October 8, 2002
9:08 AM   Subscribe

The Russian Avant-Garde Book is an online version of the MoMA exhibit, featuring 112 books originally published in Russia during the intensely creative period between 1910 and 1934, before Stalin outlawed any style but social realism. The site is separated into three chronological themes and includes examples of futurist works, constructivist graphic design, children's books, propaganda, photography and photomontage, revolutionary imagery, architecture and industry, war themes, folk art and judaica...
posted by taz (16 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
(The small boxes on the right of each individual book page take you to different pages from the book when more than one page is available; click the box again to see a larger version of that image.) For an overview of the show, NY Arts Magazine published an article on the original exhibit, and here's a listing of major figures in the Russian Avant-Garde movement, with short bios and some links. The Guggenheim presented an exhibit concentrating on the ladies of Russian avant-garde, which (on a strange side-note) I actually found at a site called "russian-women-for-marriage.com", in this article.
posted by taz at 9:10 AM on October 8, 2002

You might want to check out the Costakis collection website. Not nearly as spectacular as the site you linked to but with very interesting works from the Russian Avant-Garde.
posted by talos at 9:18 AM on October 8, 2002

That web site was tremendous. What great Flash design for a really cool subject matter. Thanks for that link.
posted by Rattmouth at 9:24 AM on October 8, 2002

The "A Revolution of the Printed Word" section is fabulous, especially H2SO4 No. 1 and 1918. After seeing all of the hand drawn lettering and embellishments and details in these books, I'm inspired to try and make one myself. I've been hoarding links to these Russian poster sites - chock full of gorgeous type, for anyone who loves the letters.
posted by iconomy at 9:34 AM on October 8, 2002

taz: Thank you, thank you! Not that I've been able to actually load the site, thanks to my creaky work computer, but when I get home I'm hoping for great things. I loved that exhibit so much I went back the last day MOMA was open on 53rd St. (imagine the crowds) just so I could see it again. I wanted so badly to hold those books, turn the pages, smell them (yes, I'm a book-sniffer -- take me away, officer)... I should have gotten the damn catalog, but it was expensive and I chickened out. Maybe the Strand will have it. *runs off to Strand*
posted by languagehat at 10:25 AM on October 8, 2002

I'm a book-sniffer me'self, languagehat! (ps: even that creaky work computer might be able to open it, after not too long a wait; I'm on a teeny-tiny dial-up here.)
posted by taz at 10:56 AM on October 8, 2002

great post! i'll be spending the rest of my workday checking out artists there.
my favorite avante gard artist is el lissitzky. the getty research institute has a site devoted specifically to him called Monuments of The Future. there is also an online childrens book Suprematicheskii Skaz (About 2 Squares) by el lissitzky along with a nice interpretation.
posted by alicila at 11:24 AM on October 8, 2002

What I always want is to go back in time and give El Lissitzky a Mac G4 and Photoshop. So much of 20th-century design derives from these visionary Russians.
posted by zadcat at 11:35 AM on October 8, 2002

Fantastic. Thanks Taz.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:16 PM on October 8, 2002

I found this site on Coudal Partners a few months back, but forgot about it. Loved the Costakis Collection and Lissitzky sites too!

Spahseebah, MetaFilter comrades!
posted by MrBaliHai at 12:23 PM on October 8, 2002

Russian graphic design has always fascinated me, particularly what was done with Art Nouveau. Cool stuff. Now I will be depressed for the rest of the day since I live in a country that couldn't design its way out of a wet paper bag.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 12:34 PM on October 8, 2002

((drool)) ((schlurp)) Well, there goes the rest of the workday....
posted by redshoes3 at 12:35 PM on October 8, 2002

Taz, thanks so much for posting this -- I wasn't able to see the show at MOMA and haven't yet come up with the spare change for the catalogue, so this is great in the meantime!

Also in the meantime for those of you who really want to spend the rest of the day perusing great modernist art... check out MOMA's online exhibition of Alexander Rodchenko, one of Lissitzky's constuctivist comrades. There's also a good online exhibition of the work of Karel Teige, a terrific Czech avant-garde designer and theorist. The George Eastman House has a nice online archive of about 70 works by Lazslo Moholy-Nagy, who also founded the New Bauhaus in Chicago in the late 1930s. Speaking of which, check out the original Bauhaus here. (Unless you would prefer the other Bauhaus.)

For about a year, I worked on two books (as a researcher and editor) published in conjunction with an exhibition at the L. A. County Museum of Art called Central European Avant-Gardes: Exchange and Transformantion, 1910-1930. The show is currently on tour in Germany (no other U.S. venues, sadly; no online exhibition either), but if anyone is interested in the books, the catalogue and the sourcebook (a collection of several hundred original treatises, manifestoes, artists debates, etc.) are available from MIT Press. I hope this doesn't count as a self-link; I should say as a full disclaimer that I don't receive anything from any sales -- just wanted to pass on the info in case anyone would be interested. (They might be running as a package deal at Amazon, by the way.)
posted by scody at 1:56 PM on October 8, 2002

languagehat, check out the reading room section. You can't sniff, but you can virtually flip pages of some of the more complicated pieces.
posted by Jeff Howard at 3:31 PM on October 8, 2002

Oo! Ooo! I was trying to remember if MOMA did a Mayakovsky exhibit a few years ago when I found this terrific Mayakovsky site.

And speaking of Costakis, Bruce Chatwin, a great admirer of the Russian avant-garde himself, wrote an essay on the collector that's published in What am I doing here. I'm taking it down to reread right now.

Thanks for all the great links, everyone. I bow before early 20th century design.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:17 PM on October 8, 2002

What wonderful links from everybody! They're lovely, thanks.
posted by taz at 2:08 AM on October 9, 2002

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