2021 marks the 90th anniversary of the birth of Anatoly Timofeevich Zverev (November 3, 1931 – December 9, 1986). To honor him, the AZ Museum will launch several significant exhibitions and publishing projects during the year. Here is one we are very enthusiastic about and which is geared to emerging contemporary artists.

The CEO of the AZ Museum Natalia Opaleva and the art director Polina Lobachevskaya decided to link the anniversary to contemporary art and establish the Zverev Art Prize, which will be based on results of an open contest. The Prize is presented to one or several artists, whose works will resonate with the spirit of the Zverev's art.

Since the inception of the museum, we have been exploring various facets of the artistic world of our hero (from his masterful animalier drawings to his eminent portraits and self-portraits).

But Zverev's energy also carries an astonishing importance for contemporary times. By celebrating the artist's birthday, the AZ Museum is focusing towards not the past, but the future – towards emerging artists and contemporary approaches.

We are pleased to announce the start of an open contest leading up to the exhibition of artworks by contemporary artists and to the Zverev Art Prize ceremony that will be given to the winner. We welcome artists who work in a variety of media from any country in the world to connect with Zverev's art and engage in an artistic dialogue with him. As a start of that dialogue, we would like to invoke the epigraph which opens Anatoly Zverev's autobiography:

"Art is free, life is constrained", – that is what Eugene Lanceray, a member of the Russian artistic movement "World of Art" stated. Zverev made this the overarching principle of his life: a true artist is always breaking the manacles imposed by various regimes. Anatoly Zverev was utterly free, beyond any regulations and orders issued by political and societal systems. The artist tore up traditions and searched uncompromisingly for new forms with an eye to the future. That is the kind of energy and vision that we appreciate most in contemporary artists.

We accept applicants of any gender, race, and nationality. And, the type of works submitted may be quite wide – from painting, sculpture and graphic art to street art, conceptual treatises, animation, and video art. We will consider applications for future art objects that will require financial assistance (screenplays, installation projects, etc.) The possibility of such assistance is considered separately for each shortlisted participant. The criteria for artworks and projects to be accepted is as follows: the art object should be created specially for the Zverev Art Prize, never been displayed before and correlated with its topic.

The contest will be held in stages. First, a judging panel consisting of leading figures of the contemporary art world will select the most significant artworks for an exhibition. Afterwards, those nominees' works will be evaluated by the jury, which will decide the laureates of the Prize.