Russian & Soviet Avant-garde
While there was never a singular 'Russian Avant-garde' movement, the category is often invoked as a blanket term to bring together a disparate group of visual artists (including filmmakers and photographers), playwrights and theater directors, writers, various art projects, journals and collectives involved in cultural experimentation and formal innovation from 1910 to 1930. As John Bowlt and Olga Matich in Laboratory of Dreams observe, these divergent personalities and groupings fundamentally shared ?certain attitudes to the artistic process and to the purpose of culture.? Working in a politically and socially tumultuous milieu, they endeavored to unfix artistic conventions and field boundaries. This course intends to re-situate art movements (Constructivism, Futurism, Supramatism), well-known Russian avant-garde figures such as Khlebnikov, Rotchenko, Kandinsky, Poppova, Rosanova, Lizzitsky, Mayakovsky, Malevich, Tatlin, Meyerhold, Vertov, Eisenstein, and Kuleshov, as well as Lef, Proletkult and other similar movements within the fluid and revolutionary moment in history that spans the decade leading to the October Revolution of 1917 and the decade that followed up to the Stalinist purges and the establishment of Socialist Realism as the official art of the Soviet Union. The course also examines the lasting influence of Russian avant-garde on the artistic practices trans-nationally and throughout the 20th century.