A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde

A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde

Image courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde

The Museum of Modern Art, New York
From 3 December 2016 to 12 March 2017

The Museum of Modern Art presents A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde, an exhibition that brings together 260 works from MoMA’s collection, tracing the arc of a period of artistic innovation between 1912 and 1935. The exhibition will be on view December 3, 2016–March 12, 2017. Planned in anticipation of the centennial year of the 1917 Russian Revolution, the exhibition highlights breakthrough developments in the conception of Suprematism and Constructivism, as well as in avant-garde poetry, theater, photography, and film.

A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde

Image courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art

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The exhibition features a rich cross-section of works across several mediums—opening with displays of pioneering non-objective paintings, prints, and drawings from the years leading up to and immediately following the Revolution, followed by a suite of galleries featuring photography, film, graphic design, and utilitarian objects, a transition that reflects the shift of avant-garde production in the 1920s. Made in response to changing social and political conditions, these works probe and suggest the myriad ways that a revolution can manifest itself in an object.

A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde

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The Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10 (zero-ten), held in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) in December 1915, highlighted two new models of abstraction. One, developed by Vladimir Tatlin, focused on a group of nonrepresentational Counter-Reliefs. The other, proposed by Kazimir Malevich, unveiled a radically new mode of abstract painting that abandoned reference to the outside world in favor of colored geometric shapes floating against white backgrounds. Because this new style claimed supremacy over the forms of nature, Malevich called it Suprematism. While Suprematism’s focus on pure form had a spiritual bent, the adherents of Constructivism privileged the creation of utilitarian objects with orderly, geometric designs.

A Revolutionary Impulse: The Rise of the Russian Avant-Garde

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The exhibition includes an in-depth look at Soviet avant-garde cinema, in a gallery that features clips from seminal films by Alexander Dovzhenko, Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Dziga Vertov, highlighting a variety of strategies in montage, including disjunctive cutting, extreme close-ups, unusual angles, and image superimposition. The Constructivist architect Iakov Chernikov applied his ideas to imagine a future reflecting the avant-garde culture of the new Soviet Union. His Architectural Fantasies: 101 Compositions in Color, 101 Architectural Miniatures (1933) featured here, however, never had a chance to materialize. Joseph Stalin’s repressive regime effectively put an end to Constructivism and other avant-garde activities in the cultural sphere by the mid-1930s.

 more. moma.org

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