moscow: moscow diaries

© moscow museum of modern art

as part of carte blanche, an art programme of the moscow museum of modern art which invites art institutions to implement their own curatorial initiatives on its premises, the institute currently hosts the moscow diaries exhibition by the center for experimental museology and the museum of american art in berlin. the show explores innovative approaches to art theory and practice, zooming in on issues around authenticity and the role of the museum in defining a work of art. two trips made to moscow in the late 1920s serve as a starting point for the showcase – the first, by german philosopher walter benjamin in 1926, and the second by alfred h. barr, the founding director of moma in new york city, two years later. during his visit to the russian capital, barr had a chance to see the works of kazimir malevich that would later play an important role in his story of 20th century modern art. the russian artist was given a solo exhibition at the tretyakov gallery in moscow, curated by aleksei fedorov-davydov, a specialist who believed in incorporating marxist sociology into the museum displays.

benjamin's visit was related to his desire to see first-hand the promise offered by the proletarian state, and he met writer sergei tretyakov who it is believed became a key source for benjamin’s famous essay the author as producer. the exhibition, in part, reconsiders fragments of the 1936 moma exhibition cubism and abstract art curated by barr, and looks at the moment malevich became an integral part of the story of modernism worldwide. a second part imagines a meeting between barr and benjamin at the home of tretyakov, mapping outcomes from their encounter and reflecting on the experimental displays of fedorov-davydov. the exhibition examines the background for, and the development of, ongoing debates around aesthetics in the 20th and 21st centuries, based on the fictional and historical intersections of people, events and ideas [on through aug 20]. location: moscow museum of modern art, 10/2 gogolevskiy bulvar [khamovniki].

© moscow museum of modern art