Arseny Zhilyaev will present at the Seminar in Cultural History on Tuesday, April 23, at 6 pm. His talk is entitled “Beyond Avant-Garde: Surrealist and Communist Museums of the Early Twentieth Century.”

The twentieth century is considered to be the century of artistic innovation and creative exploration, with historical avant-garde having a decisive influence on artists working during this time. However, what we usually mean by these terms is limited to a set of artists-stars and the trajectories of their creative formation. A layer of institutional activity remains outside of our attention. However, it often exceeds individual human gestures in the radicality, consistency, and scale of their ambitions. Keeping this in mind, Zhilyaev will examine the common search of the Soviet Marxist exhibition expositions and some European experiments that forecasted the development of contemporary art in the twentieth century.

Arseny Zhilyaev is an artist based in Moscow and Venice. His projects examine the legacy of Soviet museology and museums in the philosophy of Russian Cosmism using the exhibition as a medium. His works have been shown at the biennales in Gwangju, Liverpool, Lyon, and the Ljubljana Triennale as well as at exhibitions at Centre Pompidou; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; de Appel, Amsterdam; HKW, Berlin; Kadist Art Foundation, Paris and San Francisco; V-a-c Foundation, Moscow and Venice; and elsewhere. Zhilyaev graduated from Voronezh State University, Philosophical Faculty (2006) and Moscow Institute of Contemporary Art (2008) and received an MA from the Valand School of Fine Arts, Goteborg, Sweden (2010). He has published articles in e-flux journal, Idea, Moscow Art Magazine, and other journals. He is an editor of the anthology Avant-Garde Museology (e-flux, University of Minnesota Press, V-a-c Press, 2015). Recent accolades include Russian awards in the sphere of contemporary art and a nomination for the Visible Award in 2013. Zhilyaev has given lectures and master classes at institutions including MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, CUNY (New York), Tate Modern, Whitechapel (London), and Princeton University (New Jersey).