What contemporary Russian emigr? painter and conceptual artist Aleksandr Melamid (1945-) calls himself, instead of an artist. He has refused to define what the term means, except to say that it does not mean artist. He distances himself from all who feel there is anything particularly special about art. Russian painters and performance artists. Aleksandr Melamid has been associated with Vitaly Komar (1943-) since they were classmates at the Stroganov School and at the Academy of Art in Vilnius. They moved to Israel in 1977, and to the USA in 1978.