Fight the urge to add “Don’t” captions to these heartbreaking photographs of homeless alcoholics in late ’90s Ukraine. There are 400 photos in master photog Boris Mikhailov’s seminal Case History series documenting the social and economic fallout after the collapse of the Soviet Union — 20 life-size prints are now view at the MoMA. The devasting but charismatic models were posed and partially stripped with just a slight Herzog-ian nudge.
The Ukraine-born fine art photographer is considered one of the most important artists to emerge out of USSR where he was nearly imprisoned by the KGB. Twice. In an interview with Svoboda News, he salutes our favorite anarchist art crew Voina:
I like Voina. I like their actions and I like that they were awarded the [Innovation] prize because right now, heroic actions are more important than art made to be sold. Their message and their play on heroic activism are serious.
“Case History,” Boris Mikhailov, May 26 – Sep 5, MoMA, New York