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"Amazons of the Avant Garde: Six Russian Artists"
1999-11-18 until 2000-02-06
Royal Academy of Arts
London, , UK United Kingdom

The beginning of the 20th century was a unique period in the history of art when artists had a crucial impact on political, ideological and social thought. One of the most singular phenomena of that era was the outstanding work produced by women artists of the Russian avant-garde between 1910-30. Never before, or since, has a group of female artists proved to be such an impetus in the world of art. Their influence was spread further by the diversity of media they employed: book design, decorative and monumental art, textiles, fashions, film, theatrical and utilitarian design, oil paintings and graphic art.

While the remarkable aesthetic achievements of the Russian avant-garde have been well documented in recent years, this essential component still remains to be recognised. These artistsí lives and careers raised a new set of expectations with regard to the goals and social status of women throughout Russia and many other countries. The unprecedented success and artistic heritage of these women, in large part, strongly influenced the wave of American women artists who began their careers in the 1960s and 70s.

The exhibition will feature the work of six extraordinary artists whose innovations in both the fine and applied arts served to usher in an entirely new cultural era. These artists all shared what Rozanova described as a drive to discover wholly new bases of artistic creation, and in so doing, each developed her own original, independent style within the Russian avant-garde.

In the words of their contemporary, the Russian poet Benedict Livshitz: These singular women were a very important driving force for the avant-garde movement and brought with them a pioneer spirit, without which the successful development of the movement would have been unimaginable.

Structured around individual surveys of each of their discrete but related oeuvres, the exhibition will trace the evolution of Modern Russian art (1910-1924) from Neo-Primitivism, Cubo-Futurism and Rayism to Suprematism and Constructivism.

The catalogue will provide never before published documentation on this historic era, while offering a long overdue analysis of the contribution to the social, cultural and psychological phenomena of the woman artist in the emergence of a critical 20th century vanguard.

This exhibition has been organised by The Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York.


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