Moscow

Olga Rozanova, Non-objective Composition, 1916, oil on canvas, 28 × 26". From “The Museum of Pictorial Culture: To the 100th Anniversary of the First Museum of Contemporary Art.”

Olga Rozanova, Non-objective Composition, 1916, oil on canvas, 28 × 26". From “The Museum of Pictorial Culture: To the 100th Anniversary of the First Museum of Contemporary Art.”

“The Museum of Pictorial Culture”

New Tretyakov Gallery

In Moscow in 1918, the people’s commissar of education, Anatoly Lunacharsky, approved a list of 143 artists who sought to elevate the aesthetic sensibility of the working class. This new art was hailed as symbolic of the young country. Its creators—cutting-edge artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, David Shterenberg, and Vladimir Tatlin—received carte blanche to shape culture by establishing a museum for contemporary art in Moscow, a full decade before Alfred H. Barr Jr.’s founding of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. But the pioneering Soviet institution would close without explanation in 1929, thus transformed from a legendary aesthetic gambit into a ghost.

With its carefully collected and meticulously designed historical reconstruction of this institution’s trajectory, the stunning survey “The Museum of Pictorial Culture: To the 100th Anniversary

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