In recent years, Moscow Museum of Modern Art has presented exhibitions of contemporary art on regular terms. Thereby, the part of collections showing previous stages of artistic development seems to be concealed in the Museum’s storerooms forever. By popular demands, the MMoMA will display artworks full of the historical context, which reflect the total diversity of trends and tendencies of the 20th century art, the controversial course of its artistic events, once again.
The exhibition will contain classical works of the Russian Avant-garde art of the first quarter of the 20th century, without which it is impossible to understand artistic processes of the whole century. The Museum is proud of its collection of artworks by main representatives of this art movement, i.e. Kazimir Malevich, Wassily Kandinsky, David Burliuk, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Ilya Mashkov, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Boris Grigoriev, Alexander Archipenko, Ilya Chashnik, Eduard Krimmer, Vladimir Dmitriev, and (21 th century) others.
A separate hall is devoted to Niko Pirosmani’s oeuvre. Many avant-garde artists were inspired by the art of self-taught artists and exhibited their canvases next to their own. Pirosmani was a legendary and tragic person. He spent his whole life in Georgia, his fatherland, but nevertheless he developed an international reputation as a master of primitive art. Pirosmani loved to paint animals, his contemporaries and national characters. The artist’s color palette was limited and for the first sight it may seem poor, but this laconism shows a gift of monumentalism and special integrity of the image.
Visitors will also take an interest in the section of virtuoso sanguine pictures by Vasily Shukhaev, who belongs to the neoclassical movement, which is opposite to the avant-garde art but paradoxically enriches it. Shukhaev lived a long life, full of dramatic events. He had started his career before the Russian revolution of 1917. He travelled much, and after a long stay abroad he returned to the Soviet Russia in the 1930s, when he was arrested. After 10 years of exile in Magadan, he moved to Georgia, where became a professor in Tbilisi Academy of Arts and Zurab Tsereteli’s favorite tutor.
Artworks by expatriate Russian artists can be seen in another hall. Today the Russian viewers can discover the art, which has been kept under wraps until recently. In a relatively short period of time, the Museum’s team could collect first-class works by immigrant artists, i.e. Boris Anisfeld, Yury Annenkov, Serge Charchoune, Alexandra Exter, Vladimir Baranov-Rossine, Jean Pougny, Vladimir Izdebsky.
A significant part of the Museum’s collection is a set of works by painters and graphic artists of 1930-1940s. They were students of VKHUTEMAS — VKHUTEIN, pupils of Mashkov, Lentulov, Konchalovsky. The names of Lev Soloviev, Nikolai Tarasov, Maria Raube-Gorchilina, Boris Sukhanov, Polina Kraits, Boris Bulgakov were unfairly forgotten. Their art, full of dignity, was lost in the labyrinth of Socialist Realism. At present we discover their oeuvre anew.
Works by Soviet Non-Conformist artists of 1960-1970s are another important part of the exposition. The so-called «Second Russian Avant-garde» has challenged the official art. Among them there is Oscar Rabin, Vladimir Nemukhin, Eduard Steinberg, Mikhail Shvartsman, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Oleg Tselkov, Vladimir Yakovlev, Anatoly Zverev. Masters of the so-called «left MOSKh» are close to the non-official art. They are Illarion Golitsyn, Pavel Nikonov, Nikolai Andronov, Natalia Egorshina, Irina Starzhenetskaya, Andrei Vasnestov, and others.
At last, the history of the 20th century art ends with the oeuvre of post-modernist artists, whose ironical style has developed in Furmanny and Trekhprudny side-streets. Their works scandalized the public during exhibitions of young art in Manezh and Exhibition hall at Kuznetsky Most. They occupied the post-perestroika galleries of contemporary art. Vadim Zakharov, Vladislav Mamyshev-Monroe, Alexander Vinogradov& Vladimir Dubosarsky, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Sergei Shutov, Georgy Litichevsky, Yuri Leiderman, Sergei Mironenko, Pavel Pepperstein, and others seem to return the shocking atmosphere of avant-garde art, closing the historical circle. The visitors are invited to explore difficult ways of the artistic life of the past century.