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Thursday, September 14, 2017 to Sunday, January 28, 2018


Smart Museum of Art



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Smart Museum of Art


Presented on the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution, this exhibition immerses visitors in the distinct textures and speeds of everyday life that arose—and have lingered stubbornly—in the wake of revolutionary upheaval.

Revolution Every Day juxtaposes works of Soviet graphic art—primarily posters from the 1920s and 1930s, many by female artists such as Valentina Kulagina—with works on video and film, including excerpts from Dziga Vertov’s documentary films from the 1930s, post-Soviet videos by artists like Olga Chernysheva, as well as a new commission by Cauleen Smith. Focused on the experiences of women under (and after) communism, these works involve viewers in visual and aural conversations concerning the temporality of the everyday, revealing how socialist labor involves feats of endurance and patience as much as heroic action.

In its innovative exhibition design and distinct approach to its subject, Revolution Every Day, much like the Smart’s 2011 exhibition Vision and Communism, undermines our readymade responses to the Russian Revolution and makes it possible for Western audiences to experience Soviet visual art anew.

Lene Berg, Maria Bri-Bein, Olga Chernysheva, Aleksandr Deineka, Elizaveta Ignatovich, Gustav Klutsis, Vitaly Komar, Viktor Koretsky, Valentina Kulagina, Anri Sala, Cauleen Smith, Dziga Vertov, and others.

The exhibition is accompanied by a unique publication inspired by the venerable tradition of Soviet and Russian tear-off calendars. The book has 365 calendar pages and features a diverse range of images and texts drawn from primary source materials that explore the historical and experiential dimensions of revolution. It will also feature essays and other original contributions from the curators, artists, and scholars. Published by the Smart Museum of Art in collaboration with Mousse. Available fall 2017.

Robert Bird, Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures, and Cinema and Media Studies, The University of Chicago; Christina Kiaer, Associate Professor of Modern Art, Northwestern University; and Zachary Cahill, Curator for the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry, The University of Chicago; in collaboration with Diane Miliotes, Interim Curator of Modern Art and Design, Smart Museum of Art.

Support for this exhibition has been provided by the Smart Museum’s Pamela and R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric Exhibition Fund. Additional support has been provided by the Museum’s SmartPartners.

Presented in the Richard and Mary L. Gray Gallery

Image: Olga Chernysheva, March (2005). Courtesy: Diehl, Berlin; Pace, London; Foxy Production, New York.