Art historian Irina Kulik continues to select for comparative analysis some of the most striking pairs of artists and art collectives. The fifth year of her blockbuster lecture series brings together world-renowned names along with lesser known practices, while further extending the limits of the very idea of contemporary culture.
Compared to previous seasons, which mainly provided a detailed look at the Western avant-garde, Modernism and the early Postwar period, in 2017 Irina Kulik pays considerably more attention to contemporary artists per se, many of whom are practitioners working today. Among her subjects are a number of artists, whose personal and group shows have taken place at Garage’s new building in Gorky Park—such as the Slovenian collective NSK, and Robert Longo, featured in the opening lecture, whose comprehensive project Proof became one of the most notable exhibitions of 2016. Several lectures are dedicated to key figures of mid-twentieth century, a pivotal moment in the history of aesthetics and humanities. Those include such classics of contemporary sculpture, environmental, and installation art as Dan Graham, Sir Anthony Caro and Carl Andre, as well as the pioneers of performance and Actionism, including Peter Weibel and Valie Export. The program traditionally introduces a plethora of “superstars”: Frida Kahlo, Nan Goldin, William Kentridge, Rachel Whiteread, and Félix González-Torres to name but a few. Meanwhile, musicians Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and Nick Cave, who work in interdisciplinary media, may attract special interest when brought in juxtaposition with artists proper.