Author: Taryn Jones

Historians of Russian and Soviet Art

We asked Elena Varshavskaya, who teaches art history at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and Eastern Connecticut State University, and who directs the art programs run by SRAS, a simple question: “If a student came to you and said that they were interested in Russian or Soviet art but were unsure where to […]

Marat Gelman

hMarat Gelman was born in Chisinau, Moldova on 24 December 1960, the son of Soviet dramatist Alexander Gelman. As a youth, he danced in “Zhok,” a Moldovan folk ensemble, and entered the Moscow Electrotechnical Institute of Communications in 1977, during which time he worked in a number of Moscow theatres, including the Mayakovsky Theatre. He […]

The Blue Noses

The Blue Noses, an artistic duo consisting of Alexander (Sasha) Shaburov and Vyacheslav (Slava) Mizin, was founded in 1999.  The group is known for their satirical and oft-times provocative works, which encompass photographs, videos, and performances that parody and critique Russian society, art, politics, and religion. Using decidedly low-tech methods in their artistic endeavors, their […]

The Art of “War:” Voina and Protest Art in Russia

The radical and absurdist art collective Voina (which means “War,” in Russian) was founded in 2005 by husband and wife Oleg Vorotnikov (who goes by “Vor” or “thief” in Russian) and Natalia Sokol (who often goes by the nicknames “Kozlenok,” or “Koza,” both of which refer to goats). Described by supporters as a “street collective […]

Zurab Tsereteli

Zurab Konstatinovich Tsereteli was born in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi on January 4, 1934. A somewhat controversial figure, he is a well-known painter, sculptor, architect and decorator, known best for his works of monumental size and often controversial abstraction. He is perhaps Russia’s best politically-connected artist. In addition to serving in the Public Chamber […]

Wassily Kandinsky

One of the pioneers of Russian abstractionism and arguably the world’s first abstractionist, Wassily Kandinsky began to develop his talents in the shadow of Post-Impressionism. Kandinsky, like Malevich, was heavily influenced by his contemporaries and movements such as French Cubism, Fauvism and German Expressionism. An avant-garde impresario and theorist, Kandinsky founded several art associations including […]

Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes

Sergei Diaghilev, Russian art patron, collector, impresario and director of the famed and controversial Ballets Russes, was born in 1872 to a wealthy and aristocratic family.  During his childhood, he was no stranger to chamber music, soirees and serious conversations about literature and poetry, and as befitted his social status, he was sent to study […]

Ilya Repin

Ilya Yefimovich Repin is “widely, and rightly, acknowledged as the preeminent exponent of critical realism in nineteenth-century Russian art” and was often styled under the Soviet regime as an “ethical painter.” Others have called him a “pivotal figure in…Russian realism,” and during his lifetime, Repin was witness to key moments in the history of Russian art. […]

Igor Moukhin

Considered to be one of Russia’s most brilliant contemporary photographers, Igor Vladimirovich Moukhin was born in Moscow on November 19, 1961.  Although he realized his passion for photography at the age of 16, he worked as a heating technician and yard cleaner for several years before actively pursuing an artistic education. Finally, between 1984 and […]

Gor Chahal

Gor Chahal was born in 1961 in Moscow to a Muscovite mother and an Armenian father. One of three children and the brother of athlete Sanasar Oganesyan, his early life was less than artistic, and in fact the only artistic education he received was between the ages of 11 to 15 when he studied drawing […]

Elena Kovylina

Elena Kovylina was born in Moscow on November 22, 1971 and has quickly become one of the most brilliant Russian artists of the twenty-first century, as well as an aggressive social critic. She currently splits her time between Western Europe and her homeland, and has studied at Zurich’s F+F Schule fur Kunst und Mediendesign. It […]