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ALEX MELAMID, INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED CONCEPTUAL ARTIST, BRINGS HIS “ART MINISTRY” TO BARD COLLEGE ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 26

Emily M. Darrow
845-758-7512
darrow@bard.edu
10-26-2004
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Russian conceptual artist Alex Melamid, known for his irony and irreverence, will bring his latest project, “Art Ministry,” to Bard College on Tuesday, October 26. Free and open to the public, the program, “In Art We Trust (Since We Can’t Explain It): The Gospel According to Alex,” will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Innocents. Melamid’s talk at Bard will examine his wry view of art as a religion, which he feels began with the death of Van Gogh. “Van Gogh’s idiomorphic view of God as a struggling Artist might well suggest that Jesus would be described as an artist as well,” explains Melamid. Some of the questions he will pose are: Does art contain an innate healing power? How do notions of salvation and renewal in art compare to those of traditional religions? Will the art-as-religion movement incorporate doctrine, statues, rites, and laws or remain in its current free-form state indefinitely? “In his current ‘Art Ministry’ project, Melamid uses religion as a lens through which to examine the ingrained pieties and genius worship of museum culture,” writes Mia Fineman in the New York Times. “The whole idea of art is based on belief,” Melamid explained to Fineman. “You cannot explain it, you cannot understand it. Just try reading art criticism—all you can do is have faith.” Melamid, along with his fellow Russian dissident artist, Vitaly Komar, formed the artist group Komar & Melamid (K & M) in the 1970s and began “Sots Art,” the Soviet answer to Pop Art, which “attacked Mother Russia’s overproduction of ideology and socialist propaganda.” In recent years, K & M received worldwide attention with “The People’s Choice” project, which polled artistic taste in the United States. Their most recent project together, the Asian Elephant Art & Conservation Project, raises funds for the people and elephants of Southeast Asia by teaching domesticated elephants to paint, then selling their paintings around the world. K & M’s work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art, and they are featured in the Oxford Dictionary of 20th Century of Art, The Penguin Concise Dictionary of Art History, Art Since the 40s, and The 20th Century Art Book. The program at Bard is sponsored by the Human Rights Project; the Division of Languages and Literature; the Russian Studies, Art History, and Philosophy Programs; Center for Curatorial Studies; and the Institute for International Liberal Education. Produced by Lèna Siyanko For further information, call 845-758-7835. # # # (10/14/04)

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This event was last updated on 10-27-2004