9 February – 26 May 2024
Pre-revolutionary and post-revolutionary Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa were important centers of new artistic movements in Ukraine, and many well-known artists of the historical avant-garde in Europe began or spent a considerable part of their professional careers in those cities. Because the movement originated when Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire, the Ukrainian avant-garde has often been confused with the Russian avant-garde. The slow process of reclaiming what was appropriated by the Russian cultural space began in the late 1980s and became especially invigorated after Ukraine regained its independence in 1991. The Ukrainian Museum has been at the forefront of this process, showcasing the work of such artists as Alexander Archipenko and Borys Kosarev, as well as presenting the group exhibitions Staging the Ukrainian Avant-Garde of the 1910s and 1920s (2015) and The Impact of Modernity: Late 19th and Early 20th Century Ukrainian Art (2019).
This exhibition displays English- and Ukrainian-language books from the Museum’s library, including a few of our own catalogs, that underscore the contributions of Ukrainian artists to the avant-garde movement. The featured artists in print include Alexandra Exter, Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Archipenko, Borys Kosarev, Vadym Meller, Heorhii Narbut, Vasyl Yermilov, Alexander Bogomazov, Mykhailo Boychuk, and Anatol Petrytsky. The exhibition also includes a selection of books discussing the movement as a whole and Ukraine’s place in it. The publications on display are augmented by a few works on paper from the collection donated to the Museum by Dr. Jurij Rybak and Anna Ortynskyj (except Archipenko’s lithograph). For the most part, they are drawings of stage costume designs by Alexandra Exter, Isaac Rabinovich, Anatol Petrytsky, Vadym Meller, and Mykhailo Andriienko-Nechytailo.