Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017

Stalin in Front of the Mirror, painting by Komar and Melamid
Oct 14, 2017 - Feb 18, 2018
Dodge Gallery (Lower Level)

This exhibition draws attention to the centennial of this major event in the history of Russia from a unique perspective: it considers the political, social, and cultural aftermath reflected in art created from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 established a communist regime, which not only abruptly changed history in Russia, but also defined global politics for much of the twentieth century. Within Russia, the revolution influenced all aspects of life, including the development of the arts. In the years immediately following the revolution, artists felt an unprecedented creative freedom, enhanced by the ambition to build a new world and a new material environment for the post-revolutionary society. However, during the second half of the twentieth century, artists switched their focus to the widespread disillusionment with the Soviet system, reflecting on its faults and flaws, in particular the government’s attempt to control all spheres of life. The exhibition demonstrates the contrast between images of bravado inspired by Soviet propaganda and those that commemorate the epoch of terror under Joseph Stalin.

The exhibition pays tribute to the initial goal of the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection to preserve the art created under government restriction and danger of prosecution. It complements programs devoted to the Russian Revolution organized at major museums around the world, including MoMA in New York, as well as Tate Modern and the Royal Academy in London.

Organized by Julia Tulovsky, Curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art

Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid
Stalin in Front of the Mirror, 1982
Tempera and oil on canvas
35 13/16 x 24 in. (91 x 61 cm)
Purchased with funds donated by Norton Dodge and Nancy Dodge
2002.0037