The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934
Edited by Deborah Wye and Margit Rowell. Essays by Jared Ash, Gerald Janecek, Nina Gurianova, Margit Rowell and Deborah Wye.
Russian avant-garde books made between 1910 and 1934 reflect a vivid and tumultuous period in that nation's history that had ramifications for art, society and politics. The early books, with their variously sized pages of coarse paper, illustrations entwined with printed, handwritten and stamped texts, and provocative covers, were intended to shock academic conventions and bourgeois sensibilities. After the 1917 Revolution, books appeared with optimistic designs and photomontage meant to reach the masses and symbolize a rational, machine-led future. Later books showcased modern Soviet architecture and industry in the service of the government's agenda. Major artists adopted the book format during these two decades. They include Natalia Goncharova, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, the Stenberg brothers, Varvara Stepanova and others. These artists often collaborated with poets, who created their own transrational language to accompany the imaginative illustrations. Three major artistic movements, Futurism, Suprematism and Constructivism, that developed during this period in painting and sculpture also found their echo in the book format. This publication accompanied an exhibition of Russian avant-garde books at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. All of the books in the exhibition and this publication are part of a gift to the Museum from The Judith Rothschild Foundation.