There is hardly a notable episode in the history of Moscow Conceptualism of the 1970s and 1980s in which Andrey Kovalev’s next guest wasn’t an avid participator or instigator.
Graduate of the Moscow Polygraphic Institute, in 1976 Nikita Alekseev (b. 1953) joined the newly-founded Andrey Monastyrsky group Collective Actions, members of which were busy working out some very original forms of happening and performance. In the late 1970s, Monastyrsky, Alekseev and Lev Rubinstein launched MANI—the Moscow Archive of New Art. At the same time, Alekseev moved into a studio flat on Vavilova street, south of the city center, where in 1982 he established what is now considered to be the first Russian private art gallery. Named APTART—short for “Apartment Art”— visitors came through word-of-mouth and it opened with a show of the Mukhomor group, featuring mainly found objects and garbage. In the following years (the improvised gallery existed until Alekseev’s move to Paris after perestroika), this space saw some iconic concerts by the Srednerusskaya Vozvyshennost rock band, as well as exhibitions of works by Vadim Zakharov, Konstantin Zvezdochetov, Yuri Albert and, of course, the Alekseev himself. Since his return to Moscow in the late 1990s, Alekseev has been nominated for the Kandinsky and the Innovation Prizes, working in a variety of mediums. He regularly exhibits and writes books.