Andrei Erofeev archive

The Archive

In 2018, Garage acquired the archive of curator and art historian Andrei Erofeev.

Andrei Erofeev belongs to a generation of art historians who were the first in the country to take up the new profession of contemporary art curator. He was involved in building emerging institutions and became the first museum curator to define the concept and initial collection for a future museum of contemporary Russian art. He was the founder and director of the first museum institution in the Soviet Union that worked with contemporary art of the time, the “experimental department of the newest trends” at the State Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts (now Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve), which would form the basis of the Contemporary Art Department at the State Tretyakov Gallery.

As an art historian he collected a large volume of photographic and video materials, documenting various generations of artists, from the nonconformists of the 1960s to the actionists of the 2010s. As a curator and museum worker, having been in constant communication with numerous institutions, cultural leaders, and journalists, he amassed publications and documents concerning the everyday life of museums and the Miniustry of Culture. Erofeev’s archive documents a large number of events and covers a long period in history. The exhibitions covered were not only curated by him (he curated more than 50 shows), but also include those organized by other representatives of the Moscow art scene.

A large part of materials in the archive is stored on analogue carriers: they comprise physical documentation relating to curatorial and institutional practice, such as contracts, donation agreements, exhibition plans, and negatives and prints capturing events and exhibitions, which are rarely available through open sources. A special section of the archive is devoted to one of the first lawsuits against contemporary art, which involved Erofeev as the curator of the scandalous exhibition Forbidden Art (2006). His work as a critic is documented in the section of the archive that includes his articles, catalogue introductions, press commentaries, and numerous video-recorded interviews and conversations with artists.

About the author

Andrei Erofeev (b. 1956, Paris) is an art historian and curator. He studied history at Moscow State University. In 1989, he joined the Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts (now Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve), where he was actively involved in building the first state collection of contemporary (postwar) art with a special focus on nonconformist and avant-garde artists. From 2001 to 2008, he was a head of the Contemporary Art Department at the State Tretyakov Gallery, to which the collection he had gathered at Tsaritsyno Museum-Reserve had been transferred. Since 2008, he has worked as an independent curator, critic, and contemporary art expert. He is the author of numerous articles on contemporary art. He was a member of the jury of the Innovation and Kandinsky prizes. As an expert advisor he was involved in building several private collections, including those of Shalva Breus, Igor Tsukanov, and Vladimir Antonichuk. Since 2017, he is a co-chair at the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). He is a recipient of the French Order of Arts and Letters.

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