Nizhny Tagil Artists’ Foundation was founded in 2020 in order to write the history of contemporary art in Nizhny Tagil. It focuses on the preservation of material and digital traces of the local art scene over the past 30 years. Its archive contains artifacts donated by local artists, from Tagil School practitioners to contemporary creators.
The term “Tagil School”, introduced by the Moscow-based art historian Anatoly Kantor, refers to a group of artists who were active in the second half of the 1970s and their students. The core of the school were Vladimir Nasedkin, Oleg Podolsky, Evgeny Bortnikov, and Vladimir Antony. Their students (active from the late 1980 onwards) were Tatyana Badanina, Diana and Sergey Bryukhanov, Larisa and Nikolay Grachikov, Vladimir Zuev, Oleg Lystsov, Refat Mamutov, Svetlana Bakshaeva, Elena Chebakova, and Valery Khasanov.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, the local art scene revived thanks to projects at Nizhny Tagil Museum of Fine Art. A key event was a series of readings entitled Contemporary Art: Trends, History, Perspectives, which was organized in 1999 with a grant from the Open Society Institute (George Soros Foundation). Invited speakers included curators Joseph Backstein, Leonid Bazhanov, and Andrei Erofeev. In 2001, the non-governmental organization Avtory Yavlenii [Creators of Phenomena], with the support of the Museum, received another grant from the Institute to hold the international seminar Art Ecology in an Industrial Landscape, as a result of which artists from Prague, Sofia, Moscow, and Kaliningrad produced public art works for the city. Art students at Nizhny Tagil State Pedagogical Institute learned about new practices in contemporary art and introduced them into their work, forming a number of art groups (Zer Gut, Konservator, and Sistra).
In the 2010s, the groups Laboratoria Sobytii, ZhKP, and Second Hand became the key players on the scene. At different times, their artists founded the self-organized galleries Kubiva and Narodnaya and the Yaitso space. At the same time Space Place Gallery opened at the Central City Library and Art Meeting Gallery at the Park Inn Hotel. In 2015 and 2017, Nizhny Tagil was one of the host cities for the Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art.
The foundation holds materials donated by artists Ksenia Koshurnikova, Alisa Gorshenina, Larisa and Nikolay Grachikov, Oleg Blyablyas (Lystsov), Sergey Bryukhanov, and Vladimir Seleznyov. A large part of the collection is made up of the notebooks of ZhkP and the digital photo archives of Ksenia Koshurnikova and Larisa and Nikolay Grachikov.