2013 was a big year for The Constructivist Project! Here’s a quick look back at what the project was up to in the past year:
- January – Photographing Columbia University’s GSAPP students on their visit to Moscow as part of the course Soviet Avant-Garde, How to Preserve an Experiment
- March 1 – Moving from California, my home of 20+ years, to my native Moscow in order to continue working on the project all-the-time!
- March 11 – Docomomo US published the article The Fight for the Melnikov House (my debut to the publishing world!)
- March 15 – The Constructivist Project joined Instagram @theconstructivistproject
- April 5 – Archnadzor, an architecture watchdog in Russia, published a translation of The Fight for the Melnikov House, Сражение за Дом Мельникова
- April 10 – The New York Times’ Arts Beat mentioned The Constructivist Project in their article Architectural Masterpiece in Moscow Under Grave Threat, Preservationists Say
Natalia Melikova, a recent Master of Fine Arts graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, posted a detailed report on the Web site of the United States branch of Docomomo. In it, Konstantin Melnikov’s granddaughter, Ekaterina Karinskaya, who lives in the house, says that the construction is part of a willful plan “to simply destroy the house.”
Ms. Melikova has returned to Moscow, where she has started the Constructivist Project to try to save the Melnikov house and other endangered sites.
- April 23 – ArchDaily also referenced The Fight for the Melnikov House in their article Famous Architects Petition to Save the Melnikov House
- May 14 – Docomomo US published Melnikov House Update
- May 31 – Partizaning published The Fight for the Melnikov House on their site
- May 16 – ArchDaily did a post titled, The Constructivist Project / Natalia Melikova
In Russia, hundreds upon hundreds of buildings are endangered. The work of making sure they don’t become extinct? That’s in the hands of a tireless few.
One of these crusaders is Natalia Melikova, the author of The Constructivist Project, an on-line web site that seeks to preserve the memory – and hopefully inspire the protection of – Russia’s avant-garde architecture. Although it began as her thesis project, it’s steadily become one of her life passions. In Melikova’s words, “By sharing photographs (my own and others), articles, events, exhibitions, and other resources on the topic of the avant-garde, The Constructivist Project unites common interest and appreciation of Russian art and history and makes it accessible to an international English-speaking audience. This is a way to initiate discussion not only of the perilous situation of Russian avant-garde architecture but also of cultural preservation and urban development in general.”
- July 17 – Docomomo US published Lissitzky’s Ogonyok Under Threat
- July 24 – The Moscow Times article Threatened Avant-Garde Gem Needs … Slippers? mentioned The Constructivist Project
The Melnikov House is just one among many neglected avant-garde structures in Moscow. Their predicament inspired photographer Natalia Melikova to launch The Constructivist Project last year, a website and blog aiming to introduce these buildings and their precarious condition to a wider audience.
“I love to have people not only look at beautiful pictures of the buildings but also see when they’re just falling apart,” Melikova said, mentioning the Melnikov House, El Lissitzky’s “Ogonyok” Printing Plant, Shukhov Tower, and Ginzburg’s Narkomfin Building as especially at risk.
- August – Participation in World Monuments Fund Everyday Preservationist Photo Contest
- August 6 – Opening of the My Melnikov exhibit at VKHUTMEAS Gallery in Moscow (The Constructivist Project was an exhibit collaborator
- September 8 – Opening of the exhibit The Constructivist Project at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center
- November 20 – Participation in Bettery Magazine’s Change of View series
- December 20 – The Moscow News’ article Peeking inside Narkomfin announced the work in progress project, Narkomfin – a web documentary
A BIG THANK YOU for everyone’s support!
The Constructivist Project started as my graduate school photography project in 2010 in San Francisco… + posters, blogging, exhibits, conferences, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, articles, collaborations, & more. With the move to Moscow in 2013, the items listed above are a welcome affirmation that The Constructivist Project is going in the right direction. My curiosity and passion (and admittedly, obsession) about the Russian avant-garde, & the desire to inform, to inspire, and to make a difference is motivation enough to continue fighting the good fight and making the project accessible via all sorts of media. This a completely – independent, non-profit, do it because it feels right, spend way too much time behind a computer, – type of project. And I love it. So thanks for reading/watching/participating/helping/sharing/etc. I’ve got some exciting things (& improvements) planned for 2014, stay tuned… & Happy New Year!
– Natalia Melikova