News of faculty

02 Mar 2013

«I have always done only what I wanted to»

Joseph Buckstein - one of the most influential members of the art-community whose name is often used as a synonym for the Russian modern art, which was exactly the subject of the presentation by Mr. Joseph Markovich to the students of «Art management and gallery business» RMA program.

Joseph Markovich, in the 60s - 70s the art was a reflection of the time and events that transpired in that period. Did that socio-political influence on art ever change since those days?

No custodian or an art manager can avoid having to directly relate to the current political and artistic context. Exhibitions in 70's -80's were the manifestation of the political and artistic principles of those days. Back then things were more honest, because the market wasn't really fully there. And the role of an artist was placed much higher back then, something that was well captured in the words of Eugene Yevtushenko who famously wrote «A poet in Russia is more than a poet». This passage had fully described the reality. Nowadays, everything is different, we have witnessed a complete and unmitigated triumph of capitalism. One could go as far as to conclude that Russia is no longer in need of the big artist, and that all demands are narrowed down to the market driven elementary level. The art has now completely turned into a business.

While the art scene was forced to stay underground, it had accumulated a substantial energy that eventually let to a massive outburst of the artistic expression in the 80s. Do you think we will be experiencing such breakthroughs ever again?

You are right. Our generation had tried to realize its potential during the «enlightenment epoch», as I call it having fed off the potential that got accumulated in the 60s and 70s. Today's most significant problem of Modern Art - is a deficit of ideas, which is a direct result of the passivity of the artistic institutions.

Could it be said that in the 60s -90s period the artistic community was fragmented into the so called clubs of interest? Don't you think that along with the development of the market, the very phenomena of artistic community had practically vanished away?

In Russia today, we have a very weak artistic environment, and the art itself had seized to directly address the social problems. The matters also get exacerbated by the diminishing interest toward Russian art by the world's collectors, and as a result also by the dealers and galleries. For example, each second gallery in New York is interested in working with the Chinese artists, in great part because the Chinese Diaspora in the US treasures and buys this art. But when our nationals travel abroad they right away start buying the Western works of art. And the main reason for this, as I see it, is rooted in the fact that we still have a very weak civil society that expresses little interest to its own culture.

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