The Factory meets the USSR

St. Petersburg's underground art scenes of the '80s are going on show next month

Club of Friends
"Sergei ‘Afrika’ Bugaev and Katya-Kurilka at the ASSA gallery", 1986. Photo taken by Sergei Borisov. Courtesy of Timur Novikov’s archive

New York and The Factory have become synonymous with contemporary art in the '80s but little has been said about our comrades across the border. In the dying decade of the Soviet regime, Russia's underground art scene was kicking off with the creation of St. Petersburg's New Artists Group. Founded by artist/philosopher Timur Novikov and modeled on The Factory, the movement grew and the unique clash of art and youth culture got the group noticed by Warhol himself, with their work cropping up at gigs, screenings and parties around Russia. 

Not content with just the one movement Novikov went on to found The New Academy in '89, shaking up Russian art with a homoerotic spin plus the addition of Vlad Mamyshev Monroe, a performance artist who used to dress up as Marilyn Monroe amongst other famous stars. Now in this new exhibition Calvert 22 Gallery, in collaboration with the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, are showcasing rare works from both movements which contributed to underground scene and beyond.

Club of Friends will run from 2 April – 25 May at Calvert 22 Gallery. 

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