Constructing a New World: Soviet Russia in the 1920s-30s

Constructing A New World: The Soviet Experiment, 1920s-30s

On View: March 1- October 15, 2018, Amherst Center for Russian Culture

Left: Valentina Kulagina, To the Defense of the USSR, 1929. Collection Merrill C. Berman | Right: Gustav Klutsis, Spartakiada, 1928. Collection Merrill C. Berman

The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was one of the greatest upheavals of the twentieth century. Its leaders envisioned a new society, thoroughly reshaped in accordance with their radical program of social justice. Constructing a New World features works by a wide range of Russian artists, who responded to events transforming Russian society, not only the revolution but the subsequent civil war, and such developments as rapid industrialization of the country.

Bringing together artworks from the Thomas P. Whitney Collection of Russian Art and selected rare books and journals from the Amherst Center for Russian Culture, Constructing a New World also includes important works on loan from Hampshire College, The Merrill Berman Collection, and the Nailya Alexander Gallery in New York.

The exhibition also features many works by Constructivist artists, including their experiments in the areas of photomontage and children’s books. The Constructivists’ utilitarian theories dispensed with art to satisfy the decorative and aesthetic needs of the individual, instead linking the creative process with technical progress, functionality, and manufacturing. The ideas of standardization and machine aesthetics were behind Constructivist artists’ appropriation of scientific, technical, and documentary photography for their book designs and posters

This exhibition is organized by Alla Rosenfeld, Ph.D., Curator of Russian and European Art at Amherst College’s Mead Art Museum.

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