Thursday, Dec. 14 at 6:30PM: Screening & Discussion of Abram Room's "Jews on the Land" (1927) with Anastasiya Osipova, Ph.D.

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Thursday, December 14, from 6:30-8pm: in conjunction with Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy, join curator Masha Chlenova and scholar Anastasiya Osipova for a screening and discussion of Jews on the Land, the 1927 short film (18min) by Abram Room. The film was made with the participation of notable avant-garde figures Viktor Shklovsky, Vladimir Mayakovsky, and Lilia Brik, who were committed to the project of Jewish emancipation.

The funding for Jews on Land came from OZET (the Association for the Agricultural Settlement of Jewish Workers), which also commissioned many of the printed posters and ephemera on view in the exhibition. This agitprop film about Jewish agricultural communes in Crimea chronicles the extreme poverty of post-WWI shtetl life, and the idealistic drive to re-settle Soviet Jews into a self-governing, agricultural way of life.

This event will be the final in a series of public programs organized alongside the exhibition, which closes December 16.

Agitation for Freedom: Revolution and its Avant-Garde, Dec. 1

Conference at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University

Friday, December 1, 2017
Free and Open to the Public

In conjunction with Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy, curator Masha Chlenova and Maria Ratanova, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Harriman Institute and Lecturer at the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia University, have organized a conference in celebration of the centennial of the Russian Revolution. It will include two panels and a round table entitled “Why Celebrate the Revolution Today?”

Exhibiting artists Yevgeniy Fiks and Anton Ginzburg will participate in the program, which will feature visiting scholars of Russian modernism and Russian avant-garde art: Kate Baldwin (Northwestern University), Dan Healey (University of Oxford), Samuel Johnson (Syracuse University), Julia Mickenberg (University of Texas at Austin), Kristin Romberg (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), with keynote speakers Maria Gough (Harvard University) and Christina Kiaer (Northwestern University). 

 The conference will address little-discussed issues of individual freedoms and civil liberties brought about by the October Revolution and celebrated by the artists of the Russian avant-garde: the emancipation of women, advocacy of sexual and gay liberation, internationalism, racial equality, and rights of ethnic minorities. These gains in individual freedoms, rolled back in the Soviet Russia by the mid-1930s are on the agenda again today. The issues of women's rights, gay rights, internationalism, and racial equality are central in the modern world, and especially critical in Putin's Russia and Trump's America. This conference will explore this radically transformative aspect of the Russian Revolution and the way it was reflected in the artistic project of the Russian avant-garde, and discuss how it resonates with the anti-authoritarian tendencies and Civil Rights movements in today's world.

Performative Reading and Curator Exhibition Tour, November 30

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Join us Thursday, November 30, for a special evening in conjunction with Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy. Following a 6pm walkthrough of the exhibition led by curator Masha Chlenova, three actors will perform a reading of exhibiting artist Yevgeniy Fiks's project, Lily Golden, Harry Haywood, Langston Hughes, Yelena Khanga, Claude McKay, Paul Robeson, Robert Robinson on Soviet Jews at 7pm.

The reading traces the history of the Jewish community in the Soviet Union between 1920s and 1980s via memoirs of African-Americans who resided or visited the USSR, and Soviet citizens of African-American descent. These individuals, though they supported the Soviet experiment's radical promises of a new social order, had reservations about Communism's capacity to resolve the issue of racial inequality; the Jews they encountered in the USSR, whom they identified with and felt solidarity towards as a large and oppressed ethnic minority of the former Tsarist Russia, served as an example of the workings of the new system with regards to the issue of race and creed.

This diverse group of historical observers present a variety of accounts of the situation of the Soviet Jews. Some writers have positive views of Soviet achievements in the area of equality, and believe that it could provide a model for African-American integration back home, while others describe the continuing presence of anti-Semitism in Soviet society, notwithstanding the official Communist ideology of internationalism and non-discrimination.

About the actors:  

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Anthony Russell Ten years after making his professional operatic debut, Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell is now a vocalist, composer and arranger specializing in Yiddish song, chazones and Chasidic nigunim. Anthony's work in Jewish music has brought him to stages in Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, New York and Tel Aviv, JCCs in Manhattan and San Francisco, Symphony Space in New York City, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC and Limmud Fests across the United States and Europe. His new album, Convergence, combining a century of African-American and Ashkenazi Jewish music, is set to be released next year.

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Yelena Shmulenson is perhaps best known as the icepick-wielding wife in the Coen brothers’ Oscar-nominated film A Serious Man. Other film & TV: Orange is the New Black, Boardwalk Empire, Robert De Niro’s The Good ShepherdRomeo and Juliet in Yiddish, and more. Stage: five seasons Off-Broadway with the Folksbiene, two at the Ellis Island Theatre, The Golem of Havana (Miami New Drama), COVERS (New York/St.Petersburg/Moscow/Montreal), Knock and Old New Year with Lost&Found, The Essence: A Yiddish Theater Dim Sum (New York/ Stockholm/Toronto/Bucharest, etc.)  She has also been a Yiddish coach/translator for numerous projects, and is working on a one-woman show that’s half autobiographical and half about American Jewish housewife (and executed spy) Ethel Rosenberg.

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Boris Zilberman is an actor, writer, and comedian from New York City. He is a founding member of Lost & Found Theater Project (lnfproject.com) with which he has written and performed in projects such as Covers (2013) Knock (2015), Old New Year (2017) and the podcast Shayna (2016). TV Credits include Perfect Murder (Investigation Discovery), and Monumental Mysteries (Travel Channel). As a comedian, he appeared in the finals of the the national Laughing Skull Comedy Festival (2013), and has studied and performed improv (UCB, PIT, Magnet) since 2008. He is currently the head writer and content creator for children's app MyBuddy.ai

Yevgeniy Fiks and Anton Ginzburg on view at Printed Matter

Stop by Printed Matter to see an installation of prints by Anton Ginzburg and Yevgeniy Fiks, in conjunction with Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacy on view here at IPCNY.

Details at printedmatter.org

Printed Matter, Inc
 231 11th Avenue
New York, NY 10001
www.printedmatter.org

 

Make Your Own Posters at "Obama, Trump, and the Russian Revolution", October 28

On Saturday, October 28, from 1-4pm, artist Yevgeniy Fiks, on view in Russian Revolution: A Contested Legacyand Bushwick Print Lab will lead a propaganda poster-making workshop in conjunction with IPCNY's Printfest student fair. Participants will use materials provided to create their own political posters. 

Fiks explains,  "During and after the 2008 and 2016 US presidential elections, myriad pastiches/memes appeared on the Internet and as protest signs for demonstrations that re-purposed Russian Revolutionary imagery to ridicule Barack Obama or Donald Trump. More recently, it continued in an even more heightened version in a continuing controversy around Trump’s alleged 'Russian connection' produced even more such images, recycling the cold war visual stereotypes. Putting Obama’s or Trump’s head on Lenin’s or Stalin’s is used for a quick political convenience both by conservatives and liberals.”

The popularity of these satirical images showed the usefulness still of Russian Revolutionary or Soviet imagery in contemporary American partisan politics and the continuing effect of anti-communism and anti-sovietism on contemporary American political imagination, both on the left and on the right.

Workshop participants will be offered a selection of Russian Revolutionary propaganda imagery as well as images of current and recent contemporary American politicians and will be invited to re-purpose them to express their own political beliefs in relation to current American politics. The participants are invited to let their political subconscious run loose to reveal what Boris Groys defined as “Russia as the West's subconscious.”