Conference by Nicolai Punin

April 19, 2012

Malevich in the West


This story could begin in different places and at different times. It could begin today at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where thousands of visitors see and appreciate paintings by Kazimir Malevich daily—including White on White, continuously on display since 1936. Or it could begin in Moscow, at the Tretiakov Gallery, in the recently opened galleries exhibiting the Russian/Soviet avant-garde, almost empty except for ever-present women-guards. There is hardly anyone to be found these days in front of the “Black Square”, which had not been on display in the Soviet Museums for many decades.

How can one explain these two strangely opposing scenes? How did it come to be that one of the most important artists of the twentieth century is respected and appreciated in the West, while neglected and almost forgotten in the land where he was born and worked his entire life?

VOX is delighted to welcome Nicolai Punin in Montreal. In the context of our inaugural exhibition Art Histories, he has kindly accepted our invitation to give a conference on Kazimir Malevich. Mr. Punin, who lives and works in St. Petersburg, was a friend and contemporary of Malevich. This slide-lecture aims to follow important historical moments of the reception of his work in Western Europe and the USA, from its earliest encounters with Futurism until the present-day appreciations of Suprematism.

The lecture will be in English.


Art Histories
2012.03.16 - 05.19

Of the countless artists who have engaged in institutional critiques, few have paid much heed to art history. And yet the history of art imposes, far less…

Read more