Columbia University in the City of New York

The Harriman Institute Presents

Tatiana Levitskaia

Selections from the Kolodzei Art Foundation

Photo of a 2004 painting called Bulldozer Exhibition. The original is enamel on cardboard, 27-1/2 x 39-3/8 in.
Photo of a painting from 1979 called Church of Saint Trifon. The original is enamel on paper, 31-1/2 x 27-1/2 in.
Painting from 2004 titled Subbotnik. Original is enamel on cardboard, 27-1/2 x 39-3/8 in.


About the Exhibit

This exhibition features a selection of works on paper and paintings by the prominent nonconformist artist Tatiana Levitskaia (b. 1944 in Kyiv, Ukraine). It offers a glimpse into her creative process and celebrates her artistic journey. Levitskaia studied design at the Moscow Textile Institute. In 1969, Levitskaia met her future husband, artist Borukh (Boris Shteinberg,1938-2003). Drawn to experimental art, Tatiana and Borukh were part of Moscow’s lively artistic underground.

An Exhibit Opening reception will take place on September 12th. Learn more >

About the Artist

Tatiana Levitskaia became interested in experimental techniques early in her career. Their apartment was used as a gallery for exhibiting works by unofficial young artists. Her favorite medium was, and remains, enamel paint. As Levitskaia recalls: “My discovery of enamel paint was purely accidental, happening back in the early 1970s. While I was busy designing shop windows, the workshop next door was using enamel to paint structures. Initially drawn by the unique scent, I was soon offered some enamel to experiment with. This marked the beginning of my exploration with pouring, dripping, and drawing thin lines with the paint, even mixing it with other paints. From paper and canvas to wood, hardboard, and cardboard, the paint flowed freely, both horizontally and vertically, blending and leaving its mark as if guided by an unseen hand. I merely directed its path, and in doing so, extraordinary images emerged—landscapes, flowers, portraits, and even cosmic vistas. No other artistic technique has ever brought me such immense joy, each day revealing a whole new artistic reality. My fascination with enamel painting continues to this day.”

Levitskaia and Borukh took part in the important first unofficial art exhibitions, including The First Autumn Open-Air (The Bulldozer) Exhibition and the Second Open-Air Exhibition in Izmailovsky Park in 1974; and an exhibition at the Palace of Culture Pavilion at VDNkh, Moscow in 1975. These exhibitions were significant events in the history of nonconformist art, as they showcased the determination of artists to express themselves freely, even in the face of repression, thus helping to raise awareness of nonconformist art. Levitskaia’s two works, “Bulldozer” and “Subbotnik,” presented at the exhibition, are reminiscences of the Bulldozer exhibition: “Arriving at the appointed vacant lot in Belyaevo for our exhibition, Borukh and I carried our paintings only to witness chaos: bulldozers, water trucks, and trucks laden with trees careened about. A fight erupted, with people wrestling paintings from those who trampled and set them ablaze. We quickly decided to return our paintings to the car and assist those whose works were being confiscated and who were being arrested.”

Levitskaia participated in over 50 solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world. Her works are in many public collections.

Images (left to right or top to bottom) of work by Tatiana Levitskaia:
Bulldozer Exhibition, 2004. Enamel on cardboard, 27-1/2 x 39-3/8 in.
Church of Saint Trifon, 1979. Enamel on cardboard, 31-1/2 x 27-1/2 in.
Subbotnik, 2004. Enamel on cardboard, 27-1/2 x 39-3/8 in.
Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art, Kolodzei Art Foundation

About the Kolodzei Art Foundation

The Kolodzei Art Foundation, Inc., a US-based 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public foundation founded in 1991, organizes exhibitions and cultural exchanges in museums and cultural centers in the United States, Europe, and elsewhere, often utilizing the considerable resources of the Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art, and publishes books. The Kolodzei Collection of Russian and Eastern European Art consists of over 7,000 works, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculpture, photography, digital and kinetic art, video, and interactive installations, by more than 300 artists from Russia, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union



Monday–Friday, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
September 3, 2024 through October 17, 2024


Harriman Institute Atrium
420 W 118th St, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10027

Visitor Information

All non-Columbia visitors must meet the primary vaccination series mandate.

No registration or tickets required.