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Vitaly Komar: My Experience as an Artist in Russia (S.U.) and in the West (U.S.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 7 - 8:30pm

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Detail of a work by Vitaly Komar. Image courtesy of Vitaly Komar

Detail of a work by Vitaly Komar. Image courtesy of Vitaly Komar

In a free, public lecture Vitaly Komar speaks about the changes his work has undergone in Russia and in the West and how the Soviet authorities destroyed an exhibition of works by underground artists, such as himself. 

Vitaly Komar was born in 1943 in Moscow (U.S.S.R.) and was one of the founders of Sots-Art, a Soviet version of conceptual Pop Art, which reflected images of totalitarian propaganda. From the 1970s onward he has woven together ideas and images in a process of “conceptual eclecticism.” He showed at the 1974 “Bulldozer Exhibition,” in which Soviet authorities destroyed his work as well as works of other underground artists. Since 1978 he has lived and worked in New York. In 1982 he received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. From 1972 to 2003 he collaborated with Alex Melamid, as well as with the Fluxus musician Charlottle Moorman (1976), Pop Artist Andy Warhol (1979-80), painter Renee the Elephant (1995), photographer Mikki the Chimpanzee (1998) and the with the masses via polling company (People’s Choice).

Vitaly Komar appears as part of the Interdisciplinary Seminar, created as a discussion series on artistic practice for the students of the Cooper Union School of Art and the creative community that surrounds them. Lectures are free and open to the public.


Located in the Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, at 41 Cooper Square (on Third Avenue between 6th and 7th Streets)

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.