2014 Art Films Festival

Presented by Russian American Cultural Center, in collaboration with the Russian and Slavic Studies Program, Hunter College, CUNY.

Event Venue:

Ida K. Lang Recital Hall at Hunter College
695 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065

Event Date:

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Russia - USA | 2007 | 111 min | bilingual: Russian/ English with voice over translation

The documentary is inspired by the exhibition "RUSSIA!" that took place at the Solomon R. Guggenheim museum in 2005 – 2006. That groundbreaking exhibition featured more than 275 of the greatest masterpieces of Russian Art, spanning the history from Thirteenth Century to the Present, large number of these artworks have never been exhibited outside Russia.

Introducing  the international public to some of the most valued artistic treasures brought together from Russia’s greatest museums, this exhibition  was unique in scope and content, in keeping with the Guggenheim’s distinguished history of presenting groundbreaking exhibitions of Russian art, including Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: Selections from the George Costakis Collection (1981), The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915–1932 (1992), Amazons of the Avant-Garde (2000), and Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism (2003).

The documentary presents a fresh look at Russian culture by revealing its history, the soul and the character of the Russian nation, helping viewers better understand the Russian people and their sensibilities through the amazing art they have managed to create over the centuries of their complex and difficult history.

Q & A Session with Nina Zaretskaya

7:00 PM | Dedicated to the 100 years of Suprematism, an art movement that laid the basis of visual culture of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Lazar Khidekel  by Olga Radvilovitch and Elena Plugatireva

Documentary | Russia| KanalKultura | 2011 | 25 min | Russian with English subtitles

Lazar Khidekel Element – Suprematism for Humanity

Animation |14th International Architecture Biennale| Venice, Italy

Moscow Strelka Institute | 2014 | 3 min | English

Program dedicated to 100 years of Suprematism, 95 years of UNOVIS (The Affirmers of the New Art) and 110th Anniversary of Lazar Khidekel (1904-1986), Suprematist artist, visionary architect, one of the founding members of UNOVIS, celebrated today for his role in the transition of Suprematism from painting to architecture, to a movement which found its expression in real life - visible today in architecture, the processes of urbanization, and the futuristic yet environmentally-conscious city planning.

Suprematism was invented by Kazimir Malevich in 1913, first publicly displayed in 1915 and four years later, a group of young artistsin Vitebsk Art School were inspired by its implications and embraced it as the vision of the future for art, architecture, and design. Driven by a paramount urge to transcend boundaries between artistic mediums, UNOVIS created a radical language that briefly became synonymous with the highest ideals of the revolution.

The most prominent artists to ever emerge from the Malevich circle was Lazar Khidekel who truly grasped Suprematism’s essence, its significance and potential, further developing Suprematist ideas, and implementing them in his own oeuvre – art, architecture, design and theoretical works through his long life.

Lazar Khidekel  is a part of a series of art documentaries Taming of the Talent, focusing on the destiny of the avant-garde artists  whose youth has fallen to the years of 1920s, the time of big expectations and the short lived  romance with the revolution. Unlike many of the "first names" of the Russian avant-garde, the heroes of these documentaries did not emigrate from the Soviet Union, they also have not been touched by the arrests and repressions. They lived long life, participating in the construction period of the 1930s, defense industry during the WWII and post-war reconstruction of the country as was the case with Lazar Khidekel, but they were forbidden to publicly show or openly teach the avant-garde art. Nevertheless, today the work and lasting achievement of the artists are rediscovered and internationally recognized.

Alexander Borovsky, Svetlana Domogatskaya, Irina Karasik, Natalia Kozyreva, Mark and Regina Khidekel, Lyudmila Martz and Natalia Semenova are among art historians and museum directors interviewed in the series.

The Animation was created for the Venice Biennial 2014 as a part of the installation: Lazar Khidekel Element – Suprematism for Humanity, recognizing his contribution as one of the twenty ideas that Russia presented to the world.

As Daniel Libeskind states on the occasion of the Lazar Khidekel Award for young architects:

"In my view Lazar Khidekel is one of the greatest of innovators in architecture in our times. His conception of space, function, and modernity is something which has inspired me ever since I discovered his drawings. In Khidekel's work the word 'innovation' is not a footnote but is the central spirit of his buildings… He is not a mere visionary of the past, but an architect whose work should inspire all of us to become as young as his ethereal vision.

7:30 PM | Fate of Russian Avant-garde Architecture today

Away from All Suns by Isabella Willinger

Germany| 2013 | 74 min| Russian with English subtitles

A journey through time to the revolutionary 1920s and a portrait of Russian society today. In the back alleys of Moscow, forgotten treasures lurk: Utopian buildings, built in the 1920s in the spirit of Russian constructivism and three Muscovites who are struggling with the building’s heritage.

One is fighting to save her apartment building and a printing plant next door – the only construction left by avant-garde artist and architect El Lissitzky. The young artist is striving to create  with his friends an artists´ commune in the ruin of the former house of collective living. Architect wants to bring back to life an architectural landmark – yet, he has to remodel it. “All, who’ve ever been in this house, are infected”, the architect says. 

What do these buildings hold for us? What will be wiped out, once the last ones fall prey to decay or into the hands of real estate-speculators?
The filmmaker works with passages of manifestos by Rodchenko, El Lissitzky and Vesnin, as well as rare documentary footage from early Soviet film, among others by Dziga Vertov.

Q&A with Regina Khidekel

9:00 PM  | Reception

Free of charge