New York

New York

Aleksandr Rodchenko

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art
11 West 53rd Street
June 25–October 6, 1998

Aleksandr Rodchenko rejected the introspective mysticism of Suprematism and envisioned a future shaped by artist-engineers and proletarian consumers. It didn't happen, and today his sharp graphic ads for cigarettes and beer are wildly at odds with our vision of the worker-as-victim-of-consumerism; his brilliantly composed advertisements for the state are compromised by the fact that the happy workers he portrays are all too often forced laborers, and his utopian ideals proved sounder in theory than practice. Still, Rodchenko remains a sentimental favorite. In this show of 318 works, organized by Peter Galassi and Magdalena Dabrowski with art historian Leah Dickerman, the formalist’s style speaks of innovation and hope, and we’re all nostalgic for the idea of a future.