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FAC intro

Faculty of Propaganda Criticism (FAC) was created specifically for students and is a distance elective course in the theory and history of contemporary art. The name FAC also refers to the English acronym Frequently Asked Questions and emphasizes our desire to problematize the system of art and art education in the form of basic questions and answers.

The discipline "art history" for students of the art faculty of the academy is taught according to an official, very outdated program, in which the course of lectures ends with a maximum of post-impressionism, and such an unsuitable teacher of art history as Yevgeny Shuneiko spontaneously "reads" the course only until the period of the middle of the 19th century. Other academy teachers force you to hone your craft, completely ignoring the task of preparing students for professional life after graduation. The history and theory of art of the XX–XXI centuries, knowledge about modern practices and trends in art and how to integrate into the professional sphere, students have nowhere to get from, except from parallel self-education.

Left: entrance to one of the buildings of the Belarusian State Academy of Arts with a banner depicting the slogan "WELCOME TO THE ACADEMY - THE FORGE OF TALENTS", © photo: Ales Kudryashov, 2014

Right: the main hall of the academy with state symbols and one of two copies of Michelangelo's statues depicting slaves, © photo: Andrey Dureiko, 2013

At the same time, the majority of art students after graduation are forced to practice their education, and then completely abandon the profession in the artistic field, leaving for design, teaching, or other unexpected industries. That is why, until the Academy of Arts carries out internal reforms, modernizes programs, including art history (whose influence is so fundamental for students), does not create a special department of new media, we will recommend students who plan to become artists to look for alternatives.

But if you are unlucky and you are already studying at this university, this elective is designed specifically for you. The course may be of interest to students of other faculties and institutions. As part of the lectures, we will develop typical stereotypes that multiply the programs of the academy, outline the problems that students face after graduation, demonstrate progressive modern practices in art and the rigidity and conservatism of the system of Belarusian art education that the academy offers.

Background of the blog

In 2012 the artist gave a lecture Why Did I Leave the Academy of Arts? in the academy itself.

As the first illustration, which was shown during the lecture Why Did I Leave the Academy of Arts?, Sergey Shabohin used the work of Gregor Schneider 21 Beach Cells. The Academy of Arts, with its imaginary freedom accompanying it, is presented as an image of a closed ghetto, occupying only a tiny island of a huge beach – the world of contemporary art.

The lecture, in which the artist explained why he left the university, attracted a large number of students, as a result of which it was decided to create an illegal elective in the history and theory of art for students interested in contemporary art. The elective "Repair. UNOVIS. Behind the screen of the Tractor Plant" was held in a temporary building of the academy on the territory of the Proletarsky District (very close to the Tractor Plant). Classes caused a stir, and elective students began to successfully integrate into the system of contemporary art.

In the summer of 2014, during the summer school in Vilnius, curator (Minsk) and curator Maria Kotlyachkova (Stockholm/Moscow), on the initiative of the artist Sergey Shabohin (Minsk), decided to create an alternative platform for criticizing the Academy of Arts.

As in the case of the Vitebsk avant-garde art association , founded on the basis of a state institution, but producing influential artists of the new art of the twentieth century, we want to channel the huge potential of the students of the academy in the right direction.

UNOVIS, June 1922, Vitebsk. Standing (from left to right): I. Chervinko, K. Malevich, E. Royak, A. Kagan, N. Suetin, L. Yudin, E. Magaril. Seated (from left to right): M. Veksler, V. Ermolaeva, I. Chashnik, L. Khidekel.

Understanding the conventionality of this comparison, we believe that the academy can become an experimental laboratory and a space for discussing practices, methodologies, as well as the place of the artist in the system of social and cultural relations.

In the form of short lessons, we will talk about the system of contemporary art outside the academy, as well as argue for the conservatism and reactionary nature of art education in Minsk.

Burn academicism, burn!



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    В марте 2015 года ФАК присоединился к исследовательской платформе KALEKTAR. А в апреле 2023 года он разместился на обновленном сайте KALEKTAR.


  • Sergey Shabohin
  • Maria Kotlyachkova
  • Aleksei Borisionok
  • UNOVIS (Hardeners of the New Art)
  • Belarusian State Academy of Arts