Alexander Melamid

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Alexander Melamid (born July 14, 1945) is a Russian-born conceptual artist and performance artist.


  • There's a crisis of ideas in art, which is felt by many, many people. Not only in art: in social thinking, in politics. That's one of the other things about this poll, one of the attempts to get out of this, by some maybe funny means — humor helps — because we really don't know where to go. and what our next step has to be.
    Artists now.
    • Vitaly Komar, ‎Aleksandr Melamid, ‎JoAnn Wypijewski (1997). Painting by Numbers: Komar and Melamid's Scientific Guide to Art p. 16
  • I cannot speak for all, but I have talked to many artists who feel this way - we have lost even our belief that we are the minority that knows. We believed ten years ago, twenty years ago, that we knew the secret. Now we have lost this belief. We are a minority with no power and no belief, no faith. I feel myself, as an artist and as a citizen, just totally obsolete... Okay, it can be done this way or that way or this way, or in splashes or smoothly, but why? What the hell is it about? That's why we wanted to ask people. For us - from our point of view - it's a sincere thing to understand something, to change course. Because the way we live we cannot live anymore. I have never seen artists so desperate as they are now, in this society.
    • Vitaly Komar, ‎Aleksandr Melamid, ‎JoAnn Wypijewski (1997). Painting by Numbers: Komar and Melamid's Scientific Guide to Art p. 16

The search for a people's art: painting by the numbers, 1994[edit]

Alexander Melamid, in: "The search for a people's art: painting by the numbers; interview with artist Alexander Melamid; includes related survey data and information," (1994),

  • No, the parallels are between modernism, late modernism, and socialist realism, of course. That's two sides of one coin. Both came of this idea of aristocrats, of people in power, imposing the culture on the people. A totally inhuman art. Modern art, and Pollock is the best example, is totally inhuman. Huge pictures for museums--now we call them museums; in Stalin times they were called palaces, but basically the same thing--which we rarely see and rarely visit. The sheer size of this painting, it's a totally inhuman scale. And there it can be typified...
  • ... There's a machine which is called History of Art, which is a structure. And artist fits in this only because he or she is needed for this structure. If for example the History of Art needs some parallel lines, there is an individual who makes parallel lines. And this individual fits into this machine which works by itself; it doesn't care about people or anything else, it just goes by itself.
    • Quoted in: Francis Halsall, Systems of Art: Art, History and Systems Theory, (2008) p. 67.

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