Aglaya Glebova receives Berlin Prize to study Soviet avant-garde artists

Department: Art History

Post Date: June 12, 2017

News Details

Aglaya Glebova, assistant professor of art history, visual studies and film and media studies at the University of California, Irvine, has received a highly-competitive Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin. She will be in residence during the fall 2017 semester.

The Berlin Prize is awarded annually to scholars, writers, composers, and artists from America who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields. Chosen by an independent selection committee, fellows receive a monthly stipend, partial board, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in Berlin-Wannsee. Glebova is among 22 scholars, writers and artists who have been awarded Berlin Prize fellowships for the fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters.

“We are thrilled to see Aglaya receive the international recognition her groundbreaking work richly deserves,” said Georges Van Den Abbeele, dean of the UCI School of Humanities. “The Berlin Prize is an especially significant confirmation of the scope and importance of her ongoing research into the imaginative power of avant-garde art, even in less than tolerant societies such as the Soviet Union. I look forward to seeing how Aglaya’s participation at the American Academy in Berlin will further shape and broaden her scholarship and its impact.”

“We look forward to welcoming a particularly stunning class of fellows to the Academy,” said Michael P. Steinberg, Academy president. “This group of scholars and artists will work with their peers and partner institutions in Berlin on projects that combine issues of ardent contemporary interest with the deep capacities of scholarship and the creative imagination. Their work will be of lasting value and, on the way, spark exciting conversations and connections between the US and Germany.”

Glebova’s research project, “Mobile Modernisms: The Last Projects of the Soviet Avant-garde, 1928-1937,” examines five iconic, yet little studied, projects completed by Soviet avant-garde artists in the decade following Stalin’s rise to power. Ranging from experimental studio exercises to photomontage, installation, sculpture, architecture, painting, and design, they represent complex and stunningly diverse attempts to think visually and materially through the ideology of early Stalinism. In endeavoring to make sense of the new political realities, the protagonists of this project—El Lissitzky, Vladimir Tatlin, Vera Mukhina, and Boris Ender—created objects that challenge received views of this decade as one of “totalitarian art.” Glebova argues that, despite the stringencies of “totalitarian art,” they succeeded in radically expanding pictorial means with their ideals of movement and mobility, including across national and ideological borders.

Earlier this month, Glebova also received a UC President's Faculty Research Fellowship in the Humanities for the 2017-2018 academic year to continue work on the same project. The fellowship provides partial salary and benefits for two quarters.

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