press release

New York (May 2000) - The massive installation The Palace of Projects by internationally renowned artist Ilya Kabakov and his wife Emilia will be open and free to the public from June 16th through July 10, 2000 at the 69th Regiment Armory (Lexington Avenue at 26th Street). The Kabakovs' spiraling architectural structure measures 40 feet tall by 80 feet in diameter and is based on historical towers from the Tower of Babel to Tatlin's famous Monument to the Third International. The nautilus-shell shaped Palace is made of a wood frame stretched with translucent fabric and lit from within. The entire structure glows within the Armory's darkened hall as visitors walk through the Palace to explore over sixty-five individual "projects" which provide entertaining and engaging suggestions on improving oneself and the world.

The Palace of Projects is the Kabakovs' utopian archive of ideas and stories told by fictional Soviet citizens. The "projects" include models, paintings and writings that propose remedies and suggestions for the challenges of daily life, personal growth and improvement. The projects encapsulate ordinary people's dreams, neurosis, ideals, problems, and obsessions and provide visitors with intimate glimpses into private moments that invariably have universal resonance and appeal.

Of The Palace of Projects, Susan K. Freedman, President of Public Art Fund said, "The result is a grand installation that offers fantastical, humorous and poetic projects that reflect a humanistic vision of contemporary life. The Public Art Fund is extremely proud to present this engaging and accessible artwork for New Yorkers to enjoy this summer."

The Palace of Projects The first project visitors encounter upon entering The Palace is a suggestion by a fictional chauffeur that the path to goodness and kindness is found in the poetic and peculiar habit of donning a pair of hand made angel's wings for five or ten minutes each day. Another project suggests that urban dwellers re-connect with nature by surrounding their beds with potted plants. And a third proposes a physio-theraputic method for the treatment of neuroses and depression that involves a sitting on a small white pot (not unlike a child's chamber pot) either alone or in a group to calm anxieties and return one to the distant past.

Through these imaginative projects, the Palace tells the tales of ordinary citizens and is intrinsically linked to Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's experiences in the former Soviet Union. While the wooden structure of The Palace of Projects suggests a contemporary rendition of Vladimir Tatlin's Project for Monument to the Third International, (ca. 1920) one of the most significant artworks of revolutionary Russia, the projects inside suggest things the ordinary citizen might try to improve their condition. These utopian efforts illustrated in The Palace of Projects provide respite from the obstacles of daily life, particularly those brought on by totalitarian circumstances.

The Palace of Projects will be open daily from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM from June 16-July 10, 2000 at the 69th Regiment Armory at Lexington Avenue at 26th St. (Closed on Tuesdays). The Palace of Projects was originally commissioned by ArtAngel in London for installation in the city's historic Roundhouse and was most recently on view at the Reina Sofia's Crystal Palace, Madrid. At both venues the Kabakovs' installation was met with enthusiastic praise from the press and the public. This is the first exhibition of this work in the United States.

About the Artists Ilya Kabakov (b. 1933) is the one of most compelling and influential artists to emerge from the former Soviet Union. He has been described as the "father of Moscow conceptualism." Kabakov's work explicitly remarks on the political conditions under which he spent the first three decades of his artistic life.

Kabakov was labeled a "non-conformist" under the Soviet regime, and was denied even a single exhibition in Moscow's officially sanctioned museums and galleries. On one occasion, a European collector was refused an export license for Kabakov's work because the Soviet official believed that "this garbage" would be used to publicly embarrass the Soviet Union abroad. Ilya and Emilia Kabakov now live in New York.

Kabakov's critically acclaimed projects or "Total Installations" include a public toilet stall occupied by an imaginary destitute family (The Toilet, Documenta, Kassel, 1992), a forgotten, derelict schoolhouse (School No. 6, Marfa, Texas 1993), a museum ruined by a burst water main (Incident at the Museum, or Water Music, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, 1994), and corridors of dilapidated hospital rooms (Treatment with Memories, Whitney Biennial, New York, 1997). All of Kabakov's work requires a narrative imagining on the part of his viewers and most works possess a sense of pathos and mystery, they are unfinished tales. His work has been exhibited at international major museums including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the 1995 Venice Biennale, and the 1997 M√ľnster Sculpture Project. Kabakov is the subject of many monographs including Amei Wallach's The Man Who Never Threw Anything Away, (Abrams, New York, 1996). The Palace of Projects is Kabakov's first collaboration with his wife Emilia. Pressetext

Ilya & Emilia Kabakov - The Palace of Projects
Ort: 69th Regiment Armory (Lexington Avenue at 26th Street)