soviet society in the early post-revolutionary years. In the essay, MacKay’s
observations on Soviet achievements in the area of fighting racial prejudice, xenophobia, and antiSemitism
reflect the genuine internationalist aspirations of the fledgling socialist state. A video documenting Yevgeniy Fiks’ performance Soviet Russia and the Negro. Kaddish (2011) offers a contemporary perspective on this issue: here, Fiks reads MacKay’s essay on the sites in Moscow where hate crimes had been committed recently against people of color.
El Lissitzky and Natan Al’tman, central figures of the Russian avant-garde and its internationalist aspirations, are presented in the lesser-emphasized context of their work celebrating and modernizing Soviet Jewish visual culture. The exhibition features El Lissitzky’s 1922 illustrations for Jewish tales such as Chad Gadya, which are written in Yiddish and designed in a modern graphic style reminiscent of his iconic revolutionary poster Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge (1920). Yevgeniy Fiks’s 2015 screenprints of the same title appropriate the latter’s iconic composition, but overlap the original Russian text with Yiddish writing, challenging established art historical narratives in which Lissitzky’s identity as a modern, international artist superceded his Jewish identity.
Other highlights include a selection of posters advocating for women’s rights, including Elizaveta
Ignatovich’s Struggle for the Polytechnical School (1931), which calls for women to receive technical
education, and a 1931 poster by Sergei Sen’kin’s presenting a young Soviet woman as a symbol for the
multi-million members of the Komsomol, the Bolshevik youth organization. Meanwhile, iconic images by
Gustav Klucis reflect the homosocial theme underlying the same-sex solidarity in Soviet society,
especially in the all-male worlds of miners and other industrial sectors.
The contemporary works on view prioritize the agency of Russian-born people to speak about Soviet
history as personal history, and to address the Revolution’s legacy in all its complexity. In Yevgeniy Fiks’s
Leniniana (2008) painting, the artist erases Lenin from the ubiquitous portrait of the revolutionary leader,
familiar to every Soviet household through millions of printed reproductions, and thus reflects on the
selective nature of historical memory. In his posters from the 2016 Meta-Constructivism series, Anton
Ginzburg claims to use Russian Constructivist methodology to present current points of view on the
central themes of that movement in the 1920s, such as sexual liberation, the creation of the Jewish Kultur
League, and attempts to develop a universal language. By preserving the Revolution’s radically
transformative impulses, and recognizing its limitations, both artists maintain the critical social stance still
necessary in the ongoing struggle for individual freedoms worldwide.
INTERNATIONAL PRINT CENTER NEW YORK
Images: Left, Yevgeniy Fiks. Beat the Whites with the Red Wedge, 2015. Screenprint. 33 x 39 in. Edition: 18. Published by
Eminence Grise Editions/Michael Steinberg Fine Art. Collection of Richard Gerrig and Timothy Peterson. Image © 2017 Yevgeniy
Fiks. Right: El Lissitzky. Chad Gadya, 1922. Letterpress. 8 1/4 x 10 in. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Jan Tschichold
Collection, Gift of Philip Johnson, 1977. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art, licensed by SCALA / Art Resource, NY.
The exhibition will be accompanied by an extensive brochure designed by Anton Ginzburg and published
by IPCNY, featuring an essay by curator Masha Chlenova, as well as an illustrated chronology by
Chlenova and Yevgeniy Fiks and a bibliography providing further historical context for the material on
Extensive public programming will coincide with New York Print Week and continue throughout the fall
season. These will include workshops and performances by Yevgeniy Fiks, and an academic conference
bringing together scholars of Soviet modernism to discuss the three themes detailed above.
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 3:00pm at IFPDA Print Fair: Curator Masha Chlenova will give a lecture
entitled “Embattled Images: Print Culture in the Russian Revolution”, followed by a Q&A session. Tickets
Saturday, October 28, 2017, 1:00–4:00pm at 524 West 26th Street, Ground Floor: Exhibiting artist
Yevgeniy Fiks, working with Bushwick Print Lab, will lead “Obama, Trump, and the Russian
Revolution,” a poster-making workshop exploring the use of re-purposed Russian Revolutionary imagery
to satirize contemporary American politicians. Using a selection of thematic imagery, participants will let
their political subconscious run loose to reveal what philosopher Boris Groys defined as “Russia as the
West's subconscious.” Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017, 6:45pm and 9pm at Anthology Film Archives: “Show & Tell: Anton
Ginzburg.” Two screenings of exhibiting artist Anton Ginzburg’s short films, each followed by Q&A
sessions. Tickets at http://anthologyfilmarchives.org/.
Thursday, November 30, 2017, 7:00pm at IPCNY: “Lily Golden, Harry Haywood, Langston Hughes,
Yelena Khanga, Claude McKay, Paul Robeson, Robert Robinson on Soviet Jews” (2017). A performative
reading organized by Yevgeniy Fiks which traces the history of the Jewish community in the Soviet Union
between the 1920s and 1980s via memoirs of Soviet citizens of African American decent and African
Americans who resided in or visited the USSR. Curator introduction and exhibition viewing at 6:00pm. Free
and open to the public.
INTERNATIONAL PRINT CENTER NEW YORK
Friday, December 1, 2017, all day, at Columbia University: In collaboration with the Harriman Institute,
Columbia University, curator Masha Chlenova and Harriman Postdoctoral Research Scholar Maria
Ratanova have organized an academic conference. Leading scholars of Soviet modernism will address
central topics of the exhibition, including Dan Healey (University of Oxford), Julia Mickenberg (University
of Texas, Austin), and Kate Baldwin (Northwestern University), with keynote talks by Maria Gough
(Harvard University) and Christina Kiaer (Northwestern University). Chlenova, Fiks and Ginzburg will
discuss responsibility towards Russian revolutionary history and its legacy in a round-table entitled “’What is
to be done with our past?’ Russian-American culture workers discuss historical responsibility in the era of
Putin and Trump.” Full Program to be announced by the Harriman Institute at www.harriman.columbia.edu.
For further information, please visit http://www.ipcny.org/russianrevolution.
GROUP AND SCHOOL VISITS may be arranged with advanced booking by contacting
firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.989.5090.
CURATOR AND ARTISTS BIOGRAPHIES
Masha Chlenova (Ph.D., Columbia University; b. 1973 Moscow; has lived and worked in New York since
1995) is a curator and modernist art historian specializing in the Russian avant-garde. She has worked at
the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and The Museum of Modern Art where she coorganized
a major survey of abstraction across media entitled Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925 with Leah
Dickerman. This exhibition and its publication won awards from the International Association of Art Critics,
the Association of Art Museum Curators, The Association of American Publishers, and the Dedalus
Foundation. Her writing has appeared in the journal October and in publications of the Guggenheim
Museum, MoMA, Tate Modern, Royal Academy of Arts in London and Art Institute of Chicago. She recently
contributed a chapter to a monograph on Wacław Szpakowski, the Polish abstract artist of the 1920s-30s,
and organized the first extensive presentation of his work in the United States in the exhibition Grounding
Vision: Wacław Szpakowski, held at Miguel Abreu Gallery in New York in January 2017. She served as
curatorial consultant for the upcoming exhibition on the Russian avant-garde at the Art Institute of Chicago
entitled Revolutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test, 1917-37 and contributed an essay to its
catalogue. Her other publications in 2017 include: “Soviet Museology in the Cultural Revolution: An
Educational Turn, 1928-33” in the French peer-reviewed journal Histoire@Politique and “Soviet Art in
Review: ‘Fifteen Years of Artists of the Russian Soviet Republic’ in Leningrad, 1932” in Revolution: Russian
Art, 1917-32, John Millner and Natalia Murray, eds. London: Royal Academy of Arts. Since 2015 she has
been teaching art history at The New School and in April 2017, she began as a project-based curator at the
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, where she is initiating a multi-year research and exhibition project dedicated
to the Stedelijk’s outstanding collection of Russian modernism and is organizing a major exhibition of
Willem de Kooning.
Yevgeniy Fiks (b. 1972, Moscow; has lived and worked in New York since 1994) is a contemporary artist
who works across mediums and disciplines, producing artworks, exhibitions, and books that seek out and
explore repressed microhistorical narratives that highlight the complex relationships between social
histories of the West and the Soviet bloc in the 20th century. Fiks’s work has been shown at Winkleman
and Postmasters galleries (New York), MASS MoCA, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Moscow
Museum of Modern Art and Marat Guelman Gallery in Moscow; Sala de Arte Público Siqueiros in Mexico
City; and the Museu Colecção Berardo in Lisbon. His work has been included in the Biennale of Sydney
(2008), Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2011), and Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art
(2015). His most recent projects include the installation Óptica Bronstein (2017) (with Pablo Helguera) in
the exhibition Space Force Construction at the V-A-C Foundation, Venice; and the curatorial project In
Edenia, a City of the Future (2017) (with Larissa Babij) in Yermilov Center, Kharkiv, Ukraine.
Anton Ginzburg (b. 1974, St. Petersburg; has lived and worked in New York since 1992) is known for his
films, sculptures, paintings, and text-based printed work investigating historical narratives and poetic
INTERNATIONAL PRINT CENTER NEW YORK
studies of place, representation, and post-Soviet identity. His work has been shown at the 54th Venice
Biennale, the Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the San
Francisco Museum of Modern Art, White Columns in New York, Lille3000 in Euralille, France, and the first
and second Moscow Biennales. His films have been screened at the San Francisco Museum of Modern
Art, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Les Rencontres Internationales in
Paris, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Forthcoming projects include Stargaze: Orion (2016), a
24-foot outdoor sculpture commission for the US Embassy in Moscow (Art in Embassies), as well as
screenings of his recent films at Whitechapel Gallery in London on October 1, 2017 and at Anthology Film
Archives in New York on November 28, 2017. His work will be the subject of a one-person exhibition at
Fridman Gallery in New York, November 14 – December 23, 2017. http://www.antonginzburg.com/
Anne Osherson at email@example.com or 212.989.5090
April Hunt of SparkplugPR at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646.245.9312
International Print Center New York (IPCNY) is New York’s flagship non-profit arts institution dedicated to
the innovative presentation of prints by emerging, established, national, and international artists. Founded
in 2000, the print center is a vibrant hub and exhibition space located in New York’s Chelsea gallery
district. IPCNY’s artist-centered approach engages the medium in all its varied potential, and includes
guest-curated exhibitions that present dynamic, new scholarship as well as biannual New Prints open-call
exhibitions for work created in the last twelve months. A lively array of public programs engages audiences
more deeply with the works on display. A 501(c)(3) institution, IPCNY depends on foundation, government,
and individual support, as well as members’ contributions to fund its programs.
Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy is supported, in part, by The Roy and Niuta Titus Foundation and
by Richard Gerrig and Timothy Peterson. Special thanks to the Harriman Institute at Columbia University.
Support for all programs and exhibitions at IPCNY is made possible by the New York State Council on the
Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; by Foundations
including Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Jockey Hollow
Foundation, The Thompson Family Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the Milton & Sally Avery
Arts Foundation, Inc., and the Sweatt Foundation along with major individual support. The PECO
Foundation supports IPCNY’s exhibitions this season. The New Prints Program is supported by the National
Endowment for the Arts and, in part, by the Areté Foundation.