Avdei Ter-Oganyan’s “School of Contemporary Art” (1995-1998) famously started off as a punchline and ended up creating a generation. Students including the artist’s son David Ter-Oganyan, Alexey Buldakov and Valery Shtak would go on to form the Radek Community. When, in 1998, Avdei went into self-exile following his much-scandalized attack on Orthodox icons, Anatoly Osmolovsky took over the instruction, leading the younger artists in actions like Barricades (1998) or Against Everyone (1999), for which the group stormed the Lenin mausoleum, unfurling a banner with the title words printed in large letters. (For a more in-depth history of Radek, check out David Riff’s blog.)
Since this time, there have been quite a few attempts at founding a contemporary art school within Russia (which still maintains a State Art Academy.) Among the most noteworthy of such attempts are Joseph Backstein’s Institute of Problems of Contemporary Art and Katya Degot at the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia, and most recently, the Strelka Institute, which grafted Rem Koolhaas’ curriculum onto the specific urban environment of Moscow (the Institute is now involved with redeveloping Gorky Park.) Osmolovsky has taken on students of his own as well, including Anya Titova, Arseny Zhilaev and Sergey Ogurtsov.