Write an exhibition review of “The power of picture” combining Moszynska and Duncan’s article. Focusing on how curator design the whole exhibition (I will uploaded photo later); why Jewish museum doing this show; why in a mansion and use metal installation; feel fresh or old? Is the show connected with present days? Also, analyzing the photographies showing compare one to another; what the propaganda behind these? Abstracts vs. expressionism? But mainly focus on the whole show.
The rise of abstract art transformed Western culture. Starting in 1929 New York’s Museum of Modern Art acquired a collection of European non-objective painting and at the same time, offered a new installation strategy as a means of educating the public. But the “new vision” that swept across Europe and the newly formed Soviet Union was not entirely embraced. The public and some critics remained skeptical. And in Russia advanced art was, by 1932, deemed a “deviation from the main trajectory of the development of Soviet art,” according to Masha Chlenova. For the avant-garde, this cultural shift led to their socio-cultural marginalization (or more aptly, their “extirpation” to quote Malevich).
Implied throughout the readings and more concretely expressed in The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film is a dialectic struggle between modes of aesthetic representation—cool objectivity versus subjective expressionism. (See Moszynska’s discussion of the Bauhaus on pgs. 92-99).
Using “The Power of Pictures” as a case study, analyze the exhibition in terms of (1) curatorial premise; (2) overall design program—describe the designer’s approach to this subject—and how it correlates to the curator’s point; (3) key “moments” in the exhibit where dialectics about abstraction-realism is achieved; (4) the way in which the exhibition design is also ideological; what “ritual” (following Duncan) are you asked to assume as a visitor? (5) does the exhibit make the century-old, Soviet pictorial experimentation relevant now? And, (6) what is the significance of the museum itself—The Jewish Museum—as a venue for this subject?
Be sure to contextualize the Soviet Union by referencing both Chlenova and Moszynska for historical background.
In your essay, you might want to reference the Jewish Museum’s design strategy in terms of how it compares to Alfred Barr’s ideal installation for modern art.
Helpful Hints for the Jewish Museum Visit:
Be sure you correctly note the artist’s name, title of artwork, and date it was made.
Note the elements of the exhibition design: use of color, lighting, text/graphics styles, placement of didactic information and its impact on the artwork. Make sketches of what you see.
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