Floating Worlds and Future Cities

Curated by Dr. Regina Khidekel, the exhibition includes paintings, drawings, period photographs, UNOVIS documents, publications, architectural models and letters.

Floating Worlds and Future Cities: The Genius of Lazar Khidekel, Suprematism, and the Russian Avant-Garde
YIVO Institute at the Center for Jewish History
15 West 16th Street, Manhattan
Sunday, April 21, 2013 - Symposium, exhibition opening & reception
3:00pm Symposium | 5:00pm Exhibition Opening & Reception

Floating Worlds and Future Cities: The Genius of Lazar Khidekel, Suprematism, and the Russian Avant-Garde will present the comprehensive exhibition in the United States of the work of the great artist, architect, designer and theoretician, Lazar Khidekel (1904-1986). Lazar Khidekel worked closely with Marc Chagall, El Lissitzky and Kazimir Malevich in Vitebsk in the years 1918-1922, where he became an important proponent and theoretician of the avant-garde movement known as Suprematism and a founding member of the UNOVIS group (Affirmers of New Art), which included other notable artists such as Kazimir Malevich, El Lissitsky, Nina Kogan and Ilya Chashnik. This exhibition and accompanying symposium and catalog will explore Khidekel’s biography and work, his contribution to the Russian avant-garde, the glory of Vitebsk (the Paris of the East, as it was known during this period), and focus on Lazar Khidekel's role in the transition of Suprematism from painting to architecture, cosmic urbanization, and radical yet environmentally conscious city planning of the future.

Curated by Dr. Regina Khidekel, the exhibition will include paintings, drawings, period photographs, UNOVIS documents, publications and letters drawn from the Khidekel Family Archive, as well as architectural models.

Works of Lazar Khidekel were shown in the U.S., Europe and Russia, including solo exhibitions in Magnes Museum in Berkeley, 2004, and in Haus Konstruktiv and The Leuenhof, Zurich, 2010-2012.
Lazar Khidekel's manifesto AERO. Articles and Projects, Vitebsk, 1920, has been included in the "Timeline" of the Haus Konsstruktiv's COMPLETE CONCRETE exhibition on the 100 years of development of constructivist, concrete and conceptual art and its effect on the present.

About the Symposium | Speakers

Dr. Jonathan Brent, Executive Director, YIVO Institute
Opening remarks

Dr. Maria Kokkori, Research Fellow, The Art Institute of Chicago
Vitebsk Art School: Lazar Khidekel and Kazimir Malevich's teaching philosophy

Ginés Garrido, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
The Dream of Flight. On the gravity-defying nature of a new Landscape Infrastructure

Dr. Regina Khidekel, President, Lazar Khidekel Society
Malevich, Khidekel and Vitebsk

Professor Benjamin Harshav, Yale University
Chagall, Lissitsky, and Khidekel

Professor Constantine Boym, Designer
From the Spoon to the City

Dr. Mark Khidekel, Architect
The development of Russian Avant-garde Ecological themes to solve Architectural challenges of the 21st century postindustrial civilization

The exhibition catalog sponsored by the Lazar Khidekel Society. Click here to view the catalog

Sunday, April 21, 2013 - Symposium, exhibition opening & reception
3:00pm Symposium | 5:00pm Exhibition Opening & Reception

Exhibition Opening & Reception Exhibition on view through June 30

Floating Worlds and Future Cities: The Genius of Lazar Khidekel, Suprematism and the Russian Avant-Garde.  Catalog in conjunction with the exhibition at YIVO, NY.  Lazar Khidekel Society, NY, 2013

Regina Khidekel, editor and chronology

Maria Kokkori and Alexander Bouras, The Suprematist line: Kazimir Malevich and Lazar Khidekel

Gines Garrido, Anti-Gravity Urban Visions for a New World

Roman Khidekel, From Visionary to Reality

ABOUT YIVO: Founded in 1925, the YIVO Institute is headquartered in New York City, and is the world's premier teaching and research institute devoted to East European Jewish Studies with specializations in the Yiddish language, literature, and folklore; the Holocaust and the American Jewish experience. www.yivo.org

ABOUT LAZAR KHIDEKEL SOCIETY: Founded by the family of Lazar Khidekel and a group of distinguished art historians, museum specialists, and art supporters under the auspices of the RACC in New York, the Lazar Khidekel Society aims to sustain and preserve Lazar Khidekel's legacy in art, architecture, and design, and to advance through research, publications and exhibitions, the recognition of Lazar Khidekel (1904, Vitebsk – 1986, Leningrad), as one of the titans of the Russian Avant-garde, particularly the Suprematist movement, that laid the foundation for art and architecture of the 20th and 21st centuries.

More about Lazar Khidekel's works www.lazarkhidekel.com
Lazar Khidekel Society www.russianamericanculture.com/Mission.php

Insightful article Discovering Khidekel | WAI Architecture Think Tank Archinect.com:

Lazar Khidekel's "abstract megaliths were the complete opposite of the propaganda fueled aesthetics, the banners and slogans, and the images of the metal and concrete behemoths that both the Constructivists and Boris Iofan (Palace of the Soviets) were sticking on the urban fabric of the Old Russian Cities. In these (Khidekel's) images nothing is left of the visual symptoms of the revolution. With each brushstroke of watercolor the Bolshevik utopia of utilitarian icons was painted obsolete. With the elongated appearance of each monochromatic volume a new form of revolution was achieved.

Khidekel architectural visions transcended the rhetorical games of the revolution by developing complete cities out of sublime architecture. Long before Friedman’s Architecture Mobile, Constant’s New Babylon, and Isozaki’s Clusters in the Air, Khidekel imagined a world of horizontal skyscrapers that through their Suprematist weightless dynamism seemed to float ad infinitum across the surface of earth.

Like a Nietzschean visionary clearly ahead of his time, Khidekel not only announced the advent of the suspended cities that would later become the tour de force of the avant-garde in the sixties but he, like Malevich in art, reached a level of abstraction that goes beyond a specific historical period, developing on its way a regenerating form of architectural avant-garde that always looks to the future and that even today - eighty years later - remains revolutionary.

NY Times - Spare Times

Russia Beyond Headlines


The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research is proud to be presenting an exhibition of the life and work of Lazar Khidekel. A genius, visionary and prophet, Khidekel was propelled by the power of his imagination into a future space and time that overturned the "realistic" conventions of his world. He was both an individual living in concrete reality and also a representative of that which did not yet exist. He is an exemplar of the creative genius of the Jewish people at the turn of the Twentieth Century in Eastern Europe whose work transcends his time, his place, his ethnicity and heritage to something universal.   Dr. Jonathan Brent