I have never really been one for art, and Revolution: New Art for a New World, did little to move me on that particular subject, but it was very informative. I can honestly say that I learned a lot more about the Russian avant-garde period than I knew beforehand, which was basically nothing. This educational film would be very suitable for an art history class or those who are very passionate about art, as it truly does present a great amount of detail regarding the time period. It even goes as far as to interview descendants of the pioneer artists of the era, such as Kazmir Malevich and Wassily Kandinsky. For those among you who are art lovers and want to be able to talk about the avant-garde with some level of understanding and comprehension, I would encourage you to give this documentary a watch.
So what is Russian avant-garde? It was an influential wave of works that were considered experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It was an art form that was popular during the Russian Empire and Soviet Union, namely between 1890 and 1930, which covered several art movements such as Suprematism, Constructivism, Russian Futurism, Cubo-Futurism, Zaum, and Neo-Primitivism. To me that all amounts to one specific term: abstract art.
Revolution: New Art for a New World is primarily focused on the time group in which Russian avant-garde reached its creative height during the Russian Revolution, where it clashed with the state-sponsored Socialist Realism movement. Stalin’s rise to power supposedly marked a close to this era; however, contemporary artists and curators continue to draw on the collections of Russian museums, displaying the art form’s lasting impact on even today’s artistic movements. Again, though the art itself is lost on a cultural dwarf such as myself, I admire the dedication that went into displaying the artwork and speaking with experts and descendants of the people who breathed life into these works. For me, the message behind the painting is just as important as the work itself, so being able to listen to experts speak on what motivated the artist or what the artist was attempting to convey provides me with perspective.
I learned a couple of things; I can say that much of my watching of Revolution: New Art for a New World. So at least if I ever find myself in a conversation about Russian avant-garde, I will be able to muddle through with some degree of competency. Now the chances of such a conversation occurring given the social circles that I travel in are very minimal, but you never know. I see this documentary as an educational tool that would be suitable for maybe a college level art history class ideally. It highlights key artwork in the era, as well as speaks to how said artwork was received by the masses. Though I am not the target audience, I came to appreciate the cultural significance of the subject matter. Imagine the effect that the film would have on those with a passion for the subject.