“He seems to be a man who is very grateful for the simple things in life.” – New York Times
“You think I go to Whitney Museum and see something like that?” he said. “Never.” – from interview to New York Times
Born in 1940 in Shostka, Ukraine, Konstantin Bokov immigrated to New York City in 1974. Bokov shares his whimsical style and endless imagination with New Yorkers in DIY public installations which has earned him a devoted following in neighborhoods around New York City.
Ukrainian-born Konstantine Bokov began his career as an accordian-player and sheep-herder. After seeing a Van Gogh painting in Moscow, however, the young Bokov decided to put down his instrument and staff in favour of a paint brush. After the ideologically unreliable artist was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1975, Bokov found residence in Washington Heights in New York City. Bokov’s canvasses and recycled pieces offer an image of New York that is both a scathing critique and a profession of love.
Entirely self-taught, Bokov has showed around the U.S. and the world, including in New York (most recently at the NYC 2009 Outsider Art Fair), San Francisco, Holland, Vienna, Paris and Japan. In both his life and his art, Bokov has found himself acting as mediator between cultures and art movements. Bokov’s paintings employ the language of impressionism while disrupting the laws of classical depiction in unexpected ways.
In life and art Konstantin Bokov has found himself acting the mediator between cultures and art movements. A painter, junk artist and collagist, Bokov makes the recycling of cultural and industrial waste the central theme of his work.
Unlike two previous personal shows (in New York and San Francisco) that presented Bokov’s “recycle” pieces as his most characteristic creations, the scheduled exhibition will also feature a number of large triptych-like canvases that put a grotesque and ironic spin on popular icons, smaller oil-sketches of New York City landscapes, still-lifes that often frame an imported artistic image, and drawings. These works employ the language of impressionism but disrupt the laws of classical depiction in unexpected ways and places that move the paintings into the realm of the absurd.
Almost 25 years ago the ideologically unreliable artist was expelled from the Soviet Union. Since then he has found solidarity with the marginalized waste of American culture, wandering the streets of New York City and reconstructing a new city from its discarded scraps. Along with countless recycle monsters he has left as gifts to the Soho streets, Bokov has erected impromptu gallery spaces under the Brooklyn Bridge, on the George Washington Bridge, and on the piers of Washington Heights, most of which have been destroyed. Indoors and legally zoned, the exhibition at the Philip Williams Gallery displayed a variety of Bokov’s canvases and recycle pieces that offer through his skewed verbal and visual syntax, an image of New York City which is both a scathing critique and a profession of love.
2014- “Paterson Art Walk”- site specific installation, Paterson, NJ
2014- “Transformations”, Sculpture exhibition, Governor’s Island, NY
2013-“Fabrika 7”, Installation exhibition in DUMBO, Brooklyn, N.Y.
2013- MORA- Museum of Russian Art, Jersey City, N.J.
2013-“Paterson Art Walk”- site specific installation, Paterson, N.J.
2012-“ Paterson Art Walk”-site specific installation, Paterson, N.J.
2011-“Museum of Jewish Heritage”, Prakhin Foundation Event, NYC, NY
2010- Butterfly Gallery, Red Bank, New Jersey
2010-“Escape from New York”, Group Exhibition of New York artists, Paterson, NJ
2010-“Fabrika II”, Installation Exhibition in textile factory district of Paterson, NJ
2009-“Fabrika I”, Installation Exhibition in textile factory district of Paterson,NJ
2009- Nutro Group Exhibition at 92nd Street Y, NYC, NY
2008- Bergen County JCC, Township of Washington,NJ
2007- “Preservation of Memory”, Installation in Paterson, NJ
2006- Museum of Russian Contemporary Art, Jersey City, NJ
2005- Rockaway Artists Alliance, Queens, NY
2005- Katonah Art Museum, Katonah, NY
2004- Audubon Artists, Queens, NY
2003- Queens College, Flushing, NY
2000- Williamsburg Art Center, Brooklyn, NY
1999- Ezair Gallery, Madison Avenue, NYC, NY
1998- YM and YMJA of Five Towns, Long Island, NY
1997- Paterson Museum of Art, Paterson, NJ
1996- Bon A Tier Gallery, Piermont, NY
1993- Connoisseurs Gallery, SoHo, NY
1991- Prince Art Gallery, SoHo, NY
1990- Queens Art Center, Queens, NY
1990- Pen and Bush Gallery, New York, NY
2003- 9/11 Memorial – Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Jamaica, NY
1993- “Time and We”-Journal of Literature and Poetry in Russian language
2011 and 2013- Live interview on Russian Television Network (RTN)
1990-present-Multiple articles in local and Russian language media