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|The New Artists and the Mayakovsky Friends Club (1986-1990)
Text: Hannelore Fobo, 2021
Chapter 3. Source material and references
previous page: Chapter 2. Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovskys
next page: Chapter 4. Index of documents 1986-1987
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Documents on the Mayakovsky Friends Club as a registered association are available only for its first year, September 1986 to end of 1987 – a period for which only a few public exhibitions or other public events are known.
Exactly the opposite situation exists for the period from 1988 to 1990, where all mentions of the Club relate to exhibitions and none to official documents.
This situation almost automatically divides the study of the history of the Mayakovsky Friends Club into two parts. I will first examine the Club‘s foundation period – its first year as a (registered) association – and, following this, analyse a number of activities carried out under the label Mayakovsky Friends Club between 1988 and 1990. It turns out that this "second period" of Club activities – mainly exhibitions – was independent of any formal or institutional basis the Mayakovsky Friends Club might have obtained previously.
Printed documentation informing us about the Mayakovsky Friends Club as a registered association is from Sergey Chubraev‘s archive, as are those documents relating to Club of the Appreciation of Amateur Creativity I already published in my article "Timur Novikov’s New Artists Lists” more >>. All documents were formerly in the archive of Vladislav Gutsevich, who played an important role in creating the structure of these associations and was the chairman of the Club of the Appreciation of Amateur Creativity.
Most documents are undated carbon copies of official texts relating to administrative procedures or requirements. The number of signatories varies. In most cases, the sender is Timur Novikov. These documents have been compared and completed with information from other sources, predominantly with information available through Ksenia Novikova‘s chronicle, published in the New Artists exhibition catalogue of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, MMOMA, 2012, pp. 271-289 more about the exhibtion curated by Ekaterina Andreeva >>.
Additional information from the chronicle includes the foundation of the Mayakovsky Friends Club, but also exhibitions where the club‘s name appears in one way or another.
Andrey Khlobystin’s book Schizorevolution (see introduction) is another important source, especially the chapter about the NChVCh club, which allows us to compare the Mayakovsky Friends Club with a similar club founded at the same time and under the same conditions.
With respect to Ksenia Novikova’s chronicle, I should like to add an explanatory note. Ksenia Novikova (1960-2016), Timur Novikov’s companion and widow, compiled an extensive chronicle of New Artists activities, for which she used Timur‘s archive and some other sources. Ever since the publication of her scrupulous work – which includes the period up to 2008 with retrospective exhibitions and lectures – it has indeed been an essential source for my research in the field of Leningrad art of the 1980s.
Unfortunately, the MMOMA catalogue offers no references to the sources Ksenia Novikova used. Consequently, original documents can be neither quoted directly nor verified or checked for additional information. For instance, concerning New Artists exhibition dates, the chronicle is much more specific than Timur Novikov‘s ten pages compilation of New Artists‘ members exhibtions up to the year 1987.  It would be interesting to know Ksenia Novikova’s sources.
On the other hand, Timur Novikov’s information isn’t always reliable. In the 1980s, he told (E-E) Evgenij Kozlov of group exhibitions where Kozlov's works were shown, although checking som of these exhbitions, I found out that this wasn‘t always the case. On the other hand, Kozlov's name is missing in some other exhibitions, where his paintings are actually documented. An example for the former is DaDA Majakowski (Rotterdam, 1988) more >>, where Kozlov’s name is wrongly included in the chronicle, and an example for the latter is the so-called "Exhibtion of Banners" at the Tate, Liverpool more >>, which mentions only Bugaev and Novikov, but not Kozlov (see also Chapter 17).
Generally speaking, when comparing chronicle entries with pictures or documents available to me – from Kozlov‘s and other archives – I have occasionally discovered errors in the chronicle, e.g. in regard to artist lineups in exhibitions, exhibition dates and places or names of exhibitions. Such discrepancies are mentioned in the text. It is possible that errors of the same type also exist in those unchecked chronicle entries I am referring to in the text. But as long as the chronicle information is not contradicting other documents, I will assume that it is factually correct.
 Timur Novikov's lists present (group) exhibitions of Sergei Bugaev, Vladislav Gutsevich, Oleg Kotelnikov, Evgenij Kozlov, Timur Novikov, Inal Savchenkov, Ivan Sotnikov, and Novikov's autobiography. The undated document can be accessed through Andrey Khlyobistin archive in the collection of the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Russia. External link >>
next page: Chapter 4. Index of documents 1986-1987
Uploaded 17 August 2021