The Garage Museum in Moscow is hosting an exhibition dedicated to an anti-modernist manifesto from the 1960s, featuring full-scale mockups of Andy Warhol’s famous studio and a conceptual cubist home.
Titled If Our Soup Can Could Speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties, the exhibition celebrates the first English translation of The Crisis of Ugliness: From Cubism to Pop-Art by Mikhail Lifshitz, a 1968 text that rails against modern art.
Artist-curators Dmitry Gutov and David Riff – who translated the texts – have rebuilt a series of notable spaces from the 1960s to help tell the story.
In them, artworks by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Albrecht Dürer, Oleg Filatchev, Valery Khabarov and Larisa Kirillova hang on the walls.
“If Our Soup Can Could Speak takes as its starting point Lifshitz’s book and related writings to re-explore the vexed relations between so-called progressive art and politics in the 20th and 21st centuries, as well as the motivations and implications of Lifshitz’s singular crusade against the modern classics,” reads the exhibition text.
“His appraisal of the crisis in 20th century art differs fundamentally from the standard attacks on modernism in government-issue Soviet art criticism, and in fact can be read as their direct critique.”
One space covered in foil represents the famous New York studio of acclaimed pop artist Andy Warhol. Artworks by Warhol and contemporary Roy Lichenstein hang from the reflective walls.
The exhibition takes its name from another text by Lifshitz – The Phenomenology of the Soup Can – which attacks pop art using Warhol’s use of the humble soup can in his artworks as a case study.
Another exhibition space is created within a mock-up of La Maison Cubist, a proposal for a Cubist-style home initially shown at the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris in 1912. Lifshitz was averse to the design.
The building, which features a fragmented facade was designed by Raymond Duchamp-Villon – the brother of the famous ready-made artist Marcel Duchamp – and decorator André Mare.
The Garage is located in Moscow’s Gorky Park, in a converted restaurant building that boasts huge sliding doors and adaptable interiors. It was designed by Rem Koolhaas’ firm OMA and completed in 2015.
According to The Garage, the exhibition takes full advantage of the flexible nature of the building.
“It’s an idea that’s fairly revolutionary in museology, and quite compelling on an architectural level, since it also plays with Rem Koolhaas’ design for the Garage building,” said a spokesperson for the gallery.
If Our Soup Can Could Speak: Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties continues until 13 May 2018.
Photography is by Yuri Palmin.
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