Mary A. Nicholas

Williams Hall, Room 406
PhD, University of Pennsylvania


Soviet and post-Soviet art and literature


An award-winning teacher, Mary Nicholas is Professor of Russian in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Lehigh University. She is the author of Writers at Work: Russian Production Novels and the Construction of Soviet Culture (Bucknell University Press, 2010) and the forthcoming monograph Moscow Conceptualism: Words and Deeds of a Radical Art Movement, as well as numerous articles on Soviet and post-Soviet art, prose, and poetry. 

Courses Taught:

Russian language, elementary to advanced
Russian literature, in the original and in translation
Russian cultural history, medieval to modern

Selected Publications:

“Moscow Conceptualism, Post-Soviet Suprematism, and Beyond: Reimagining the Russian Avant-Garde.” The Poetics of Avant-garde in Literature, Arts, and Philosophy. Edited by Slav Gratchev. New York: Lexington Books, 2020.

“Words on/of Collective Actions.” Kul’tura v global’nom mire. Svetlana Anan’eva, ed. Almaty, 2020, pp. 297-310.

“Resurrecting the Avant-Garde: Post-modernist Tactics in Moscow Conceptualism.” The Stedelijk Museum and the Khardzhiev Foundation. The Many Lives of the Russian Avant-Garde. Nikolai Khardzhiev's Legacy: New Contexts. Edited by Dennis Ioffe and Frederick H. White. Pegasus Oost-Europese Studies Vol. 32. Uitgeverij Pegasus, Amsterdam 2019: 455-474.

“Rereading Moscow Conceptualism.” Slavic Review, Spring 2016, 75, 1: 22-51.

“Yuri Albert I am not,” in Yuri Albert, “What Did the Artist Mean by That?” Curator Ekaterina Degot. Moscow Museum of Modern Art, November 22, 2013-January 12, 2014 (

“Eto odna kasha: Word as Image in Work by Dmitrij Prigov.” Russian Literature, 76, no. 3, November 2014, 361-80.

"'We Were Born to Make Fairytales Come True': Reinterpreting political texts in unofficial Soviet art, 1972-1992." Canadian Slavonic Papers, special issue devoted to the end of the Soviet Union, 53, no. 2-3-4 (2011), 335-359.

"Artist and Words"/ "Khudozhnik i ego slova."English/Russian essay on artist Yuri Albert. Yuri Albert, “Exhibition.” Moscow: Novosti, 2007, 2-27.