What about Revolution? Aesthetic Practices after 1917

, University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

El Lissitzky, Proun, 1926. Gouache, gray wash, graphite, silver paint, and colored paper collage on brown card. Harvard Art Museums/Busch-Reisinger Museum, The Fredric Wertham Collection, Gift of his wife Hesketh, 1985.200. Artwork: © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

University Teaching Gallery, Harvard Art Museums

Complementing undergraduate and graduate seminars on the role of modern artists in revolution, this University Teaching Gallery installation presents three new models of avant-garde aesthetic practice that developed in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution of October 1917. The first model comprises El Lissitzky’s expansion of abstraction into the realms of architecture and exhibition design; a second is the experimental photography advanced in the mid- to late 1920s by the constructivist Aleksandr Rodchenko; and the third model is the design of deluxe publications for the party-state.

The installation’s related seminars are taught by Maria Gough, the Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Professor of Modern Art in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. The University Teaching Gallery serves faculty and students affiliated with Harvard’s Department of History of Art and Architecture. Semester-long installations are mounted in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate courses, supporting instruction in the critical analysis of art and making unique selections from the museums’ collections available to all visitors.

The installation is made possible in part by funding from the Gurel Student Exhibition Fund and the José Soriano Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.