Dmitri Prigov, 66; artist and influential poet of the post-Soviet era

From Times Wire Reports

Dmitri Prigov, 66, an avant-garde artist and poet considered one of the most influential writers of the post-Soviet era, died Monday in a Moscow hospital, the RIA-Novosti news agency said.

Prigov had been in intensive care since a heart attack July 7.

A prolific poet, Prigov's work has been widely published since the late 1980s, but he was perhaps best known in the West for his live performances, which incorporated visual and musical elements.

He and his close friend, Lev Rubenstein, were leaders of the so-called conceptualist school, which arose in unofficial Soviet art in the late 1960s. They were believed to have been the first in Russia to regard performance as an art form.

Until he fell ill, Prigov was planning to return to the ideals of his youth and participate in a performance in which he would sit in a wardrobe as it was hauled up 22 flights of stairs at Moscow State University and read poems all the way to the top, the Moscow Times reported.

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