Garage Library is launching a new public program Reading Aloud.
The program revives the tradition of book clubs, where people assembled after work to listen to literary pieces presented by professional readers.
The first season of public readings in the library will focus on 1990s art criticism—articles and essays on Russian contemporary art of the decade and the contexts that have produced it. The pieces selected are historic documents of an era where Russian contemporary art was being institutionalized and revisited in an international context by artists, critics and curators.
The program will introduce the audience to the theoretical debate of the time, as it was reflected in the press, including Segodnya, Kommersant, Nezavisimaya gazeta, Moscow Art Magazine and Mesto pechati; radical artist manifestos written in response to the political and social events of the time; art criticism, which still largely existed in the form of essays and was only starting to seep into newspapers and magazines; and theory that was popular in the artistic community in the 1990s.
The writings presented will give insight into the antagonisms and controversies that have shaped the art scene as we know it today—and signaled not only its separation from the previous generations of Soviet non-conformist artists (in particular, from the Moscow Conceptualist circle), but also its opposition to powerful art institutions (the court case against Alexander Brener in Amsterdam), tradition (as represented by Shilov and Glazunov) and conservative trends in Russia (the court case against Avdey Ter-Oganyan in Moscow).
With the help of professional actors, Reading Aloud will reanimate the debate of the 1990s, and examine the discourse, some elements of which have not lost relevance today.