Total Enlightenment: Moscow Conceptual Art 1960-1990 Opens at The Schirn Kunsthalle"/If You're in Frankfurt, You Must Go!
from a piece in Art Daily:
The artists of the first generation of Moscow Conceptualism of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Ilya Kabakov, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, Dmitri Prigov or Lev Rubinstein, mainly used the language of the “simple Soviet person.” The carefully selected and iteratively censored formulations of official Soviet ideology were inevitably damaged and displaced by their quotidian “uncultivated” use, and simultaneously “adulterated” with every conceivable purely private and unconsidered opinion. Ilya Kabakov and Dmitri Prigov in particular helped themselves liberally to this trove of everyday, uncultivated theorizing in their commentaries on their own and other art, and often in a highly entertaining fashion. One can say that Moscow Conceptualism made the discursive mass culture of its time into its object. On the one hand, it was indeed a kind of conceptual art. But it was much more than just a kind of discursive Pop Art.
Like almost all avant-garde movements of the twentieth century, the Moscow Conceptualists systematically organized a counter-public, which primarily comprised the artists themselves and their friends. They met regularly to discuss new works and texts. They issued their own and international publications, and created archives. Particularly Andrei Monastyrski and his group “Collective Actions,” which started staging actions in the mid-1970s, contributed to triggering a process of self-institutionalization of Moscow Conceptualism. Monastyrski organized performances to which he invited other Moscow Conceptualists, and these events were painstakingly and quasi-bureaucratically documented, annotated and archived. Additionally, Monastyrski involved many younger artists such as Pavel Pepperstein, Vadim Zakharov and Yuri Albert in the activities of the group, thus passing Moscow Conceptualism onto the next generation.