Launched September 5, 1995

Aug 25, 1995

Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid's first project for the world wide web will begin at Dia Center for the Arts' site, URL http://www.diacenter.org/komar&melamid/mostwanted paintings/, on September 5, 1995 and continue through 1997.

The Most Wanted Paintings web site is an extension of the artists' "People's Choice" project intended to discover what a true "people's" art would look like. Initially, through a professional marketing firm, the artists conducted a survey to determine what Americans want to see in a painting. The results were then used to create the painting America's Most Wanted.

Now, through the use of the world wide web, the project will be expanded in both scope and audience by surveying over a dozen countries, including France, Russia, China, Kenya, Iceland, Turkey, and others. The results (both the paintings and the correlating statistics) will be made available over the next two years to millions of people connected to the internet around the globe, as well as to visitors to museums and galleries where the project will be on view as a computer-based installation. Once connected to this project at Dia's web site, visitors will be able to see the paintings based on completed polls, analyze the survey data, and participate directly in the ongoing survey to create a new "Most Wanted" painting specific to the internet community. The final results will be based on data tallied at the end of 1996.

Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid were born in Moscow, Komar on September 11, 1943 and Melamid on July 14, 1945. Both artists attended the Moscow Art School from 1958 to 1960, and the Stroganov Institute of Art & Design, Moscow, from 1962 to 1967. Their collaborative work started in 1965; their first international exhibition was at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York, in 1976. Since then, they have had numerous public commissions and exhibitions throughout the world. In 1978, Komar & Melamid became United States residents. In 1981, they were the first Russian artists to receive a National Endowment for the Arts grant. Notorious dissidents before they left the Soviet Union, the artists have since been called "exasperating expatriates" for their travesties of Socialist Realism.

Dia Center for the Arts was one of the first contemporary arts institutions to launch a world wide web site. Opened to the public in March 1995, the web site at URL http://www.diacenter.org marked the beginning of Dia's new initiative in digital media, including a series of artist projects on the web. Fantastic Prayers, the artist project which launched with Dia's site, will remain accessible online. Dia approaches its new media programming with the same philosophy that defines its well-known exhibitions program: commitment to accommodating large-scale, long-term, ambitious site-specific projects by some of the world's most prominent, innovative artists.

The Chase Manhattan Bank is the primary sponsor for Komar & Melamid's Most Wanted Paintings project for the world wide web at Dia Center for the Arts.

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For additional information or materials contact:
Press Department, Dia Art Foundation, press@diaart.org or 212 293 5518

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