Arts & Entertainment

Zimmerli Art Museum Extends Sokov Exhibit Through Dec. 31

September 13, 2013 at 11:53 AM

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers features the world’s largest collection of art created during the Cold War era by Russian artists willing to risk life and limb to defy Soviet repression. 

 Extended through Dec. 31, “Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects” is the first museum exhibition in the U.S. devoted to the career of Leonid Sokov, one of the most distinctive of these “nonconformist” artists. The exhibition includes 80 works by Sokov, many on view for the first time, ranging from sculptures created in the early 1960s to work created in 2000, more than a decade after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Forty works drawn from the Zimmerli’s Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Soviet Nonconformist Art are accompanied by an equal number of loans from private collectors in the United States and the artist himself. 

 Unlike many of his fellow dissidents who overtly adopted the strategies of the American and European vanguard, in the 1970s and 1980s Sokov preferred to assume the stance of the “simple man” in his art making. In so doing, he won widespread acclaim for roughly hewn and seemingly improvised sculptures and kinetic toy-like figures inspired by Russian folk art. Today Sokov, who is 72 years old and has lived and worked in the New York area since 1980, is widely credited as one of the originators of the Sots Art movement—a Soviet version of Pop Art that emerged in the early 1970s.

Sign Up for E-News

 

“Over the years, Leonid Sokov has employed the forms of naïve art to create a layered and sophisticated body of work,” says Suzanne Delehanty, director of the Zimmerli. “We are proud to present this overview of his career at the Zimmerli, the only museum in the country where it is possible to consider his achievement within the larger context of Soviet nonconformist art. The museum’s Dodge Wing, featuring works by Bulatov, Kabakov, Komar, Melamid, and other leading artists of the Cold War movement, are just steps away from ‘Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects.’“

 

Julia Tulovsky, Associate Curator for Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art at the Zimmerli, has organized “Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects” at a time of increased interest in the artist’s work. In 2012, the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA) presented a major retrospective, to which the Zimmerli was a significant lender, and published a comprehensive accompanying catalogue, to which Tulovsky contributed an essay on Sokov’s art in relation to popular culture.

 

“Lenin, Stalin, Mickey Mouse, and Marilyn Monroe—Sokov spared no iconic figure as he portrayed the absurdities of 20th-century history, politics, and culture,” says Tulovsky. “Sokov is notable for how he embraced the broadest of cultural contexts, both high and low, and Soviet and American.”

 

The tension between the prescribed style of Socialist Realism and Western modernism is a recurring theme in Sokov’s sculpture, one to which he has often returned. The theme is seen in a highlight of the exhibition, an eloquently simple bronze sculpture from 1990 in which Sokov situates two figures facing each other: Lenin on one side and Alberto Giacometti’s existential “Walking Man” on the other. This juxtaposition is also the subject of the centerpiece of the exhibition, the room installation “Shadows of Twentieth-Century Sculptures,” which Sokov created for the Russian Pavilion at the 2001 Venice Biennale. Here 100 miniature replicas of iconic sculptures by such modern masters as Alexander Calder and Constantin Brancusi are placed on a well-lit stand in the center of a 625-square-foot space. As the stand rotates, the tiny sculptures project large moving shadows on the surrounding walls. This poetic tribute to the disproportionate power of art and ideas has never before been seen in the U.S., and only once in Europe after its debut in Venice. 

 

Many of the other works featured in “Ironic Objects” illustrate Sokov’s sly humor. These include “Project to Construct Glasses for Every Soviet Person” (1976), a play on the cliché, “the Soviet way of seeing.” Created at a time when the Soviet regime was touting progress, but most citizens were experiencing severe deprivations, Sokov’s rustic and crudely rendered glasses suggested the poor quality of Soviet industrial production that obscured the view into the “bright Soviet future.” Sokov’s waggish and oversized eyeglasses would have evoked not just smiles, but outright laughter.

 

Two other objects in the exhibition also suggest that Sots Art, while sharing affinities with American Pop Art, requires a different reading that takes into account its historical context. While Pop Art commented on the overabundance of products in a consumer society, Sots Art satirized the overabundance of ideology produced by the communist regime. In the early 1980s, Sokov created a number of sculptures reflecting back on political leaders. Viewers are invited to consider how Nikita Khrushchev, the head of the country from 1958 to 1964, is turned into a roly-poly doll, alluding in a humorous way to Khruschchev’s ability to withstand the political struggles and intrigues that occurred after Stalin's death. The brightly colored papier-mâché and wood sculpture, “Problem” (1976), addresses the tension that occurred between nationalities within the multinational Soviet state, which comprised 15 republics stretching from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Here, Sokov offered absurd, yet humorous and witty, commentary on internal Soviet politics simply by illustrating that most characteristic part of the human face—the nose.  

 

THE ARTIST

In 1986, a groundbreaking exhibition entitled “Sots Art,” curated by Margarita Tupitsyn at The New Museum, drew widespread attention to Sokov and other Soviet nonconformist artists.  Since that time, Sokov’s work has been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world and acquired by many major museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Sokov was born in 1941 in the village of Mikjaliovo, Kalinin (now Tver) region. He moved to Moscow at the age of six and studied at the Moscow Secondary Art School under the auspices of the Russian Academy of Arts where he made lifelong friends who would later form the core of the nonconformist movement: Erik Bulatov, Ivan Chuikov, Ilya Kabakov, Alexander Kosolapov, and Oleg Vassiliev. In 1969, Sokov graduated from the Moscow School of Art and Industry (former Stroganov School), one of the leading art universities in the country, established in 1825 by Count Sergei Stroganov. In 1980, Sokov immigrated to the United States and settled in New York where he reconnected with many the artists he had known since his childhood in Russia.

 

THE CURATOR

The exhibition is curated by Julia Tulovsky, Ph.D., Associate Curator for Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art, Zimmerli Art Museum. She is a specialist in modern and contemporary Russian art and received her Ph.D. from Moscow State University. Before joining the staff of the Zimmerli in 2007, Tulovsky served as Assistant Curator at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and later as Executive Director of the Malevich Society in New York. She has published extensively on Russian art history and contemporary art, both in Russian and English. Tulovsky co-edited a special Russian-American issue of the “Pinakotheke” journal focusing on interrelations and cultural parallels between Russian and American art and architecture. She was general editor of the Zimmerli publication “The Claude and Nina Gruen Collection of Contemporary Russian Art” (2008), as well as a contributor to its major book on Russian contemporary art, “Moscow Conceptualism in Context” (2011), co-published by Prestel, a member of Verlagsgruppe Random House GmbH.

 

NORTON AND NANCY DODGE COLLECTION OF NONCONFORMIST ART FROM THE SOVIET UNION

Through the generosity of the late Norton T. Dodge and his wife Nancy Ruyle Dodge, some 20,000 works created between 1956 and 1986 by nearly 1,000 artists from Moscow, Leningrad, and the former Soviet republics entered the permanent collection of the Zimmerli in 1991. Among 80 works by Sokov in the Dodge Collection, 40 have been selected for “Leonid Sokov: Ironic Objects.”

 

Refurbished in 2012, the Upper Level of the Dodge Wing at the Zimmerli features 126 works of art by such leading nonconformist artists as Grisha Bruskin, Eric Bulatov, Ilya Kabakov, Vitaly Komar, Alexander Melamid, Irina Nakhova, and Oleg Vassiliev, among others, in a range of media, from paintings and sculpture to assemblages and installations.

 

The Zimmerli has issued a number of publications exploring different aspects of the Dodge Collection, including the definitive study “Moscow Conceptualism in Context” by Alla Rosenfeld, published by the Zimmerli Art Museum and Prestel (Munich/Berlin/London/New York 2011).

 

EXHIBITION SUPPORT 

The exhibition and related programs are supported by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund. Additional support has been provided by the Thickman Family Foundation and donors to the Zimmerli’s Annual Exhibition Fund: Sustainer/Voorhees Family Endowment; Supporter/Charles and Caryl Sills and Jerome A. Yavitz Charitable Foundation, Inc.— Stephen Cypen, President.

 

ZIMMERLI ART MUSEUM|RUTGERS

The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.

 

SUPPORT

The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions, and program are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, and the Voorhees Family Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono; and donors, members, and friends of the museum.

 

LOCATION

The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.

 

MUSEUM AND Z CAFÉ HOURS

Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and the first Wednesday of each month (except August), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 

Z Café featuring the Food Architects is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The museum is closed Mondays, major holidays, and the month of August.

 

ADMISSION

Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for 65 and over; and free for museum members, children under 18, and Rutgers students, faculty, and staff (with ID). Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month. For more information, call 848.932.7237 or visit the museum’s website: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu 

 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

St. Paul's Episcopal Church Fundraiser Brings Grammy Award-Winning Hawaiian Musicians to Chatham

January 22, 2017

Long-time Chatham resident Andy Wang is producing a fundraiser that will present The Masters of Hawaiian Music Tour featuring Grammy award-winning artists George Kahumoku, Jr., Nathan Aweau and David “Kawika” Kahiapo at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 200 Main Street, Chatham on Monday, Feb. 27, 2017.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $25 advance purchase/$30 at the door ...

February Festivities Planned For Trailside

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders presents special programs for families during the Presidents’ Day Holiday.  Programs are recommended for families with children ages five and up.  

“February Festivities at Trailside offers educational and imaginative programs to delight people of all ages,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H.

Learn About Dorothy Day, A Candidate For Sainthood

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - A former co-worker of Dorothy Day will discuss the life of the co-founder of The Catholic Worker at 7:30 pm on Monday, Feb. 6, at Faith Lutheran Church 524 South St.,  New Providence.

By any measure, Dorothy Day lived a fascinating life. She was a journalist, activist, single mother, convert, Catholic laywoman, and cofounder of the Catholic Worker Movement.

Taking ...

Free Public Wi-Fi in Union County Parks and Facilities

The Watchung Stables is one of six new sites in Union County Parks that offer free public Wi-Fi access. There are now a total of 11 county parks and facilities that offer free Wi-Fi.

“We are committed to ensuring that our recreation facilities are up to date and welcoming to a broad range of activities.” said Chairman Bruce Bergen. “Whether it is surfing the ...

Union County College President McMenamin Elected Vice Chair of Middle States Commission on Higher Education

January 22, 2017

CRANFORD, NJ – Union County College President, Dr. Margaret M. McMenamin, was elected to serve as Vice Chair of the Executive Committee for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and began her term in January 2017.  She has been serving as a commissioner with MSCHE since 2014.  As Vice Chair she will provide policy leadership to the organization’s ...

Determined Ciattarelli Kicks Off GOP Gubernatorial Campaign, Vows to Beat Cancer

January 20, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – GOP gubernatorial candidate and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli minced no words when he greeted hundreds of supporters at his kick-off reception last night, just two weeks after a Statehouse press conference where he announced that he was undergoing radiation and recovering from a Nov. 15 operation for throat cancer.

Standing behind the podium in the ballroom at the ...

It’s Go Time.

This one goes out to all the juniors out there. 

I can feel you squirming in your seats, “Who me?” Yes, you!  The time has come to turn that college dial up a notch.  “But I still have so much time left!”  But you really don’t.  Ideally in a year from now you’ll be sifting through acceptance letters and weighing college options ...

Mayor's Round Table on the Road with the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights: Volunteerism Makes a Difference in the Community

GILLETTE, NJ - Mayor's Round Table is a monthly show hosted by Dr. Donald DeFabio, who sits with Mayor Robert Woodruff to talk about current issues that affect the township as well as answer questions submitted by citizens. This month, the Mayor's Round Table went on location and were guests of the Rotary Club of Berkeley Heights on Dec. 16 at Chimney Rock Inn in ...

Determined Ciattarelli Kicks Off GOP Gubernatorial Campaign, Vows to Beat Cancer

January 20, 2017

BRIDGEWATER, NJ – GOP gubernatorial candidate and state Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli minced no words when he greeted hundreds of supporters at his kick-off reception last night, just two weeks after a Statehouse press conference where he announced that he was undergoing radiation and recovering from a Nov. 15 operation for throat cancer.

Standing behind the podium in the ballroom at the ...

Ciattarelli Announces Successful Throat Cancer Surgery, Scales Back Gubernatorial Campaign Temporarily

TRENTON, NJ - State Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli, R-16th, a candidate for the Republican nomination for governor, announced yesterday that he had undergone successful surgery for throat cancer in November, and will be curtailing his campaign schedule temporarily.

Gearing up for a primary campaign against several other Republicans who want to run for New Jersey, Ciattarelli, a Hillsborough ...

Back Pain & Sciatica: Fix it Forever

Back pain is the second reason after the common cold for visits to the doctor: 80 % of the American public has back pain of sufficient intensity to seek care and treatment. Sciatica, pain shooting down the leg, is often related to back pain and is successfully treated with non-surgical and natural treatment.

Before any treatment can begin for your back and leg pain an accurate diagnosis and ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, January 22, 1:00 PM

Ogden Memorial Presbyterian Church, Chatham

Concert on Main: Eunbi Kim, pianist

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_bddd72347d3c520cd69f_42e7e1156d4a48780f51_healthy_combo

Mon, January 23, 9:30 AM

Berkeley Heights YMCA, Berkeley Heights

Healthy Combo- New Program!

Health & Wellness

Mon, January 23, 2:00 PM

SAGE Eldercare, Summit

Caregiver Support Group for Spouses

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_dfd267ccb797dbc56442_7ea7a7e2a80874297b7a_b95a7410f856464ed72a_97359fcab90fec3603a0_bridge

Tue, January 24, 12:30 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Advanced Beginner Weekly Bridge Lessons

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_841a6823a401229d434f_c3b520549ea27e242c11_a6c9b6ee344a4dfedfbf_afterschool_sports

Tue, January 24, 3:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Afterschool Sports For Middle Schoolers

Sports

Carousel_image_170e2e2e84101730d15d_212437230bf32b057051_5e2dc7fe89499df91729_teen_yoga

Tue, January 24, 4:00 PM

Summit YMCA, Summit

Teen Yoga

Health & Wellness

Berkeley Heights Strikers FC Wins 3 X 3 DTS Tournament

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - The Berkeley Heights Strikers FC girls U8 team won the Girls 3v3 indoor Tournament "U8 Girls" bracket held at DTS Soccer Centers in Somerville.

The Strikers, a festival team of 17 first and second 1st graders representing the Berkeley Heights Youth Soccer Club, entered two teams in the bracket. The "blue" squad went ...