Ilya and Emilia Kabakov

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov


January 9, 2004

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov
The Empty Museum

January 11 – April 11, 2004

44-19 Purves Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
t 718 361 1750 f 718 786 9336

EXHIBITION OPENING RECEPTION Sunday, January 11, 2 – 5 pm

New York – SculptureCenter is pleased to present the North American premiere of The Empty Museum by internationally acclaimed artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov. The Empty Museum is a room-sized installation that makes the exhibition space itself an object of our contemplation.

The Empty Museum perfectly replicates a painting gallery in a classical museum with dark red walls, wood moldings and benches for quiet contemplation. On the walls, where one would expect paintings to hang, are pools of light, as if the paintings had just recently been removed. Bachs Passacaglia, written for the organ, resounds loudly. An ambiguous state of construction or demise presides but the overall effect is one of calm and contemplation. The replacement of paintings by music and light draws connections between the space of the museum, the concert hall and the cathedral. As with many Kabakov installations, the room functions metaphorically as both a manifestation of social institutions and a container within which imagination and creativity endure. Taking the museum as metaphor, the work invites us to reconsider the status of the work of art, and the institutions that house it.

Known as the leading figure of the Russian art movement of the 1980s known as Moscow Conceptualism Ilya Kabakov, is considered one of the most important artists of his generation. His total installations have depicted the gloomy bureaucratic and communal environments of Soviet life while celebrating the survival and strength of the human spirit. Although oftentimes melancholic, these are spaces that tell stories of poetic innocence and fleeting contradictions; places where longing coexists with imagination.

Also on View: In Practice projects by

Isidro Blasco, Stephanie Diamond, Nicolas Dumit Esteves, Eric Fertman, Ross Knight, Ana Linnemann, Karyn Olivier, Juliane Stiegele, Karin Waisman.

The Empty Museum is funded in part by the generosity of The Cora Initiative at The Annenberg Foundation. The In Practice projects are funded in part by the generosity of the National Endowment for the Arts.

SculptureCenter is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, a state agency; the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional corporate and foundation exhibition support is from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Greenwall Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.


Take E or V to 23rd / Ely or G to Courthouse Square or the 7 to 45th Road (note: the V train does not run on weekends, the 7 train does not run on Sunday, January 11). From all trains, walk north on Jackson Avenue one block past 44th Drive and turn right onto Purves Street.

SculptureCenter is five minutes from Midtown by subway.

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January 9, 2004

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