new-york

“The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910–1934”

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

It is tremendously difficult to present a successful exhibition of artists’ books. Reading is a famously intimate activity, and the artist’s book is usually a visual object writ small, meant to be held and perused over time. Add to the task the elucidation of a historical context and a grand ideological design scheme, and the chances of making an uneven or illegible show increase dauntingly. How satisfying, then, to find this richly informative and superbly installed exhibition, which showcased a recently donated collection without sycophancy, explicated a detailed chronology without didacticism, and, crucially, presented books in vitrines without deadening their multi-foliate presence.

Organized by Deborah Wye, chief curator of prints and illustrated books, and Margit Rowell, former chief curator of drawings, the show comprised more than three hundred books, magazines, broadsides, and

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