Featuring full-scale replicas of notable modernist interiors, the Rem Koolhaas–designed Garage Museum of Contemporary Art in Moscow has debuted an exhibition dedicated to an anti-modernist manifesto from the 1960s. Dubbed “If Our Soup Can Could Speak,” the exhibition celebrates the first English translation of a 1968 anthology of polemical texts against Cubism and Pop Art—The Crisis of Ugliness—written by Soviet philosopher and art critic Mikhail Lifshitz.
Revealed through a collection of artworks, text, and archival documents, the exhibition—curated by Dmitry Gutov and David Riff—places its content within a sequence of ten interiors, which reconstruct a series of notable spaces from the 1960s. Adorning the walls are artworks from the likes of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Albrecht Dürer, Oleg Filatchev, Valery Khabarov and Larisa Kirillova.
The exhibition sparks a dialogue about art after the triumph of modernism and its ambiguous position. “The result of a three-year Garage Field Research project, ‘If Our Soup Can Could Speak’ takes as its starting point Lifshitz’s book and related writings to re-explore the vexed relations between so-called progressive art and politics in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as the motivations and implications of Lifshitz’s singular crusade against the modern classics,” according to the press release. “His appraisal of the crisis in twentieth-century art differs fundamentally from the standard attacks on modernism in government-issue Soviet art criticism, and in fact can be read as their direct critique.”
Representing the iconic New York studio of pop artist Andy Warhol, one of the interior spaces features walls swathed in reflective foil, with artworks by Warhol and Lichenstein hanging from their mirrored surfaces. Another interior replica features a mock-up of La Maison Cubist, a proposal for a Cubist-style home that was shown at the Salon d’Automne exhibition in Paris in 1912.
“If Our Soup Can Could Speak” will be on view through May 13.