20th Century Russia Art in 25 Minutes
June 2, 2017 2:51 AM   Subscribe

Almost everything you need to know about 20th Century Russian art (slyt). Narrated by Brian Cox.

Arzamas Academy has also created Ancient Greece in 18 minutes and Ancient Rome in 20 minutes.
posted by Foci for Analysis (6 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Narrated by Brian Cox.

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:53 AM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

I peeked at the Russian-language version and damn, Brian Cox's narration goes a long way to make this thrilling.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 6:19 AM on June 2, 2017

Which Brian Cox? Scottish or English?
posted by koolkat at 6:19 AM on June 2, 2017 [2 favorites]

this format was really quite exhilarating, even though my tendency to 'gaze' at art was heavily subverted through the sheer pace of it.

I feel like if the video were annotated with links to more in-depth discussions of things mentioned, it would almost work as an education tool. as it is, it surfs the line between informative and entertaining fairly deftly.

I liked it a lot! more of this sort of thing.
posted by oog at 7:07 AM on June 2, 2017

OK, I watched fifteen minutes of it, and I'm gonna go ahead and gripe about its shortcomings, even though of course it's always a good thing to see great Russian art. First off, they largely ignore women. They show a few works by women, and have a few photographs of women in among the groups of men, but (at least as far as I got) they don't mention a single woman's name in the narration. The narrator actually says "Mikhail Larionov devises rayonnism," ignoring his wife, Natalia Goncharova, who was at least as important an artist as he and who was an equal partner in devising the movement (Wikipedia: "Mikhail Larionov and Natalia Goncharova developed rayonism after hearing a series of lectures about Futurism by Marinetti in Moscow").

Secondly, they ignore western art until the 1950s, treating Russian art as if all those movements sprang up on their own, out of nowhere. The explosion of modernist creativity in the early years of the century was vitally dependent on, and in turn influenced, concurrent developments in Western Europe; it's ludicrous to treat Russian Futurism, for instance, as if it had nothing to do with Italian Futurism (cf. that Wikipedia quote about lectures by Marinetti). Art is international; it makes no sense to draw borders around it and ignore what the artists themselves are paying close attention to.

And this really irritated me: "The revolution in art was followed by a real one—the Bolshevik Revolution." Oh really? You've never heard of the February Revolution? The one that got rid of the tsar, provided more freedom for the people (including a completely free press) than any other European country during WWI, and gave the vote to women (a year before the United Kingdom and three years before the United States)? That elision of history is, of course, common in popular memory, but I expect a would-be educational video to do better.
posted by languagehat at 7:18 AM on June 2, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thanks for this. My 2nd favorite college course was the Russian Avant-garde- eclipsed only by Electronic Synthesizer Techniques. That was a trip down memory lane.

Agreed Goncharova got a bit of a short shrift- especially considering the egalitarianism of the movement. And there's also the Italian influence in the futurists. But for me it was a wonderful watch. Thank you.
posted by mrzz at 4:50 PM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

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