Learning to collect art

The book “Leonid Talochkin. "I knew them all". Collection” / Moscow: State Tretyakov Gallery, 2022

Leonid Talochkin was a collector, chronicler and legend of the underground art, whose name was associated with the very rooting of the term “the other art”. He was among the organizers of the eponymous exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in 1990, and before that he was among the organizers of the famous “Beekeeping” and “House of Culture” exhibitions at VDNKh (1975) and dozens of others. Talochkin is often called the archivist of “the second avant-garde”. An enthusiast in love with free art, he had a talent for being in the right place at the right time. He helped with hangings, organized photography. And more importantly, he wrote descriptions of paintings, made handwritten catalogues, recorded interviews with authors of works and commentary at exhibitions.

Talochkin was not a systematic person, he refused the standard career of a normal Soviet man. Instead of “school — institute — factory”, everything went wrong. He did not complete his studies at the “Gubkin” institute, left the “Mendeleev” institute. Instead of working as an engineer, he worked as a laboratory assistant, an elevator operator, an office security guard, and was known as a janitor behind his back. However, all this was a social camouflage. Talochkin's real life was entirely different — in the midst of vibrant artistic events, unsafe, in contacts with diplomats, foreign correspondents, and forbidden artists.

Talochkin rarely bought, but many gave him. Both simpler works and masterpieces, too. In 1976, the Soviet State set its eyes on his collection of unofficial art, assembled in a communal apartment. The Ministry of Culture took it on record. The collector was given an apartment. In the 1990s, Talochkin created the museum “The Other Art” at the University of Arts and Humanities. In 2014, his widow gave the collection to the Tretyakov Gallery, and the archive to the Garage Museum. A new book “Leonid Talochkin. "I knew them all". Collection”  is an illustrated edition with a strong scientific apparatus. It contains brief biographies of artists, information on participation in exhibitions, the composition of artistic associations, etc. For collectors of the sixties, it will definitely be a good help. The authors of the articles are Kirill Svetlyakov (State Tretyakov Gallery) and Tatiana Vendelshtein (the widow of Leonid Talochkin).

Watch the new video “Talochkin’s Collection — 2022” from the series “Learning to collect art” on our YouTube channel.