Maria Mileeva is a specialist in Soviet and Post-Soviet art and culture. Her research and teaching focus on the production, circulation, and consumption of socialist art practices across the globe during the late Imperial, Soviet, Stalinist, late Soviet, and post-Soviet periods. Maria’s current major research project interrogates the linkages between the cultural policies of socialist realism and socialist internationalism in the former Soviet Republics, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Her research centres around postcolonial and decolonial narratives of the Russo-Soviet imperial projects and Soviet multinationalism.
Maria received a BA in History of Art at the University of Cambridge (2005), and MA (2006) and PhD (2011) at The Courtauld Institute of Art. Her doctoral thesis examined exhibitions of international art in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and 1930s with a particular focus on the history of the State Museum of New Western Art (GMNZI), Moscow. Maria has also worked as an Assistant Curator of ‘Cold War Modern: Design 1945-1970’, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in autumn 2008.
Since finishing her PhD, Maria has taught at The Courtauld Institute of Art and University College London (UCL). In 2016-17, she was an Associated Researcher in the Faculty of Art History, at the European University, St Petersburg. She continues to serve as the Co-Director of the Cambridge Courtauld Russian Art Centre (CCRAC) and the Co-Convenor of PPV (Perverting the Power Vertical: Politics and Aesthetics), an art and research platform based at University College London. In 2020, PPV curated PiraMMMida.life, a virtual mutation of a show planned for that year’s postponed Venice Biennale of Architecture; in 2019, PPV co-curated The Palace of Ritual in Venice’s Palazzo Dona Brusà, held during the preview week of the 58th Venice Biennale of Art.
Current & Future
- MA History of Art: Beyond Utopia: Soviet and Post-Soviet Art
- BA History of Art Year 3: Global Constructivism: Art Politics and the Everyday
- BA1Foundations: Art, Industry, and Politics in the Late-Nineteenth and Mid-Twentieth Centuries.
- BA1 Topic Course: Avant-Garde and Neo-Avant-Garde
- BA2: Lessons in Interpretation
- BA 2 Frameworks: Postcolonialism
- BA 2 Constellations: Cold War Cultures: Art in a Divided World, 1945-1991
- BA 3: Strands of Non-Objectivity: Russian Constructivism and its International Context 1918-1937
- MA History of Art: Contacts and Contexts in Russian Art c. 1905-1945
- Cultural exchange and artistic production during the late Imperial, Soviet, Stalinist, late Soviet, and post-Soviet periods.
- Soviet multinationalism and the arts in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
- Postcolonial and decolonial narratives of the Russo-Soviet imperial projects.
- Soviet anti-imperialism and socialist internationalism in the postcolonial world.
- The politics of international exhibition design.
- International constructivism; material culture of the everyday.
- Issues of centre and periphery; exile and emigration; national identity and empire in Soviet and Post-Soviet art and culture.
piRaMMMida (David Roberts, Denis Maksimov-Gupta, Maria Mileeva, Michal Murawski), “Making Pyramids Disappear: Faux Horizontalism and Wild Capitalist Topologies of Speculation”. In Marina Vishmidt (ed.), Speculation: Documents in Contemporary Art, (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press/The Whitechapel Gallery, 2023), 147-156
Exhibition review, “In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s”, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid 29th November 2022 – 30th April 2023, The Burlington, 165: April 2023, 436-438
“Imagined Solidarities: Cairo-Moscow and the Struggle for Realist Art”, in a special issue of Art History “Red Networks: Postwar Art Exchange”, ed. Vivian Li, 45: 5 (November 2022), 974-995
“The Creative Mistakes of Socialist Realism”, in New Narratives of Russian and East European Art. Between Traditions and Revolutions, eds. Maria Taroutina and Galina Mardilovich (New York and London: Routledge, 2019), 136-150
“Artist as a cultural emissary across the borders of interwar Europe: The case of El Lissitzky,” in Der Künstler in der Fremde: Migration – Reise – Exil, eds. Uwe Fleckner, Maike Stenkamp and Heindrik Ziegler (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015), 219-241
“Utopia in Retreat: The Closure of the State Museum of New Western Art (GMNZI), 1948,” in Christina Lodder, Maria Kokkori, and Maria Mileeva (eds.) Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond (Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2013), 203-219
Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond, Christina Lodder, Maria Kokkori and Maria Mileeva (eds.) (Brill: Leiden and Boston, 2013)