The Experimental Group

In July, the University of Chicago Press published Matthew Jesse Jackson’s book, The Experimental Group: Ilya Kabakov, Moscow Conceptualism, Soviet Avant-Gardes.

According to the publisher:

Instead, these artists and the work they produced are inextricably part of a transnational art world for which the Soviet Union is largely a memory, fading fast.

By placing Kabakov and his conceptualist peers in line with our own contemporary perspective, Matthew Jesse Jackson suggests that the art that emerged in the wake of Stalin belongs neither entirely to its lost communist past nor to a future free from socialist nostalgia. Instead, these artists and the work they produced are inextricably part of a transnational art world for which the Soviet Union is largely a memory, fading fast.

Though remembrance tends to paint the past in broadly heroic tones, The Experimental Group leaves aside the art-hero in order to bring to life the everyday activities of individuals who circulated in a cultural environment that ultimately unmade the Soviet Union.