From the Moskow diaries
December 13,1963, Friday
I stopped at Volodka Yakovlev's. He was drawing. His mother arrived,
brought some eggs and boiled kasha. She put the eggs in a stringbag on
his bed. Volodka threw a tat book right on the eggs and they cracked. His
mother began scolding him and crying. Volodka was taken aback at first,
but then started persuading her that not all the eggs were broken and that
he will go buy some new ones. It was so comical that I could not hold back
a smile and hurried to leave. Volodka went to walk me out, and we escaped,
leaving his mother there to cry. It was a freezing - 25 degrees outside.
October 28,1964, Wednesday
Hangover from last night's alcohol. We went with Volodka Piatnizky
to drink beer. It was very cold. Volodka was in a green hat «a la Tirole»,
and a rain coat torn apart by a squirrel. Irka made some fried potatoes
and we ate. I read poetry outloud.
October 30,1964, Friday
I was writing a paper for Piatnizky to hand in at the institute. We
went together to see llya Kabakov and Yulo Sooster. llya showed some new
work. We talked about Pop-art and alienation. Yulo was shaving.
I visited Volodya Weissberg. He has some new off white works...
Novenber 24,1964, Tuesday
The whole evening I was at Yulo Sooster's, R.Minna, Leonard Daniltzev
were there. Andrey Amalrik spoke of his own genius, there were ladies.
December 1,1964, Tuesday
The opening of the Nussberg group - «The Moscow Constructivists» I
stopped at Kabakov's on the way, and took him along. We talked about mono
and poly-consciousness according to Bakhtin. We went to Edik Steinberg.
Levidov was there, and there were some women. We looked at paintings and
drank tea with cranberries. At the opening there were many people and the
cutting of a celluloid ribbon took place. Erik Bulatov introduced me to
January 4,1965, Monday
In the evening Volodka Yakovlev arrived. We ate bread, sour milk, liver
sausage and drank tea. Volodka was painting flowers. We looked at Igor
Voroshilov's drawings, and Volodka praised them greatly. At around three
in the morning we drank tea with Irka and Volodka, and went to bed. Volodka
slept next to us on the floor on a mattress.
April 23,1965, Friday
In the evening Voroshilov arrived with an idea of getting hold of three
thousand rubles. We sat there and laughed, suddenly we heard crackling
noises, and bus sirens. Not too far from us a house was burning. We ran
outside, watched the fire, and then drank tea with «dog's joy» sausages.
September 22,1965, Wednesday
Gena Aigi phoned me, and we went to the Maiakovsky Museum. We were
preparing the exhibition of Larionov and Goncharova. A very comprehensive
exhibit, the first of this kind in many years, thanks to N.I. Khardjiev
who took the works from the Tretyakov Gallery, and from private collections.
Irka was there, E.M. Royak and some museum employees...
November 11,1965, Thursday
We were preparing the exhibit in the Maiakovsky Museum, with Gena Aigi
and some museum workers, under the supervision of Nic. Iv. Khardjiev, an
exhibit called «Khiebnikov's Favorite Painters». It included drawings by
Filonov, Malevich, P. Miturich, V. Khiebnikova, as well as photographs
and lithographs. Irka was also there.
November 12,1965, Friday
Maiakovsky museum. The final touches under the supervision of Khardjiev,
and at twelve the exhibit will open. Quite a few people are there. A sea
of acquaintances... Kruchonykh was there. Rudik Duganov presented Schwartzman
with some magic markers and the two of us were daubing an abstraction and
were drawing in Rudik's album. Then Irka arrived, she is twenty two today.
It is Rudik's birthday too, we drank a glass of cognac to that. Irka treated
everyone to some chocolate. Around 8 o'clock, Nussberg, Infante, Kabakov,
Zherebchevsky and Kolya Kartashov appeared. Kolya, Kabakov and Max went
to our place. We bought some wine and vodka. Irka danced twist with Kabakov.
llya dances it divinely. We were discussing the Moscow artists and chattering
about various artistic matters. Looked at my works.
November 29,1965, Monday
Yesterday before going to bed, I conceived an idea - once a year towards
the end of it there should be a convention of the best artists. Today I
discussed it with Schwartzman and Kabakov - they are for it. Piatnizky
and Tselkov gave their consent. Yankilevsky did not like it.
December 1,1965, Wednesday
Erik Bulatov telephoned. Tomorrow his exhibit will open at the Kurchatov
institute. Dima Krasnopevtsev telephoned and greeted with enthusiasm the
idea of the 29 November.
December 2,1965, Thursday
At five o'clock we went with Irka to Bulatov's and Kalinin's exhibit.
When we arrived it turned out that the exhibit was banned and it would
be open only until 7 o'clock, llya Kabakov was helping Bulatov hang the
paintings, and was very upset because of the banning.
December 26,1965, Sunday
Irka went to the store and brought back some things for tea. Kabakov
and Bulatov arrived and brought something to work on. Alioshka Smirnov
came with a girl and then Voroshilov with Bernandt, and Gena Aigi with
Natasha. The Artists' Day did not come into being, but instead we looked
at Yakovlev's works and at our own. Kabakov left because he had to play
Santa Claus. Alioshka left. We drank tea. I read my poems. G. Aigi remarked
some of them. After everyone left, Seva Nekrasov arrived, he wrote some
of his poems for me, and we chatted. Irka dozec off on the couch.
January 1,1966, Saturday
Ernst Neizvestny telephoned and told of his trip to the international
symposium of sculpture in Yugoslavia, and of his great success there.
August 23,1966, Tuesday
Volodya Yakovlev came by. We looked at his works in my collection,
he gave them names and I recorded them. We ate cutlets and went to meet
Irka. She was at the cinema with Borka Lavrov.
October 30,1966, Sunday
Irka and I took Indjikh Khalupetzky and Miroslav to Yakovlev's place.
The Czechs liked his works very much, studied them for a long time and
discussed them. Indjikh spoke French and Yakovlev's father translated,
His mother and sister were there. We drank tea. Everything was so nice.
Sunlight and peace of mind. All of us, including Yakovlev went to Kabakov.
We looked at his objects, llya told us of his ideas. Indjikh said that
what Kabakov is doing, American artists are only about to begin, and that
he has gone far ahead of them. Yakovlev was introduced to Kabakov, who
praised his works, and said he was happy to know him. Yakovlev also liked
llya's works. We all dined at a restaurant and then went to Kurchatov's
club. Liovka Nussberg was there with his friends and objects. He showed
us a fragment of a kinetic show. It was a breath-taking sight. We talked
for a long time. Indjikh recounted about the Biennale and about «happenings»
Yakovlev called Nussberg's art a repetition of Dadaism. Kabakov was delighted
with Nussberg's ideas and kinetic presentations.
Irka had a dream; Baska's acquaintance who worked in the hospital where
father passed away, revived my father for a short while. The whole family
including him came home, but every one was in a funeral mood because he
was supposed to be dead again soon. He turned to Irka and said: Do not
leave him (meaning me). Then his thoughts started getting confused and
his time was over. We went with him back to the hospital, there were many
cars all around. Beyond the hospital was a cemetery and then everything
February 12,1967, Sunday
Volodka Yakovlev was hospitalized again. He threw into the garbage
all of his paintings, paints etc, the neighbours told his parents about
it, the parents came and put everything back in place. ...While Irka slept
I enjoyed looking over my collection of Yakovlev's works until 3 o'clock
in the morning.
February 18,1967, Saturday
Irka and I exterminated bedbugs. We found and killed three.
March 15,1967, Wednesday
We went to visit Volodka Yakovlev at the Kashenko Hospital. He appeared
for a short while as if from behind the bars. I told him briefly about
things and he vanished again in the depths of his prison...
March 26,1967, Sunday
In the morning I was at the Kashenko hospital visiting Yakovlev again.
We talked for about five minutes, he said he was tired and parted. His
consciousness is clear, but accumulated fears and tiredness are oppressing
March 27,1967, Monday
At five fifteen in the morning Irka gave birth to our son Yasha, named
memory of my father...
December 6,1967, Wednesday
...I visited Kabakov at his new studio, a huge space in the attic,
where his big works feel at home. llya has made many good drawings.
January 27,1968, Saturday
In the evening G.D.Kastaki was here. I showed him my collection of
V.I. Yakovlev's works, and he admitted that he did not give him the credit
he deserves long before. He said that Volodya is an artist by «God's grace»
and that he wants to acquire some of his works, but I do not want to impair
my collection. We also talked of Zveryev, of the significance of the Moscow
artists (our group) on a world-wide scale and about other things. G.D.
left at around two at night.
January 30,1968, Tuesday
llya Kabakov dropped in, we talked and drank hot chocolate... Looked
at my old Mirks, llya was admiring them. We came to agreement about Yakovtev
being an artist with a great future. He was admiring my collection and
said that he'll give me four of his best graphic works.
March 28,1968, Thursday
Today a five hour exhibit (that I organized) was held, featuring Volodya
Yakovlev and Edik Steinberg at the Artist's House on Zheltovskaya. It was
the first display of this sort... The auditorium gradually became full,
there were also people crowding the stairway and the lobby. All of Moscow
was there... The Moscow «leftist» artists were there, an infinite number
of acquaintances... I was congratulated with the exhibit, and every one
was surprised to know that the entire precious assortment of Yakovlev's
works were from my collection. Yakovlev was radiant and well-dressed...
...And so, it came true. Yakovlev is free and is attending his own
show. I am hoping for the healing powers of this event...
May 14,1968, Tuesday
Irka went to see Edik Limonov - he made her an extravagant dress from
lace, very short and beautiful, black with a golden lining...
August 18,1969, Monday
Kabakov, Bachurin and me organized a triple coalition with a code of
rules... I was empowered with a triple vote in deciding on the question
of accepting other artists into our group...
March 5,1970, Thursday
I had a violent fight and broke the face of some disgusting type until
it bled. He has pushed an old lady down from the step of a trolley-bus...
July 18,1970, Saturday
Kabakov arrived with the Leningrad actor Yursky and his wife, and the
actor Misha Kazakov with his mother. I showed them my collection and my
works... Kabakov, Misha and I talked for a long time, Irka gave us some
strong tea and we read poetry until four o'clock in the morning... Irka
put llya to sleep on Yashka's couch, and Misha slept nearby on the floor.
August 29,1970, Saturday
llya Kabakov came by, we looked at his works, and then calmly talked
with him and with Irka over a bottle of Vermouth, about the perspectives
of our own lives...
September 30,1971, Thursday
Irka and I, Yashenka and Zlatka have left for Israel.
(The translator with Russian on English is unknown)