Russian Revolution at 100: What Constitutes “Revolutionary Art”?

At the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, patrons are greeted with the site of Soviet-era art.

Vladimir Baranov Rossine: Female Figure

What constitutes “revolutionary art” one hundred years after the Russian Revolution?  At Pushkinskaya-10, a local art museum in St. Petersburg, patrons may take in a degree of somewhat subversive art.

Nikolai Yakimchuk, “Putin Rasputin”
Andrei Chezhin, “Putin Soap Opera”

On the outskirts of St. Petersburg, the Street Art Museum has revolutionary aspirations.  In the entrance way of the museum hangs a manifesto reading “Revolutionary art has always played an integral role in mass political uprising…The need for radical change and a desire for breaking all ties with the past became the impetus for people to take political action into the public.”  The Street Art Museum aims to “reflect on the phenomenon of revolution through art and to create a dialogue between modern artists from different countries.”

Lenin stands in front a mural giving the illusion of a facade from Czarist-era St. Petersburg.  The mural depicts St. Petersburg’s Baroque Winter Palace, which was originally constructed in 1732.  The building served as a Czarist royal residence and later seat of the provisional government in 1917.  Subsequently that year, the Bolsheviks stormed the palace.

A street mural proclaiming the need for open borders.
A detail from the No Borders mural.

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