If Our Tin Can Could Speak: Mikhail Livshitz and the Soviet 1960s

From March 7 to May 13, 2018, an exhibition dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of one of the key artistic events of 1968 in the Soviet Union: the publication of the book by the philosopher and art critic Mikhail Lifshitz, The Crisis of Disgrace, was held at the Garage Museum with the support of the Aksenov Family Foundation.

The research project “If Our Tin Could Speak ... Mikhail Lifshitz and the Soviet Sixties” was initiated by curators David Riff and Dmitry Gutov and included archival research, translation of Lifshitz's texts into English, and a series of public discussions about Lifshitz's legacy.

Since November 2015, the research group has examined more than 200 folders of documents from public archives — such as the State Archives of Literature and Art (RGALI) and the Archives of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Central Archives of the Social and Political History of Moscow (TsAOPIM), the private archive of Lifshits's daughter Anna Mikhailovna Pichikyan and a number of other sources. Among the documents the researchers worked with were unpublished personal files and records of political purges; correspondence, manuscripts, transcripts of lectures and personal photographs of Lifshitz.

The usual "academic" research is complemented by a large-scale visual online and offline experiment — a visual atlas of cross-references and texts that became the starting point for Lifshitz's theories, their institutional and everyday contexts.

Artists: Albrecht Durer, Larisa Kirillova, Roy Lichtenstein, Oleg Filatchev, Valery Khabarov, Andy Warhol.

Exhibition catalogue

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