Vladimir Tatlin's iconic model of 20th century revolutionary art, Monument for the Third International, is currently on exhibit for the first time in the U.S. at Tony Shafrazi Gallery. Tatlin, considered the father of the Russian Constructivist movement, worked on the scale model of the monumental structure from 1915-1920. The building, intended to serve as the headquarters of the Communist International, was to be erected in Petrograd, the birthplace of the Russian Revolution. The Monument was to be constructed of iron, steel, and glass, standing 1,300 feet, "more than 300 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower or the approximate height of The Empire State Building," (from the press release). Sadly, the architectural and engineering complexities of the project, along with political unrest and a shortage of steel doomed Tatlin's ambitious project to be unrealized.
The imposing, towering model was exhibited in Petrograd and Moscow in 1920, and then again, in Tatlin's absence, in Paris at the World Exhibition of Industrial and Decorative Art in 1925. The last time the model was displayed before Tatlin's death in 1953 was in Leningrad in 1930, and all models disappeared by 1932. In 1967, Pontus Hulten, Director of Stockholm's Moderna Museet, received permission from Tatlin's widow, Aleksandra Korsakova, to recreate the model with T.M. Shapiro, one of Tatlin's original collaborators. This model was debuted in the 1968 Vladimir Tatlin exhibition at the Moderna Museet. This is also the same model that is currently on view at Tony Shafrazi. Of the three existing versions made after Tatlin's death (one replica was made for the Center Georges Pompidou and another was made for Moderna Museet), the sculpture currently on display in New York is the only one "created under the supervision of Shapiro... and is the most accuarte rendition of his original 1920 design." Tatlin's magnificent scale model with its intricate, complex details and revolving center is renowned as "the defining symbol of Constructivist sculpture and architecture." Learn more at Tonyshafrazigallery.com. Through July 29th.
On view alongside Monument for the Third International is Revolutionary Film Posters: Aesthetic Experiments of Russian Constructivism, 1920-1933, an exhibit of 95 Russian film posters from "the great era of Constructivism." In response to the Russian Revolution, Constructivists tried to create order and "a more stable and harmonious society." In their attempts, they developed "rigorously experimental aesthetics" that were "applied across the entire social spectrum of contemporary experience to every mode of creative endeavor..." The graphic and surprisingly very modern posters feature some famous, old-school, western actors (i.e. Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.) as well as electric colors, energetic imagery, bold graphics, and several pained and overwrought facial expressions. They're all pretty stylized, severe, and exciting. If only movie posters today could be as creative and interesting. Learn more at Tonyshafrazigallery.com. Through July 29th.
Clockwise from top left: Alexander Naumov, The Stolen Bride, 1925; Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, The Knight's Move, 1927; Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, The Knight's Move, 1926; Georgii & Vladimir Stenberg, Shanghai Document, 1928