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New Left Review 32, March-April 2005

In the age of franchise museums and mega-shows, what role for the artist? Borrowings from the revolutionary avant-garde in the practices of present-day creator-impresarios, seamlessly fusing the realms of commerce and culture—and the refusenik stance of Kabakov’s conceptual counter-projects.



Stroll around Moscow, and soon enough you will come face to face with the post-Soviet avant-garde: Volkswagens emblazoned with the bold, quasi-constructivist logo of the Avant-Garde Bank, a corporate-finance outfit set up in 1994. Apparently, the legacy of Soviet modernism taps into a Muscovite social imaginary where commerce, Constructivism, finance and revolution have become entirely comfortable bedfellows. For Russia’s new business class, Pavel Mansurov’s 1920s design undoubtedly evokes a pleasing mixture of domestic cultural prestige and risk-taking audacity.

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Matthew Jesse Jackson, ‘Managing the Avant-Garde’, NLR 32: £3

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