Transforming the World: Russian Avant-garde and Russian Studies at the University of Oregon

An exhibit in conjunction with the 2015 Biennial Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Graduate Symposium

April - August, 2015

Knight Library, main floor -- East and West display cases
April 27 - August 31, 2015

Exhibited in four display cases on the first floor of Knight Library are the works of early twentieth century Russian Avant-garde art pioneers, scholarly publications by REEES faculty, and profiles of the REEES and Comparative Literature graduate students who are presenting their work in this year’s REEES Graduate Student Symposium.

Early Russian Avant-garde art was created from ca. 1907-1934. Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Nataliia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Olga Rozanova and many other artists, litterateurs, actors and actresses, playwrights, and philosophers are both pioneers and founders of Russian Avant-garde, which started with a pathos for change and freedom in creativity. The Russian Avant-garde comprised Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Constructivism, Rayonism, Neo-primitivism, and Supermartism. Futurism and Cubo-Futurism were reflected in art and literature, Suprematism—in painting, Constructivism—in architecture and poster design. In the late 1920s, changes in Soviet government and political policies made Socialist Realism the official style for creating art. In 1934, Joseph Stalin and his comrades-in-arms declared avant-garde to be bourgeois art and banned it, insisting that the communist society was to produce its own art and culture. Official guidelines were laid down for the creation of Soviet art, and the state kept a tight rein on personal creative expression. Consequently, an underground counterculture started developing in the Soviet Union in the 1930s-1950s to preserve the artistic heritage and works created at the beginning of the twentieth century.

In conjunction with this exhibit, the University of Oregon Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies Program will be holding its biennial Graduate Symposium on Friday, May 1, 2015, with presentations scheduled in the Knight Library Browsing Room from 8:45 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. See the full event program here.

Nina Gurianova, Associate Professor with Northwestern University and winner of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages 2013 Best Book Award in Literary/Cultural Studies, will conclude the Symposium with a lecture on “Wars and Utopias of the Russian Avant-Garde." Knight Library Browsing Room, May 1, 2015 at 4:00pm.