The Russian avant-garde’s most fertile years get a comprehensive show

With few artistic periods as  innovative as the short window between the last days of the Tsar and the death of Lenin, the Russian avant-garde of the early 20th century was a kaleidoscopic mix of different aesthetic styles, each seeking to break with the past and competing to define what’s modern.

With 130 pieces by the likes of Wassily Kandinksy, Natalia Goncharov, Mikhail Larionov, Alexandra Exter and the eponymous Marc Chagall and Kazimir Malevich, this cooperation with the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg aims to show the rich diversity of Russian art at the time even within works by the same artist.

With schools like Rayonism, Cubo-Futurism, Suprematism, Constructivism and Neo-Primitivism, not to mention Soviet agitprop all striving for dominance,  competition was often fierce between colleagues, with big names like Kandinsky and Chagall edged out by rivals – even before Stalin put an end to the party by declaring all non-Socialist Realist art degenerate and bourgeois.

CHAGALL TO MALEVICH: The Russian Avant-Gardes
Through Jun 26, Albertina