Art in Conversation: Around the Word, Across the Table


All Ages
Friday, September 16, 2022
Free admission
Main Building Lobby

Event Summary

Three artists with installations in Pop-Aganda: Iconography & Revolution (2022) will be joining us on site for a discussion led by Susan Katz, followed by an hour of continued casual conversation.

Mattress Factory is thrilled to finally be able to welcome two of the Russia-based contributing artists involved in Pop-Aganda; Lera Lerner (Instability, Scattering, Wandering, Success) and Veronika Rudyeva-Ryazantseva (Under the table), in their first in-person visit to the Museum and exhibition. Bekezela Mguni (I come from a holy place), a frequent Mattress Factory collaborator and Pop-Aganda contributor, will join them in a guided panel discussion, where they will share thoughts and experiences, and contextualize their work.

All three exhibiting artists will discuss the individual practices and collaborative experiences that went into putting together their works for Pop-Aganda: Iconography & Revolution.

Sites of Passage centers artists’ voices across borders – allowing artwork and artists to connect, lifting up and sharing the artist perspective. The conversation will be an opportunity to hear from artists practicing around the world individually, but sitting at the table together.

Pre-registration is highly encouraged here.

Following the guided discussion we will continue the conversation together over light snacks set to the musical stylings of intc.


Susan Katz has more than 25 years experience in the field of international cultural exchange and arts management. She has designed and managed diverse cultural projects in the visual arts, arts management, and performance bringing together hundreds of artists from the post-Soviet region and the U.S. Since 1997, Susan has managed CEC ArtsLink’s St. Petersburg office and currently directs the Art Prospect Program in public art and social practice art and the Back Apartment Arts Residency program. She also teaches arts management and public art at Smolny College of Liberal Arts’ MA degree program in curatorial studies in St. Petersburg. Susan has a Ph.D. in public administration (cultural policy) from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and wrote her dissertation on the development of nonprofit cultural organizations in Russia.

Lera Lerner is a performance and installation artist, an art researcher, curator, founder of the Imaginary Museum of Displaced Persons, and co-curator of the international festival of public art Art Prospect. Lera practices socially engaged art using an interdisciplinary approach and different media in helping to establish a dialogue between different social groups of people. She works together with homeless people, migrants, people with mental disabilities, museum workers, orphans, scientists, plants, people with postwar trauma, mushrooms and even tumors. Lera graduated from the Pro Arte Program for contemporary artists (2015) and completed the MA program in Biology at the Faculty of Biology of St. Petersburg State University (2012). Lots of her projects are collaborative and international. She worked with colleagues and with the support from Manifesta biennale, Grafikens Hus and LAVA-Dansproduktion in Sweden, CEC ArtsLink in the US, Ars Electronica in Linz, Pro Helvetia Swiss art consul in Moscow, Red Square Festival in Berlin, Agents of Change: Mediating Minorities in Finland, Kone foundation in Finland, Consulate General of Italy in St. Petersburg, Institut français de Russie.

Veronika Rudyeva-Ryazantseva was born in Krasnoyarsk in 1981. Graduated from art school. Surikov, Krasnoyarsk, after, the department of monumental painting of the St. Petersburg State Art Academy named after. Stieglitz 2001 – 2007. From 2005 – 2008 continued her studies at the Institute of Contemporary Art “Pro Arte”. The artist explores issues of identification, posthumanism, the connection between the past and the present. The heroes of the works become symbols: time, place, generation, event. In her exhibition activity she works with different media, combining video, painting, installation and drawing. Participant of numerous Russian and foreign exhibitions, at such venues, as “Winzavod” in Moscow, the Russian Museum, the art center “Korjaamo” in Helsinki, the Ethnographic Museum in Stuttgart, etc. Nominee for the shortlist of the Kuryokhin Prize for 2012. Picturesque and graphic works are in private Russian collections, such as the collection of the Higher School of Economics in St. Petersburg and abroad.Video-work “Cleansing with snow” purchased in the collection of the National Center for Contemporary Art, Moscow. The artist lives and works in St. Petersburg.

Bekezela Mguni is a queer Trinidadian artist, librarian, birth worker and educator. She is the founder of the Black Unicorn Library and Archives Project, a Black feminist community library. Bekezela is a member of BOOM Concepts, a community space and gallery dedicated to supporting artists and creative entrepreneurs, and serves as the Education Program Director at Dreams of Hope for queer youth arts and leadership.