New book series: e-flux Classics—Avant-Garde Museology

New book series: e-flux Classics—Avant-Garde Museology


December 14, 2015

Avant-Garde Museology 
Arseny Zhilyaev, Editor 
Distributed by the University of Minnesota Press
Published in collaboration with V-A-C Foundation, and with support from Kadist Art Foundation

2015, English 
5 x 8 in, 632 pages, 16 b/w plates
ISBN: 978-0-8166-9919-3 

Avant-Garde Museology is the first title in e-flux Classics, a new book series in collaboration with University of Minnesota Press focusing on an emerging historical canon specific to an era when the world’s many eccentric modernities, economies of knowledge, and shared political histories seek to be recognized through contemporary art. 

The museum of contemporary art might very well be the most advanced recording device ever invented in the history of humankind. It is a place for the storage of historical grievances and the memory of forgotten artistic experiments, social projects, or errant futures. But in late 19th- and early 20th-century Russia, this recording device was undertaken by a number of artists and thinkers as a site for experimentation. 

Arseny Zhilyaev’s Avant-Garde Museology presents a collection of crucial essays documenting the wildly encompassing progressivism of this period, with texts by figures such as Nikolai Fedorov, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Bogdanov, Andrey Platonov and many others—several of which are translated from Russian for the first time. While the first question for any progressive curatorial practice and museology concerns how the errant futures stored in the museum can be played back, for the authors in this compendium, the more urgent question becomes: How might the contents of the museum be reanimated so as to transcend even the social and physical limits imposed on humankind? 

“At their different stages, Soviet museums were places for artistic experimentation, for formulating social and political projects, and for ideological struggle. But they were never merely places for neutral aesthetic contemplation and the canonization of the past, as they were in the West. Arseny Zhilyaev’s comprehensive reader on Soviet museum history tells this fascinating, alternative story of the museum in the 20th century for the first time—a story that, until now, has been virtually unknown to the international public.” 

–Boris Groys, Global Distinguished Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University and Senior Research Fellow at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design 

“At last, Anglophone readers have a chance to access the key texts of early 20th-century Russian museology: from the eccentric futuristic visions of Fedorov and Bogdanov to the revolutionary avant-garde (Rodchenko and Punin) and groundbreaking experiments at the Tretyakov Gallery and Antireligious Museum in the 1930s. Zhilyaev has assembled an indispensable anthology that offers a vivid and timely alternative to overfamiliar Western exhibition histories. Curatorial students looking for radical models—start here!” 

–Claire Bishop, Professor of Art History at The Graduate Center, City University of New York 

With texts by David Arkin; Vladimir Bekhterev; Aleksander Bogdanov; Osip Brik; Vasily Chekrygin; Leonid Chetyrkin; Nikolai Druzhinin; Nikolai Fedorov; Pavel Florensky; R. N. Frumkina; M. S. Ilkovskiy; V. I. Karmilov; V. Karpov; Valentin Kholtsov; P. N. Khrapov; Yuriy Kogan; Natalya Kovalenskaya; Nadezhda Krupskaya; S. P. Lebedyansky; A. F. Levitsky; Vera Leykina (Leykina-Svirskaya); Ivan Luppol; Kazimir Malevich; Andrey Platonov; Nikolai Punin; Aleksandr Rodchenko; Yuriy Samarin; I. F. Sheremet; Andrey Shestakov; N. A. Schneerson; Ivan Skulenko; M. Vorobiev; N. Vorontsovsky; Boris Zavadovsky; I. M. Zykov.

Series editors: Julieta Aranda, Brian Kuan Wood, Anton Vidokle 
Series cover design: Liam Gillick 
Design: Jeff Ramsey

Available everywhere fine books are sold, and via University of Minnesota Press. Stay tuned for launch events in 2016 in New York, London, and Minneapolis.

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