Joseph Backstein’s video archive features documentation of around seventy important Russian art events from the 1980s to the early 2000s. These include events organized by the Avant-Garde Club and Collective Actions group, the exhibition at Butyrskaya Prison (1991), the first exhibitions of Soviet nonconformist artists abroad (such as Between Spring and Summer: Soviet Conceptual Art in the Era of Late Communism, USA, 1990–1991), and artists’ visits to the UK, Germany, Italy, and France in the early 1990s. The archive also contains footage of interviews, lectures, conferences, visits to artists’ studios and apartments, discussions, and installation of exhibitions and art fairs. Backstein’s video archive allows viewers to trace the life of the artistic circle associated with Moscow Conceptualism and pinpoint the emergence of new names and movements on the Moscow art scene.
Joseph Backstein (b. 1945, Moscow) is a curator, art historian, and critic who has been active on the Russian art scene since the 1980s. The head of the Russian Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA, Moscow) since 1991, he was also among the founders of the Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art, which he co-curated in 2005 and 2007 and headed as artistic director from 2009 to 2016.