Yevgeniy Fiks

Moscow documents gay cruising sites in Moscow of the Soviet era, starting with the early 1920s and ending with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. This project reclaims Moscow as a site of queer desire and subjectivity and in so doing commemorates lives of several generations of queer Soviet subjects. Photographed in 2008 in a sterile, documentary style, these sites of the bygone queer underground present a hidden and forgotten, yet laying in plain view “other” Moscow, with a particular focus on Revolutionary Communists sites appropriated by queer Muscovites, presenting a connection between the promise of the Russian Revolution, the queer Soviet experience, and the city. Furthermore, Fiks has ordered the photos chronologically according to the period in which certain sites were popular, from the Twenties to the Eighties, giving the complete visual history of Moscow cruising. Additionally, the book includes the first English-language publication of the 1934 letter to Joseph Stalin by the Moscow-resident and British communist Harry White (translated from Russian by Thomas Campbell), in which White presents a Marxist defense of homosexuality in light of its 1933 re-criminalization in the USSR. Fiks approaches his book from a post-Soviet queer perspective and with it, he attempts to create a “monument to the queer Moscow of the past,” a Moscow that presently lacks proper documentation of the existence of its queer Soviet history.

Published by Ugly Duckling Presse
ISBN: 978-1-933254-61-6
8×10 inches, 104 pp, full-colour offset, hardcover, cloth bound, 2011
Edition of 750
35 dollars

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Yevgeniy Fiks was born in Moscow in 1972 and has been living and working in New York since 1994. Fiks has produced many projects on the subject of the Post-Soviet dialog, among them: “Lenin for Your Library?” in which he mailed V.I. Lenin’s text “Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism” to one hundred global corporations as a donation for their corporate libraries; “Communist Party USA,” a series of portraits of current members of Communist Party USA, painted from life in the Party’s national headquarters in New York City; and “Communist Guide to New York City,” a series of photographs of buildings and public places in New York City that are connected to the history of the American Communist movement. Fiks’ work has been shown internationally, including solo exhibitions at Winkleman Gallery and Common Room 2, both in New York (USA); Contemporary City Foundation, Marat Guelman Gallery, and ARTStrelka Projects in Moscow, and the State Museum of Russian Political History, St. Petersburg (Russia); and the Lenin-Museo, Tampere (Finland). His work has been included in the Biennale of Sydney (2008); Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007); and Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art (2007 and 2005). Fiks is the author of two books: Lenin For Your Library? (2007, Ante Projects) and Communist Guide to New York City (2008, Common Books). During February 2013, Yevgeniy Fiks presented his third solo exhibition, Homosexuality Is Stalin’s Atom Bomb to Destroy America, at Winkleman Gallery. This exhibition explored the historical and ideological links between anti-Communism and homophobia in the United States, as well as the intersections between Communism and sexual identity as it played out during the 20th century.

Ugly Duckling Presse is a nonprofit art and publishing organization whose mission is to produce artisanal and trade editions of new poetry, translation, experimental nonfiction, performance texts, and books by artists. UDP endeavors to create an experience of art free of expectation, coercion, and utility. With a volunteer editorial collective of artists and writers at its heart, UDP grew out of a 1990s zine into a Brooklyn-based small press that has published more than 200 titles to date, with an editorial office and letterpress workshop in the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus. UDP favors emerging, international, and “forgotten” writers, and its books, chapbooks, artist’s books, broadsides, and periodicals often contain handmade elements, calling attention to the labor and history of bookmaking.

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