January 28, 2008 - New Museum - Night School: Boris Groys – After the Red Square
January 28, 2008

Night School: Boris Groys – After the Red Square

Boris Groys, The Religion as Medium
Video still

Night School: Public Seminar 1
Boris Groys: After the Red Square

235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002


Program Schedule:

Thursday, January 31: Boris Groys, “Religion After Communism,” starting at 7 p.m. in the New Museum theater; open to the public. Tickets required (see below).

Friday, February 1: Guest Lecturer Mikhail Iampolski, “Post-Communist Russian Film,” starting at 7 p.m. in the New Museum theater; open to the public. Tickets required (see below).

Saturday, February 2: Boris Groys, “Eastern European Post-Communist Art,” starting at 3 p.m. in the New Museum theater; open to the public. Tickets required (see below).

Sunday, February 3: Discussion; limited to Night School seminar leaders, staff, and core
program participants.

The contemporary, post-communist situation is mostly understood as a time after the full and final victory of the market over all the attempts to put this rule into question. Accordingly, art is equated to the art market and an individual artwork is seen primarily as a commodity. Under this regime the only way for art to become “serious” is to become “critical”, which means that it tries to reflect explicitly on its own character-as- commodity. It is telling that the art of the former Communist or Socialist countries is regarded from this perspective as non-serious because it is non-critical by definition; this art could not reflect on itself as a commodity because it was not a commodity. (It was not a commodity because there was no market, and certainly no art market under Socialism).

But the equation between art and art market, be it critical or not, not only brings about the erasure of a substantial part of the art heritage of the 20th Century; it also – and this is the more important point – ignores the non- market dimensions of contemporary art that functions not only as commodity but also as propaganda (for example: Islamist videos), as a means to organize a new type of communal space and a new type of community itself. The goal of the seminar is to investigate precisely these non-market aspects of contemporary art in its relationship to the long tradition of non-market uses of art, related initially to the Socialist-Communist tradition.

Suggested reading:

Boris Groys, The Total Art of Stalinism, Princeton, 1995
Boris Groys, Ilya Kabakov. A man who flew into the cosmic space. Afterall/MIT, 2006.
Boris Groys (ed.), Dream Factory Communism, Schirn, Frankfurt a.M., 2004.
Jacques Derrida, Marx’ Gespenster, Suhrkamp, Frankfurt a.M., 2003
Giorgio Agamben, Die kommende Gemeinschaft, Merve, 2003.

Born in East Berlin in 1947, Boris Groys studied Philosophy and Mathematics at the University of Leningrad from 1965-71. Then, from 1971 to 1976 Groys worked as a research assistant at various institutes in Leningrad and from 1976-81 he was employed at the Institute for Structural and Applied Linguistics at the University of Moscow. In 1981 Groys emigrated from the former USSR to Germany. 1982-85 he received various grants in Germany and worked as a freelance author from 1986-87 in Cologne. Groys taught as Guest Professor in the States at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia in 1988 and at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1991. He obtained his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Muenster in 1992. Since 1994 Groys has been professor for Philosophy and Media Theory at the Academy for Design in Karlsruhe, Germany. And since January 1st 2001 Groys also serves as vice chancellor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, which has since recieved university status. Member of the Association International des Critiques d’Art [AICA].

Night School is an artist’s project by Anton Vidokle in the form of a temporary school. A yearlong program of monthly seminars and workshops, Night School draws upon a group of local and international artists, writers, and theorists to conceptualize and conduct the program.

All events are free with Museum admission but tickets are required. Tickets can be reserved online or at the Museum one week before the seminar’s start; a limited number of tickets will be available one hour before each event’s start. Tickets are limited, distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis, and must be collected prior to the event’s start time. Unclaimed tickets will be released promptly at the event’s start time. Please check individual events below for tickets and more information.

Night School is part of the Museum as Hub, which is made possible by the Third Millennium Foundation.

With additional generous support from the Metlife Foundation

Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Generous support also provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.

New Museum

New Museum
Share - Night School: Boris Groys – After the Red Square
  • Share