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Thursday, March 15, 2018
Leonid Lamm (1928–2017) was one of the most surprising and versatile artists in the history of Soviet nonconformist and contemporary Russian-American art. His artistic explorations ranged widely in style and approach, including engagement with the geometry of the Russian avant-garde, surrealist experiments, visual reflections on absurdist poetry, and conceptual installations. Lamm was one of the first Soviet nonconformist artists to create assemblages, and moreover, he played with the complex nature of the written word long before the advent of Sots art. In the early 1980s, Lamm immigrated to New York where he then engaged with American consumerism and finally, the art of the digital age. Across the broad spectrum of Lamm’s artistic output is a resilient and consistent exploration of pictorial space and its relation to the physical space of the viewer.
This exhibition is Leonid Lamm’s first museum retrospective in the United States. It acknowledges Lamm’s significant effect on the development of Soviet nonconformist art and, subsequently, in establishing its legacy both within and outside the Soviet Union. This show comprises more than sixty works of art, largely drawn from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, the Claude and Nina Gruen Collection of Contemporary Russian Art, and the collection of Lamm’s wife and daughter. The selected work, which spans his prolific seventy-year career, demonstrates that Lamm’s artistic development was stimulated by a lifelong inquiry into the multidimensional energy of space.