Lifshitz Institute (2004–2005, 45 min) is Russian artist Dmitry Gutov’s impressive film about the Marxist philosopher and art critic Mikhail Lifshitz. Born in 1905, Lifshitz is, as the film states at the beginning, “one of the most enigmatic and paradoxical figures of the Communist epoch. No other Soviet thinker’s name has ever provoked so much outrage; no other name arouses as much interest as does Lifshitz today.” His most significant theoretical work, The Crisis of Ugliness. From Cubism to Pop-Art (1968), subjects the entire aesthetic project of the 20th century to a total critique. Interweaving documentary material, biographical information, and details of Soviet and recent Russian history, Gutov’s film reflects the contradictory reception of Lifshitz’s writings in the Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia as well as in the West throughout the 20th century – and allows, at the same time, insights into today’s Moscow art scene.
Dmitry Gutov is one of the most renowned contemporary artists in Moscow as well as the founder of the Lifshitz Institute in 1994. Recent exhibitions include the Third Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moscow; documenta 12, Kassel; Thaw: Russian Art. From Glasnost to the Present, Chelsea Art Museum, New York; La 52 Biennale di Venezia; Repetition, Canon, Comeback, Deceleration, Stupor, The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. He lives and works in Moscow.
Alfredo Jaar is an artist, architect, and filmmaker who lives and works in New York. He was born in Santiago de Chile in 1956. His work has been shown extensively around the world. He has participated in the Biennales of Venice, São Paulo, Sydney, Istanbul, Kwangju, Johannesburg, and Seville as well as the documenta exhibitions in 1987 and 2002 in Kassel. Important individual exhibitions include the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (1992); Whitechapel, London (1992); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1992); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1994); Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome (2005); Fundación Telefónica, Santiago (2006); and Musée des Beaux Arts, Lausanne (2007).
Goethe-Institut Wyoming Building
5 East 3rd Street
Screening with an introduction by Alfredo Jaar