Elise Herrala

Elise Herrala's picture
Research Interests: 
art, culture, consumption, postsocialism, Russia, social theory, class, gender

My dissertation examines the Russian contemporary art world, in which I demonstrate how socialism, political and economic crisis, and globalization have altered, shaped, and built the current field of art in Russia. I do this by focusing on: 1) how Russia’s tumultuous transition from socialism to capitalism has differently shaped two generations of post-Soviet artists; 2) the difficulty of establishing a strong market with the attendant limitations placed on the local community of collectors; 3) the powerful impact Russia’s constraining state has had on artists and art institutions; and lastly, 4) the significance of being on the periphery of a globalized world of art where powerful Western actors are already in play. My analysis is based on archival research; in-depth interviews with influential figures in the Russian art world, including artists, collectors, gallerists, curators, art historians, auction houses, and critics; and thirteen months of participant observation at art events, artists’ studios, galleries, and in the homes of collectors in Moscow from 2012-14.