Dmitri Prigov, one of the most influential poets of the post-Soviet era, died early Monday in a Moscow hospital, the RIA-Novosti news agency reported. He was 66. Prigov had been in intensive care since suffering a heart attack July 7. 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 the first in Russia to see performance as a form of art. Prigov was a prolific poet and his work has been widely published since the late 1980s. He was perhaps better known in the West for his live performances, which incorporated visual and musical elements. Until he fell ill, Prigov was planning to return to the ideals of his youth and to participate in a performance where he would sit in a wardrobe as it was hauled up the 22 flights of stairs of Moscow State University, reading poems all the way to the top, The Moscow Times reported.
LR: An uninitiated person would think that Prigov passed away quite young, and sense a tragedy. In fact, he was very old by the standards of the average Russian man, and that's the real tragedy.