Emilia Kabakov (nee Lekach) was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Soviet Union, in 1945. She attended Moscow Music School, Music College in Irkutsk and Dnepropetrovsk in addition to studying Spanish language and literature at the Moscow University. She immigrated to Israel in 1973, and moved to New York in 1975, where she worked as a curator and art advisor. She worked for 7 years as an adviser to a private group of investors.
Their work has been shown in museums including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Pompidou Centre, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Documenta IX, at the 1997 Whitney Biennial and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg among others. In 1993 they represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale with their installation The Red Pavilion. The Kabakovs have also completed many important public commissions throughout Europe and have received a number of honours and awards, including the Oscar Kokoschka Preis, Vienna, in 2002 and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, in 1995.
The Kabakovs live and work in Long Island.