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Russian Art of the Revolution

DATES June 15, 1971 through July 25, 1971
ORGANIZING DEPARTMENT European Painting and Sculpture
  • June 7, 1971 The first major American museum exhibition devoted entirely to the works of Russian revolutionary painters and sculptors will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum when RUSSIAN ART OF THE REVOLUTION opens on June 15 in the museum’s Special Exhibition Galleries. The exhibit of more than 65 paintings, drawings, original prints and constructions spans the pre- and post-revolutionary period of 1908 to 1925. Also included is a group of costume and stage designs as the theatre provided an ideal outlet for most of the prominent young avant-garde artists of that period.

    In spite of its avowed goal of creating art for the people, the movement represented by the artists in RUSSIAN ART OF THE REVOLUTION has been described by some critics as the most esoteric in the history of art. Intensely aware of the aesthetic revolutions taking place in Paris at the same period, and fired with their own utopian enthusiasms and desires to transform their culture, the Russians went on to create their own new movements - Rayonnism, Suprematism, Constructivism. Among these innovators were Larionov, Malevitch, and Tatlin whose works are featured in RUSSIAN ART OF THE REVOLUTION along with Chagall, Kandinsky, Puni, Goncharova and Rodchenko.

    The exhibition of RUSSIAN ART OF THE REVOLUTION was assembled by Thomas W. Leavitt, director of the Andrew Dickson White Museum of Art at Cornell University and was on display there through March 25. Professor Leavitt spent almost a year in locating the works which would best convey the feeling of excitement that typified the period following the revolution when the revolutionary artists took over the art schools, organized workshops, and threw out the academicians and their staid traditions. Disillusion came to many of the Russian revolutionary artists in the mid-20’s when rather than submit to the new Communist government’s demands for “heroic realism” in art, some of them took up other careers while others fled the country, including such renowned expatriates as Marc Chagall and Vasily Kandinsky.

    RUSSIAN ART OF THE REVOLUTION will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum through July 25 and an illustrated catalogue with historical and biographical notes will be available for $3.00.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1971, 031-32.
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