International Chamber of Russian Modernism
DOCUMENTS on the Founding and Organisation of the Museum of Artistic (or Painterly) Culture
Compiled by Patricia Railing 
A selection of documents setting out the aims of the Museum of Artistic Culture, policies of organisation and exhibition display, achievements in the purchasing of works of art for the State Art Fund, the collection from which groups of works that demonstrated the culture of artistic invention were chosen and then allocated to museums in Moscow, Petrograd and the provinces.

1918 – Vladimir Tatlin, Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaia, Report on a Museum of Contemporary Art
            Adopted 28 July 1918 by Narkompros Artistic Collegium, Moscow Artistic Collegium
1919 – David Shterenberg, Museum of Painterly Culture, in
            Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, May 1919
            Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919
1919 – David Shterenberg, Declaration of the Fine Arts and Artistic Industry Department Concerning Principles
            of Museum Management Adopted at the Session of the Department's Collegium of 7 February 1919
            Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, May 1919
            Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919
1919 – "Theses" by:
            Nikolai Punin, The Artists' Attitude to Museum Work
            Osip Brik, Museums and Proletarian Culture
            Alexander Grishchenko, The Museum of Painterly Culture Adopted by the Fine Arts
            Sergei Chekhonin, On Artistic Industry and the Museum of Art and Industry
            Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, May 1919
            Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919
1919 – Kazimir Malevich, Our Tasks
            Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919
1919 – Kazimir Malevich, The Axis of Colour and Volume
            Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919
1919 – Aleksandr Rodchenko, Declaration on Museum Management
            Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919       
1920 – Vasily Kandinsky, The Museum of the Culture of Painting
            Artistic Life / Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn, early 1920
1920 – Aleksandr Rodchenko, Report on the Factual Activities of the Museum Bureau
            29 November 1920
1921 – Aleksandr Rodchenko, Theses of Rodchenko's Report on the Museum of
            Artistic Culture
            Delivered to the Institute of Artistic Culture, Moscow, 13 May 1921
            Delivered to the Conference of Directors of Guberniya Department of Visual Arts


The Museum of Artistic Culture was originally referred to as the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1918 and in 1919 as the Museum of Artistic Culture because it was founded on the principles of "artistic culture" (see Documents 2, 8). The Moscow branch adopted the name Museum of Painterly Culture or the Museum of the Culture of Painting as its collections were essentially painting. Like the Petrograd/Leningrad museum, the network of provincial museums were also called the Museum of Artistic Culture. The Artistic Collegium became known as the Museum Bureau.

Vladimir Tatlin, Sofia Dymshits-Tolstaia
Report on a Museum of Contemporary Art
Adopted 28 July 1918 by Narkompros Artistic Collegium, Moscow Artistic Collegium

From the life of the past we have inherited both museums and private houses containing valuable works of art which have been selected on the basis of individual taste: thus these cannot become institutions for the artistic education of the wide masses of the people. So into these museums should go works of art which in principle fully represent the best examples of masters put forward by the people.

The Artistic Collegium, fully recognizing its authority to create a museum from works of living art, considers it timely and urgent to adopt the following principles:

1) An immediate concern for the organization of a Museum of Contemporary Art of the city of Moscow, into which should be placed all the best works of living art.

2) The acquisition of works for the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Museum itself, to fall within the exclusive competence of the Artistic Collegium.

3) The procedure for acquiring works of art to be organized by the Collegium as a whole.

4) The Collegium to draw up a list of artists whose best works should be placed in the Museum of Contemporary Art. The choice of works for the Museum to be left to the artist himself.

5) All private galleries and collections (which have valuables for the Museum of Contemporary Art), as well as that part of the Tretiakov Gallery which corresponds to the functions of the Museum, to be brought together and classified in it with the participation of the Museums Collegium, the transfer and security of the collection's works being left to the full competence of the collectors.

All works from private collections should be provided with a plate bearing the name of the collector.

In, Larissa Alekseevna Zhadova, Editor, Tatlin. London: Thames and Hudson, 1988, p. 237.

David Shterenberg, The Museum of Artistic Culture, from
Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, May 1919
Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1920

Report on the formation of the Museum of Artistic Culture, presented at the Museum Conference of IZO Narkompros, Petrograd, 11 February 1919, held in the Palace of the Arts, the former Winter Palace.

The Works Section, acting jointly with the Purchasing Committee in Moscow, has begun the purchase of works of art destined for the Museum of Artistic Culture. A list approved by the Education Commissar of Narkom[pros] is made up of all the most characteristic representatives of the different artistic trends. The Section of Plastic Arts [or, Fine Arts or Visual Arts] proceeds from the idea that the museums must be organised such that workers and peasants who visit them are able to orient themselves easily among the artistic works exhibited. A series of meetings have made it possible to work out a resolution pertaining to the Museum of Pictorial Culture which was proposed and unanimously accepted during a conference on the museums in Petrograd held the 11th of February at the Palace of Arts (the former Winter Palace), conference called in order to legislate on painting, on sculpture and, in a more general manner, on the museums of Artistic Production [crafts and industry].

The resolution of the Section of Plastic Arts and of Artistic Production on the question of artistic culture includes the following points:

1. The concept of Artistic Culture is one of the the positive achievements of contemporary creative work which in the course of recent decades has amplified, in the main, questions of the professional quality of artistic works and thereby of their universal significance.

2. The concept of artistic culture is thus linked to the strivings of new artistic trends and may be revealed only by them.

3. The concept of artistic culture is at the same time an objective criterion of artistic value insofar as that is defined as a professional value.

4. The concept of artistic culture contains, in accordance with the very meaning of the word "culture" as a dynamic activity, a creative element; creative work presupposes creation of the new, invention: artistic culture is nothing other than the culture of artistic invention.

5. By sustained artistic labour, contemporary schools of art have been able to reveal many elements of artistic activity and thereby is established the objective criterion of artistic value as a professional value.

6. These elements are: (1) material: surface, elasticity, density, weight, and other qualities of material; (2) colour: saturation, intensity, relation to light, purity, transparency, independence and other qualities of colour; (3) space: volume, depth, dimension and other properties of space; (4) time (movement); in its spatial expression and in connection with colour, material, composition and so forth; (5) form, as a result of the interaction of material, colour and space and in its pure guise, composition; (6) technique: painting, mosaics, reliefs of various kinds, sculpture, stonework, and other types of artistic techniques.

7. While there are no grounds for thinking that mankind has arrived at the sum total of artistic elements, further discoveries in this area cannot alter the direction of artistic activity as professional activity.

8. The evolution of and changes in artists' treatment of the aforementioned elements is the evolution of art itself and changes of every kind in this area can be objectively and precisely established for every given artistic phenomenon individually.

9. Artistic Culture as the culture of invention can be revealed only insofar as artists have either radically altered their treatment of the aforementioned elements or discovered these elements.

10. Inasmuch as Artistic Culture is the achievement of modern schools of art, it can be utilised as a principle of modern artistic activity and artists thereby have every reason for aspiring to use this culture in order to create an image of man, primarily in his latest transformation. Works of the past – even those inventions that broke new ground in their time but have no connection with contemporary developments – need not be used since they have lost much of their active force and thus their cultural significance.

After a discussion, the reports were approved by the conference. Their summaries, as "Theses", can be found in the Annexes [Documents 3 and 4].

Paintings are being purchased for the State Art Fund in accordance with the list ratified by the Commissariat of Peoples' Enlightenment (Education), Narkompros. From this Fund paintings will be chosen and allocated to make up the Museum of Pictorial Culture.

This list includes the following artists:
1. Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich. 2. Tatlin, Vladimir Evgrafovich. 3. Falk, Roman Rafailovich. 4. Lentulov, Aristarkh Vasilievich. 5. Kuznetzov, Pavel Varfalomeevich. 6. Pevsner, Natan Abraamovich. 7. Rozhdestvenskii, Vasili Vasilievich. 8. Kandinsky, Vasily Vasilievich. 9. Kuprin, Aleksandr Vasilievich. 10. Rozanova, Olga Vladimirovna. 11. Mashkov, Ilia Ivanovich. 12. Dymshits-Tolstaia, Sofia Isakovna. 13. Konchalovsky, Piotr Petrovich. 14. Rodchenko, Aleksandr Mikhailovich. 15. Kliunkov, Ivan Vasilievich. 16. Shevchenko, Aleksandr Vasilievich. 17. Udaltsova, Nadezhda Andreevna. 18. Koltz. 19. Shterenberg, David Petrovich. 20. Franketti, Vladimiri Felixovich. 21. Morgunov, Aleksei Alekseevich. 22. Drevin, Aleksandr Davidovich. 23. Korovin. 24. Grishchenko, Aleksandr Vasilievich. 25. Itkind. 26. Osmerkin. 27. Pestel, Vera Efremovna. 28. Korolev, Boris Danilovich. 29. Popova, Liubov Sergeevna. 30. Konenkov, Sergei Timofeevich. 31. Shaposhnikov, Boris Valentinovich. 32. Maliutin. 33. Kustodiev, Boris Mikhailovich. 34. Petrovichev. 35. Shestakov, Nikolai Ivanovich. 36. Konstantinov. 37. Strzeminski, Wladislaw Maximilianovich. 38. Zovialov, Ivan. 39. Borisov, Grigori Ilich. 40. Romanovich, Sergei Mikhailovich. 41. Bebutova, Elena Mikhailovna. 42. Menkov, Mikhail Ivanovich. 43. Galvich, Veniamin Alekseevich. 44. Vesnin, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich. 45. Yakulov, Georgi Bogdanovich. 46. Krimov, Nikolai Petrovich. 47. Miliotti, Nikolai Dmitrevich. 48. Fedorov, German Vasilievich. 49. Le Dentiu. 50. Krovchenko, Aleksei Ilich. 51. Potekhina-Falk, Elizaveta Sergeevna. 52. Khodosevich, Valentina. 53. Sinezubov, Nikolai Vladimirovich. 54. Sokolov, Piotr Efimovich. 55. Sobolev, Ivan Sergeevich. 56. Nelikhin, Aleksandr Nikolaevich. 57. Grentsevich, Aleksandr Petrovich. 58. Guzkov, Semion Matveevich. 59. Teper, Josif Naumovich. 60. Komitsarenko, Zinovii Petrovich. 61. Miganadzhani, Ivaghim. 62. Leban, Mikhail Varfolomeevich. 63. Ivanov, Georgi Nikoloevich. 64. Mansurov, Pavel Andreevich. 65. Arkhipov. 66. Maximov. 67. Klodt. 68. Kiselev. 69. Vasiliev. 70. Shapshal, Iakov Fedorovich. 71. Yuon, Konstantin Fedorovich. 72. Lisenko, Aleksei Vasilievich. 73. Kharkovskii, Vladimir Lvovich. 74. Sergeev. 75. Kraitor, Ivan Kondratievich. 76. Grigoriev, Nikolai Mikhailovich. 77. Bon-Grigorieva, Nadezhda Sergeevna. 78. Bromirskii, Piotr Ignatievich. 79. Gerasimov, Sergi Vasilievich. 80. Dabrov, Matvei Alekseevich. 81. Kudriashev. 82. Mikhailovski, Aleksandr Nikolaevich. 83. Chernishov. 84. Ivanov, Aleksandr Ivanovich. 85. Sviridov. 86. Pozharskii. 87. Smirnov, Ivan Fedorovich. 88. Roskin. 89. Meshkov. 90. Rogovin. 91. Morovov, Aledsandr Nikolaevich. 92. Anenkov. 93. Zegin, Lev Fedorovich. 94. Rosenfeldt. 95. Kelind. 96. Ulianov, Nikolai Pavlovich. 97. Baksheev. 98. Yermakov. 99. Alekseev, Ivan Victorovich. 100. Erikson. 101. Exter, Alexandra Alexandrovna. 102. Sagaidachnii. 103. Larionov, Mikhail Fedorovich. 104. Goncharova, Natalia Sergeevna. 105. Utkin. 106 Sarian, Martiros Sergeevich. 107. Davidova, Natalia.108. Matiushin, Mikhail Vasilievich. 109. Burliuk, David Davidovich. 110. Burliuk, Vladimir Davidovich. 111. Turzhanskii. 112. Yakovlev, Mikhail Nikolaevich. 113. Dumov, Modest. 114. Golubkina. 115. Bart, Viktor Sergeevich. 116. Zamoshkin. 117. Nurenberg. 118. Kharlamov. 119. Nivinski. 120. Paine. 121. Stuzer. 122. Ender. 123. Milman. 124. Kuznetsov, Mikhail. 125. Filonov, Pavel Nikolaevich. 126. Karev. 127. Miturich, Petr Vasilievich. 128. Bruger. 129. Matveev. 130. Rossine, Vladimir. 131. Shkonik, Josif Solomonivich. 132. Ermolaev. 133. Ermolaeva, Vera Mikhailovna. 134. Dobuzhinski. 135. Petrov-Vodkin, Kuzma Sergeevich. 136. Grigoriev, Boris. 137. Altman, Natan Isaevich. 138. Lanserre. 139. Chekhonin, Sergei Vasilevich. 140. Benois, Aleksandr Nikolaevich. 141. Roerich, Nikolai Konstantinovich. 142. Yakovlev. 143. Gaush, A. F.

In, Russian Avant-Garde 1910-1930 The G. Costakis Collection, Anna Kafetsi, Editor.

The National Gallery and Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, and
The European Cultural Centre of Delphi,1995, p. 772.

David Shterenberg, Declaration of the Fine Arts and Artistic Industry Department Concerning Principles of Museum Management Adopted at the Session of the Department's Collegium of 7 February 1919
Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, May 1919
Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919

 The history of all European museums shows that the range of activities performed by historians and theoreticians of art who work practically in museums (museum workers) does not coincide with the range of artistic and creative activities (of artists) and that, on the contrary, very often these two branches of professional labour radically oppose each other.

A museum worker is a product of special conditions of European artistic life, largely different from conditions which influence the birth of an artist's creative feeling. The specific professional feature of a museum worker is a striving to preserve all that has been created, whereas an artist aspires to create something new. Since an artist is a creative force in the sphere of arts, it is a part of his objective to be in charge of the artistic education of the country. Museum workers, however close their position may be to artistic circles owing to the fact that their professional qualities cannot be sufficiently competent in the issues of artistic performance and education.

The old anachronism whereby museums are replenished with contemporary works of art according to the museum workers' choice shall be abolished. Purchasing works of contemporary art shall be within the exclusive competence of artists.

The historical and scientific survey of monuments of the past cannot provide sufficient results in the field of artistic education. Artists shall be in charge of the artistic education of both the people and young artists.

No artist with more or less serious aspirations will organise his artistic world outlook by disregarding world art wherever and in whatever forms it existed. An artist wants to know and must know the past of his profession. From the precise standpoint of his professional interest an artist approaches the monuments of world art and there are no grounds for depriving him of the possibility of seeing and thus knowing the history of his origin.

An artist should have access to world values of art, but since those values are important for him as long they reveal the professional qualities of an artist, a sculptor or an architect, the artist shall have the right to choose from the totality of monuments of the past those works of art that could characterise a culture specific for a given type of art.

Unlike a civilisation of any kind, this culture is determined first of all by its creative and hence inventive aspect. Only those works of art in the past that were to any extent professional or artistic inventions attract the artist's interest.

Things can be invented only once. Two parallel artistic cultures are unthinkable. So we have extra grounds for believing that the choice of artistic values according to the criterion of their culture, specific for every type of art, can be made by artists with greater objectivity and almost mathematical precision.

Thus, this principle of objectivity on a par with a principle of creative activism are equally elements of the communist movement and serve as sufficient ground to see the will of the proletariat, as it is expressed by its ideologists, in the very fact of handing over to artists all matters of artistic performance and education.

Taking into consideration all the above-mentioned, it is necessary to agree that:

1 – artists, as the only ones competent in matters of contemporary art, as the force creating artistic values, should be solely in charge of purchasing objects of contemporary art and direct artistic education in the country, and
2 – as professionals organising their world outlook based on the world artistic culture, they should be allowed to approach the works of art of the past – to select from the whole mass of monuments of art those characteristic of an artistic culture and, since they are professionals, to establish upon such a selection from them and for the growth of the artistic life in the country, the Museum of Creative Artistic Culture.

Artists! Free the art of the past from dead historical pedantry.

Artists! Show that your craft is the great craft of the whole of mankind.

Artists! The cause of artistic education is your cause since you alone are responsible for artistic creative work.

Artists! Unite in the struggle for your professional culture of the future against the fetishism of the past hanging over the arts.

Artists of all the world! All peoples understand your language.

"Theses" by:
• Nikolai Punin, The Artists' Attitude to Museum Work
• Osip Brik, Museums and Proletarian Culture
• Alexander Grishchenko, The Museum of Painterly Culture Adopted by the Fine Arts
• Sergei Chekhonin, On Artistic Industry and the Museum of Art and Industry
  Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, May 1919
  Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919

• Nikolai Punin, The Artists' Attitude to Museum Work

1. The accumulation of art treasures in selected centres and the development of class aesthetics, as a reason for the expansion of museums of art in Western Europe with an inevitable after-effect – the growing influence of museum workers on artistic life.

2. The recent striving of museum workers for the expansion of their influence in the West and Russia. Specific grounds for the increasing aesthetic bid of Russian museum workers, linked with the desire of failed artists to engage in museum work. The aesthetic dilettantism of some Russian museum workers.

3. Professional qualities of a museum worker as principles of his negative attitude to artistic creative work. Struggle between museum workers and artists.

4. Contemporary artistic schools' claim for museums, and specific grounds for such claims. Organisation principles of contemporary artistic creative work. Artists' activism in connection with their role as artistic tutors and activists in the working movement.

5. Ideological substantiation of contradictions between the professional interests of an artist and a museum worker. A museum worker as a scientific device, guardian and researcher. An artist as a creative and educational force.

6. The substantiation of the Museum of Artistic Culture as a creative and educational museum. Artistic culture as an objective indication in the assessing of monuments of art. The unique character of artistic culture. Artistic culture as an achievement of contemporary artistic creative work. Elements substantiating the concept of artistic culture. Discovery of elements of the history of artistic creative performance. Limitations possible in the organisation of the Museum of Artistic Culture.

7. The unity of arts. The rating of monuments of art according to the degree of their creative potentialities. Selection as a method of creating the Museum of Artistic Culture. Pure scientific character of the museums of the history of art and inadmissability of aesthetic experiments on monuments of artistic culture.

• Osip Brik, Museums and Proletarian Culture

1. The proletarian revolution calls for a radical re-organisation of all forms of cultural life. It is impossible for it to amount to nothing more than partial reforms or simple popularisation of the existing principles.

2. Two immediate major problems facing museum work: pooling of all the museum values into a united State Fund and the problem of a cultural role of museums.

3. The unity of the State Fund shall be decreed as a basic principle. None of the occasional house, amateurish, etc., collections shall claim inviability. Scientific collections may be preserved because their organisational concept is viable.

4. Museums shall be deprived of all cultural and artistic education work, which shall be handed over to the creation of contemporary art. Not a museum but an exhibition educates. This is a pledge of the unimpeded development of art.

5. Museums must become scientific institutions creating the united science of art.

• Alexander Grishchenko, The Museum of Painterly Culture Adopted by the Department of Fine Arts of Moscow and Petersburg

1. The Museum of Painterly Culture is a new concept with new creative objectives and aspirations.

2. "Science is respected, art is endurable", this slogan of old museums shall be rejected by the new museum.

3. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall be established by an artist, not by an archaeologist.

4. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall not be a museum of skeletons of paintings and works of art.

5. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall reveal elements of painting art, its creative inventions in colour, architectonics, composition and texture.

6. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall be not for education but for the enlightenment of the spirit and creativity of the masses, of education and the creation of the artist's craft.

7. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall not consist of masterpieces of one epoch, nation or trend.

8. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall not include works of graphics, drawing, large or small vignettes, side-scenes and theatrical performances.

9. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall embrace the art of painting of individual artists and artistic groups for the sake of energy and new blood.

10. The reservoir for the new museum shall be the fund of all Russian private and state museums.

11. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall always be replenished by new contributions from both ends, according to the spirit and action of the living creative essence in the art of painting.

12. The Museum of Painterly Culture shall be a pledge and a solid foundation for the cause of the revival of art in the country.

• Sergei Chekhonin, On Artistic Industry and the Museum of Art and Industry

1. The centralisation of museums has deprived national industry of examples.

2. It is necessary to return the examples and to decentralise museums.

3. The unlimited use of examples is necessary during direct machine works.

4. It is necessary to establish small museums and exhibition works from examples appropriate in each case for a particular production.

5. Workers and working artists shall receive everything.

In, Russian Avant-Garde 1910-1930 The G. Costakis Collection, Anna Kafetsi, Editor.

The National Gallery and Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, and
The European Cultural Centre of Delphi,1995, pp. 778-779.

Translated from the Russian by Igor Serebriakov.

Kazimir Malevich, Our Tasks
Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919

1. – War on academism.

2. – A directorate of innovators.

3. – Creation of a worldwide collective for art.

4. – Institutions of embassies of the arts in the country.

5. – Creation of fixed museums of contemporary art in all countries.

6. – Creation of a main highway across the Russian Republic of the movement of living exhibitions of creative art.

7. ­– Foundation of a central museum of contemporary art in Moscow.

8. – Appointment of commissars for artistic affairs in the key cities of the Russian provinces.

9. – Propaganda among the people about the life of the arts in Russia.

10. – Publication of a daily newspaper on artistic issues for the great masses.

Kazimir Malevich, The Axis of Colour and Volume
Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919

In addressing the organisation and reorganisation for the building of the general artistic machine of the State, attention has been given to the creation of a network of museums as centres of propaganda and education for the large popular masses.

Until now, the old-style museology, even when it was "scientific-artistic", was far from being realised in real life so that it could justify the label that it appropriated to itself. Its attitude was as pernicious as possible as much in the domain of art as in the life of the creators.

Its limited nature, its absence of professional (or "ideological") consciousness, and its cowardice prevented it from advancing far enough to incorporate the whole horizon of the course and the growth of art's reincarnations.

The czarist body of curators, as well as knowledgeable artistic museologists appointed to be directors, behaved in the same way as regards the idea of the process of the creative arts, which was also whistled at by the refined intelligentsia having the refined press at its head. Public opinion shouted down all that was creative and innovative.

Due to conditions generated by refined connoisseurs, the creations of the innovators were shoved back into cold garrets and miserable studios where they awaited their fate, being abandoned to destiny.

And if, at the cost of the greatest effort, one succeeded in bringing revolutionary works out onto the street, you were welcomed with insults, curses, jeers and scoffing.

"Only old art is beautiful", they shouted from all sides of the camp, "only the czar is handsome", shouted someone in another. Insolent innovation must be driven from the frontiers of our refined faces, it must be driven from the art schools, etc.

That is how those people characterise everything, as do the "scientific-artistic" museologists who are now making their nests in the revolutionary institutions by stubbornly exhibiting the old as if it were a magnificent altar of truth before which the young should bow down and in which they must believe.

"It's over there, at the feet of the Egyptian pyramids, in silence, in the midst of eternal sands that youth must listen to the whispering of the old Ramses" – that is their slogan.

The scientific-artistic museologist has demonstrated his incompetence in all aspects. Going hand in hand with the "powerful" of countries, they were unable to gather up quickly enough what remained of monuments destroyed by time and only luck put into their hands this or that work by an ancient [craftsman].

All the old museums have been put together on the basis of chance while the birth of new museums is being put together by this or that fortuitous art-lover who has robbed and bought for nothing the works of a starving painter and so makes a name for himself.

Was the creation of the Tretiakov Gallery not a chance? Was the S. I. Shchukin Gallery not a second chance in which the collection of the new ideas of innovators is expressed by an art lover?

But where are the informed museologists of art, where is their science, where is their artistic sensibility, where is their understanding? Or, rather, on the strength of their science and their conception, why they have not found the artistic character among the innovators or fournd value in these phenomena?

So why do they recognise Vrubel, Musatov, Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh today, and even Picasso is beginning to gain in popularity?

They have established time as a barometer of understanding. When a work wallows in the monstrous and inept brain of public opinion for an impressive number of years, then this work that has not been eaten but soiled by the saliva of society is accepted in the museum. It is recognised.

This is the fate of innovators.

But there are still other innovators who they accept immediately. It is what resembles superficially a three-quarters image of the old. We take it into the bosom of our culture but the others, the awful, must be driven from the "temples swept clean". That is what the intelligentsia shout, at whose head they have the refined guides of A. Benois and D. Merezhkovski and their numerous political companions. They have shouted that the "the mugs who had come" should be driven from the domain of art.

They were distressed and frightened to watch the tread of "MUGS" advancing and breaking the sweetly spiced ringlets of the Louis, of various rosy pompadours, and of immodest Venuses surrounded by numerous cupids.

That is how it happened then and still today even. It is impossible to clean the screen of the modern world of all this lustful, depraved rubbish.

And now, still, when, with a living and powerful hand, it is necessary to rip away the mask of decaying flesh, one finds a heap of shuttered refined and "cultured" foreheads that make it impossible to penetrate the deepest furrows loosened by the revolution and to take out the splinters of the past.

The thunder of the canons of October have helped the innovators to rise up, to unscrew the old clamps and to re-establish a new spirit for the modern.

Before us rises up the mission of smoothing out the dents in monstrous attitudes of the old with regard for the new, to totally break the countenances of the authorities, to shake the foundation under their feet, to sweep away all the old-clothes dealers so that they cannot prevent our "insolence" from the forging of our new image and putting it on a pedestal as the flag of living palpitations.

In our declarations we predicted the overthrow of all the academic rubbish and we have spat on the altar of its holy place.

The same thing was also done by the other avant-gardes of our revolutionary companions in life.

We have come to purify the body of all academic finery, to refine the mould of the past in the brain, and to re-establish time, space, cadence, rhythm, and movement, as the bases of our day of today.

We, among the boiling abysses, on the wings of time, on the coast and in the depths of the oceans, we will build the supple forms that rend the refined air of the boudoir of the culture of the perfume shop, that in their boiling will carry away hairstyles and will burn the varnish of dead masks in the streets.

But in order to avoid the facts of our revolutionary steps it is necessary to create a revolutionary collective in order to pass new reforms for the art of the country.

With such an organisation we have a pure crystallisation of the idea and a cleanout of the old places with all the trash of the past that is found there.

In the Art College, which takes care of the affairs of art and industry, the question of the creation of a museum of contemporary art has been discussed, followed by the creation of a museum of pictorial culture which ended with the decision to create a museum giving priority to pictorial culture.

This is an enormous concession, a great step backwards, an enormous agreement with what existed yesterday.

A concession to those who still dream of loading all possible phantoms onto the shoulders of the modern world.

Who still has his good heart which pains him terribly to the point that tears flow and who wants to show to him of yesterday that "we, too, can find what was hidden in what was yesterday but only from another side, and to illumine not with a white light but with a red one".

Such is the majority and the minority must either fall into agreement or hold on to its own opinion until the awaited moment, seeing in the agreement a part of the conquest of its future seed.

At the moment, the first stone has been laid for a museum of pictorial culture par excellence. Under this banner is collected everything that has something of the pictorial. As a result, now all aspects of a school will be accepted.

Foreseeing all that as inevitable, I proposed that into the museum of pure pictorial culture the most important of the new trends should be admitted and that if anything of the past must be admitted that it should be in the smallest quantities.

But this, too, turned out to be impossible because it emerged that our friends have a sensitive heart and they accepted the elders into their bosom.

All these schemes and this beating about took place because the college is made up of artists who, even though they are of the left, are of varying leftism.

It seemed to me that the museum should be founded not even on pictorial culture but, more generally, beginning with forms that encourage rejection as regards the dead and a greater emphasis as regards the living, to creation, leading out of the labyrinth of specific isolated specialisms.

The museum seems to me like a place where man stands in a whole collection in which everyone can see the change, growth and development of an entire organism and not just examine every detail of the whole in isolated warehouses. And with that, to make the image of man in the modern shape of his latest modification only and not burden his shoulders with all the coats and togas of the past.

One should proceed as follows with the old: bury it in a cemetery more than ever. It is essential to sweep away its appearance and strike it from the horizon.

While I held this point of view but recognised its complexity, I was forced to make big concessions. It is the opinion of the majority that was accepted, an opinion that was expressed specifically in a professional sense.

But despite everything, there are bases in the new organisation of the museum which the scientific-artistic museologist did not make use of. Here there are neither place, nor time, nor history, nor aesthetic feelings, nor real handling.

Here the cult of painting guides the creation of the museum.

The museum must be the central head of the development of the whole network of museums across the platform of the Federal Republic of Soviet Russia. It will distribute the works of artistic power of the country to all the far-reaching centres.

Thus it will be the living cause of creative models and they will penetrate throughout the county and will flick the transfiguration of forms into life and artistic representations in industry.

Taking into consideration that the museum will be made up of the most varied forms of representation, it follows that the question of the hanging will be extremely important. For the hanging plays a great role in the construction and its conception and so that its true appearance can be made visible it is necessary to change the old principle of separating works according to schools, trends, time and events.

This is why I propose that, the walls of the museums being plane surfaces, the works should be placed on it in the same way that the composition of forms are placed on the pictorial plane surface. That is to say that, if on the pictorial plane surface a series of uniform forms appears, the work itself is weakened in its intensity and vice versa.

If a series of similar works are hung on the plane surface we get an ornamental line and this cancels out the force that it should have had in the midst of various juxtapositions.

This is why it appears most advantageous to make the hanging in the following order: icon, cubism, suprematism, the classics, futurism – pictorial perception.

As far as sculpture is concerned, what should preferably guide the collection of plastic sculpture is where the form appears and which, as such, is enough in addition to the act. But in this case, I would prefer the creation of the pure volume of forms as such, there where the edification, the construction, is based on the pure form born of a non-real conception of the appearance.

I generalise the appearance of the museum:
The real of the living axis of pictorial colour in the modern museum is made up of Cubism, Futurism, Simultaneism, Suprematism, and Non-Objective Creation.

The volume of sculpture as pure form is made up of volumetric reliefs, Cubism, and the Futurist dynamism of volume.

Aleksandr Rodchenko, Declaration on Museum Management
Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1920

On 7 September 1919 a special declaration was received by the Board of the Department of Plastic Arts and Artistic Production concerning the problems of museum management. Among other things, the declaration stated:
The history of all the European museums has shown how the space devoted to the activity of art historians and theorists, who work de facto in the museums (the cultural operators of the museums), is not commensurate with the space reserved for artistic and creative activity (of the painters)....

... It is in the nature of their profession that cultural operators in the museums tend to preserve what has been done, in contrast to the artists who would like to replace the old by the new. Since it is the artist who is the creative force in the field of art, it ought to be his task to guide the country's artistic education....

The old anachronism, whereby the museums are filled with works of modern art chosen by the aforesaid cultural operators, should be done away with. The job of buying modern works is strictly the province of artists.

...The artist wants to know about the past of his own profession and must be familiar with it....

...The artist is free to choose from among all the monuments of the past those works which best typify the culture of each type of art.

This culture... is determined by the creative moment, hence by the moment of invention. Only those works of the past which are indicative in one way or another of a professional or artistic discovery are of interest to the artist.

It should be conceded that:

1) artists, as the only people with a grasp of the problems of contemporary art and as the creators of artistic values, are the only ones capable of directing the acquisition of modern works of art and of establishing how a country should be educated in artistic matters;

2) as professionals who develop their own theories on the basis of worldwide artistic culture, they should have access to the works of art of the past in order to choose from amongst them all, those which are typical of artistic culture. Once chosen, they should use these to create a museum of creative artistic culture which would also serve to promote the artistic life of the country.

In, Selim O. Khan-Magomedov, Rodchenko, The Complete Work.

Vieri Quillici, Editor and Introduction, Huw Evans, translator from the Italian.

Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1987, 288.

Vasily Kandinsky, The Museum of the Culture of Painting
Artistic Life / Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn, early 1920

The usual approach to museum organisation, an approach this is well-established everywhere (i.e., in Russia as well as abroad), is a historical one. Museums divide art up into period after period, century after century, regardless of whether one period has any relation to another apart from that of historical sequence. Thus, the usual type of museum is reminiscent of some chronicle that draws its thread from one event to the next without seeking to penetrate their inner meanings. Such art historical museums have a definite value as a treasury of artistic production that can serve as the raw material for different kinds of research and exposition. But the obvious deficiency of this kind of museum is in general, its lack of any guiding principle or system.

In this respect, the Department of the Plastic Arts has decided to embark on a new path in setting up museums, making a definite principle and system its first priority in conformity with one general aim.

This one general aim is our desire to show the development of art not in chronological, chaotic fashion, but, on the contrary, by giving strict prominence to two aspects of artistic development:
1. New contributions of a purely artistic nature, i.e., the invention, as it were, of new artistic methods.

2. The development of purely artistic forms, independent of their content, i.e., the element, as it were of craft in art.

This unconventional method of museum organisation has been dictated to the Department by the burning desire of our age to democratise generally every aspect of life. This method, opening the doors as it does onto the artist's studio, will illuminate with complete clarity that aspect of the artist's activity which, thanks to the way matters were previously arranged, has remained unknown to the non-specialist.

For this reason, the task that holds the highest importance for the artist, namely, the study of the technical aspect of his art, has been completely ignored and lost from sight. The general impression that artists, without exception, create somehow mysteriously and naturally, the general ignorance of the artist's need to struggle painstakingly with the purely material aspect of his work, with technique – all this has placed the artist, as it were, above and beyond the conditions that determine the life of the working man. The artist has appeared pampered by fortune, habitually living in luxury, a law unto himself, creating objects of value at his leisure, and being rewarded for them by all the benefits life has to offer.

Whereas, in fact, the artist works doubly hard: 1) he himself must be the inventor of his own art and, 2) he has to master the techniques necessary for him. His importance in the history of art can be measured by the extent to which he possesses these two qualities.

Illuminating the activity of the artist from this point of view, which has long remained shrouded in obscurity, reveals the new image of the artist as a worker who, by a combination of genius and toil, creates works of real value and demonstrates his definitive right to take, at the very least, equal place among the ranks of the working population.

This same viewpoint gives the broad masses an accurate insight into art as the result of labour, no less essential for life in general than any other kind of creative work, and not as a mere adjunct of life with which, in extremis, society could equally well dispense.

These will be the natural results of the museums brought to life by the Department [of Plastic Arts], to say nothing of their constant value in fully illuminating the history of art, i.e., for the scholar, but also for artists themselves for whom these museums must function as strict and fertile schools.

This principle was first elaborated last year at the conference held in Petrograd (see at greater length, Art of the Commune and Proceedings of the Petrograd Section of Plastic Arts [Report on the Activities of the Department of Plastic Arts of Narkompros, herein above, numbers 2-6] in which members of the Moscow and Petrograd Sections of Plastic Arts took part, as well as staff of the Moscow and Petrograd museums. After a series of papers from the Section of Plastic Arts and some heated discussion, the museum principle outlined was accepted by the conference and a resolution was adopted designating such museums as Museums of the Culture of Painting. The following took an active part in putting into practice the principles of the Department of Plastic Arts: D. Shterenberg, N. Punin, O. Brik, Grishchenko and Chekhonin.

Immediately after the conference, the college of the Moscow Section selected from its midst a Purchasing Commission which proceeded to acquire for the general state reserve [the Art Fund] a whole series of works of painting and sculpture. Following upon which a special commission was selected from the college for the purpose of organising the Museum of the Culture of Painting. This commission, having established the general basis for setting up the museum, chose about a hundred pictures from the total number of works acquired for the state reserve, leaving the remaining works in the reserves for provincial museums to draw upon, in response to the provinces' continual demands for both the further development of existing museums and the foundation of new ones.

The Museums Commission has defined the character and aim of the Museums of the Culture of Painting as follows:

"The Museum of the Culture of Painting shall have as its goal to represent the different stages of purely pictorial achievement, pictorial methods, and resources in all their fulness, as expressed in the paintings of all periods and peoples."

Methods that have enriched the resources of pictorial expression, solutions to the problem of the correlation of colour-tones, the correlation between the colour tone and application of colour, compositional methods – i.e., the building up of the whole composition and of its individual parts, their treatment, the overall texture and structure of parts, etc. – these are examples of the criteria that shall determine the acquisition of works by the museum.

It follows from this that the Museum of the Culture of Painting will not try to show in its entirety the works of any one artist, nor to trace the development of the above problems solely in any one period or country, but will show, independently of any trends, only those works which introduce new methods. In this manner, the Museum of the Culture of Painting is distinguished by its definite approach to the question of evaluating the products of different epochs. It will classify the historical development of painting from the point of view of the conquest of the material, both real and ideal, as a purely pictorial phenomenon. In this way, the Museum, having given itself purely technical-professional objectives, will at the same time be seen as indispensable for the masses who, until this time, have never in any country had a collection capable of correspondence, collision, dissolution of surfaces, the correspondence between surface and volume, the handling of surface and volume as self-sufficient elements, the coincidence or divergence of linear or painterly surfaces or volumes, attempts to create purely volumetric forms, either in isolation or in combination, etc.. It is, of course, difficult to draw an exact line between an experiment and a work of art, inasmuch as a carefully calculated work of art may fail to transcend the boundaries of the experimental. The possibility of error in drawing this line, however, and an unavoidable degree of subjectivity in the evaluation of a given work should not constitute a hindrance to beginning to assemble a collection of specifically experimental techniques.

As such, mistakes will be corrected by the lapse of time and by the burning necessity to create, slowly but surely, a theory of painting.

Thus, the second result of this section of experimental techniques will be to accelerate and facilitate the development of a theory of painting, something that we can sense even today.

In Petrograd, the purchase of works of art for the museums will be carried out by a commission for acquisitions consisting of members of the Section of Plastic Art, of the Museums Section, and professional organisations. They will acquire works representative of every tendency in art starting with the Realists of the second half of the nineteenth century: didactic painting (Repin, the two Makovskys, Kustodiev, etc.), painterly Naturalism, Neo-Academicism, Retrospectivism; then Impressionism, Neo-Impressionism and Expressionism, when begins contemporary painting or what is called the new art (whose point of departure is, historically speaking, the work of Cézanne): Primitivism, Cubism, Simultaneism, Orphism, Suprematism, Non-Objective Creation, and the transition from painting to the new plastic art – relief and counter-relief.

In this way, the Sections of both capital cities have given an unprecedented breadth and freedom to the matter of museums. The professional museum directors have distinguished themselves by unwarranted caution in the formation of their museums, fearing every new movement in art and recognising it as a rule not at the moment of its blossoming (except in rare cases), but only at the moment it begins to wither and decay. One encounters this practice especially in the state museums of the West. In this respect, the artistically more significant countries – France and Germany – may serve as an instructive example of how the state usually fails not only to encourage any new movement but places in the way of any newly developing powerful idea in art every means of obstruction the state has at its disposal. Thus, everything new in art, its immeasurable value being generally accepted with time and understood by all non-specialists, has either had to surmount these officially devised obstacles or else pursue its path in spite of the state, receiving more or less accidental, capricious and arbitrary support from the private sector.

Exceptions have been so rare that they have been perceived as an entire revolution and are indelibly imprinted upon one's memory. The agents of the state who have resolved to go against the routine tendency in museum affairs have had to possess heroic qualities of personal bravery, energy, tenaciousness and, finally, self sacrifice, for they have brought down on their heads the wrath not only of the government but of every basest representative of public opinion – especially the press.

Thus in Berlin occurred the battle between Tschudi, the director of the Prussian Museums and Wilhelm. This battle concluded with 1) the private donation of the pictures of the great French masters in the National Gallery, the purchase of which had not been authorised by Wilhelm or his servile committee for acquisitions; 2) the dismissal of Tschudi; and 3) the first collective protest against this dismissal by the hitherto loyal student body. This battle exerted an enormous influence upon the conduct of museums in Germany, bringing in its wake two consequences: 1) the organisation of a succession of private and profoundly significant museums in several quite small centres (Barmen, Hagen, Elberfeld, Krefeld), and 2) the emergence of a new type of young museum director who modelled himself after Tschudi. Thus, thanks to this one powerful man's selfless, independent love of art there occurred a serious change in direction in one of the most important areas of public life.

In this respect, Russia offers an unparalleled example of state organisation of museums. The definite principle of the Museum of the Culture of Paintings, its complete freedom to establish the right of every innovator in art to seek and to receive official recognition, encouragement and adequate reward – these are the unparalleled attainments in the field of museum affairs have been achieved by the Plastic Arts Department of the People's Commissariat of Enlightenment. And if the Department has had the practical opportunity of bringing these principles to life, then it is thanks to the Commissar of Enlightenment himself, A. V. Lunacharsky.
V. Kandinsky, Artistic Life / Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn, Moscow, 1920.

In Kandinsky Complete Writings on Art, Vol. 1 (1901-1921)
Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, Editors.

London: Faber and Faber, 1982, 437-444.

Aleksandr Rodchenko, Report on the Factual Activities of the Museum Bureau [Moscow], 29 November 1920

The Museum Bureau was organised in 1918. In the first months of its existence, its activity consisted of developing theoretical questions of museum building and acquisition through materials purchased for the organisation of museums. Then it undertook the organisation of an experimental Museum of Painterly Culture in Moscow, which at present is located at 14, Volkhonka St., apt. 10.

Regional museums began to be organised beginning in August 1919.

Organisational principles: to present as fully as possible the stages of development in artistic form, beginning with Realism up to the latest achievements in art, without overburdening the museum by repeating artists and individual stages in an artist's work.

Furthermore, regional conditions were taken into consideration, i.e., the presence of State [Art] Studios and the significance of a given place, and likewise, independent initiative from the localities.

During the 1919-20 period, the Museum Bureau organised thirty museums in the following towns: Yelets, Vitebsk, Samara, Astrakhan, Slobodskoe, Penza, Simbirsk, Petrograd, Smolensk, Nizhny Novgorod, Voronezh, Kazan, Ivanovo-Voznesensk, Shuia, Ekaterinburg, Kosmodemiansk, Moscow, Lugarsk, Bakhmut, Kostroma, Tula, Ufa, Kishnym, Tsaritsyn, Barnaul, Tobolsk, and Perm.

A total of 1,211 works have been distributed to the above-mentioned museums in the following types of art:
Painting – 952
Sculpture and spatial forms – 29.

Prints and drawings – 230.

The average number of works per newly organised museum is between thirty and forty-five, not including drawings.

At the present time the Museum Bureau has sixteen requests from regions to organise museums, of which six are feasible.

Between 1918 and 1920 the purchasing staff of the Museum Bureau acquired 1,907 works, which break down into the following types of art:
Painting – 1,315.

Sculptures and spatial forms – 65.

Drawings – 305.

Prints – 122.

The indicated works were acquired from 384 painters and printmakers, and twenty-nine sculptors.

The paintings acquired represent the following art movements:
rightist – 210 artists,
centrist – 236 artists, and
leftist – twenty-five artists.

rightist – ten artists,
centrists – twelve artists, and
leftist – seven artists.

In, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Experiments for the Future.

Diaries, Essays, Letters, and Other Writings.

Alexander N. Lavretiev, Editor. Jamey Gambrell, translator. John E. Bowlt, Introduction.

New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2005, 117-118.

(Russian edition, Opyt' dlia budyschego, Moscow: 1996.

Aleksandr Rodchenko, Theses of Rodchenko's
Report on the Museum of Artistic Culture
Delivered to the Institute of Artistic Culture, Moscow, 13 May 1921
Delivered to the Conference of Directors of Guberniya Department of Visual Arts

1. The Museum of Artistic Culture is a collection of works from all the genres of plastic art: painting, sculpture, spatial forms, reliefs, low-reliefs, three-dimensional works, graphics, artistic production linked to industry, architectural projects. In short, everything that testifies to the presence of an artistic culture.

The Museum has the following tasks:
1. To provide a service for State employed workers in the field of art, i.e., to have a pedagogical aim that is pursued by means of a series of meetings held in the State Art Workshops on the principles of the Museum of Artistic Culture.

2. To carry out the work of cultural education consisting in the improvement of existing museums and organisations and, where these do no exist, in the creation of new museums by following the principle of the development of artistic form.

2. Both these tasks are equally necessary: the first because it facilitates the creative work of the artist-producer, the second because it predisposes the cultural consumer to observation of works of art and helps him to find his way through the output of art in all its forms and tendencies.

The museums are structured along the lines of a scientific approach to art of a material and professional kind.

The new creation will be constructed on the basis of the principle that a museum should document the stages of development of artistic form, and not on the basis of a historical principle, which is exhausted in precise statc forms, as happens in the capitalist countries.

3. The historical museum of the past is only an archive, only a storehouse of works, not a museum as maker of culture. It is created to serve the ethnographer, the specialist and the art-lover. Given its aims, even the old-style historical museum's technique of organisation is totally different from that of the new museum.

The selection of works in a historical museum is haphazard, dictated by a subjective standard of aesthetic evaluation of the individual artist, without any analysis of his achievements with respect to the goals that this artist had set himself.

There is no provision for hanging the walls of one room with the works of a single artist, and the only effort of a historical museum lies in getting hold of everything indiscriminately, without making any value judgement about the works.

4. The new museum will be primarily a museum of works and not of artists.

The works will have pride of place. They will be selected according to the criteria that they should either reveal the presence of a movement or some future achievement, or indicate the presence of art as a profession.

This factor will sweep away unshakable classical dogmas and canons and get rid of the idea of an eternal beauty in Art,
Everything exists in time and space, and so does the work of art, which by passing away smooths and opens up the way to new conquests. The museum will be made up of living works which do not yet have a "historical value" (in the narrow sense of the term).

5. The second fact, the one that concerns the occupation of art, will bring the work of the artist to a professional and scientific level. It will put an end to that absurd orgy of subjective, qualitative judgements that make the work into a sort of spiritual gluttony and which satisfies the refined greediness of the consumer who is looking for nothing more than the gratification of his desires.

A museum that sets out to be an organised form of art exhibition, that is, which aims to publicize art, must bear witness to the development plan of artistic form and to the technique of the artist's trade.

In our analysis of the system by which works are selected in the old and new type of museum, we have neglected a very important technical problem: the display of the works. In museums which follow the historical principle, the way in which the pictures are displayed, like the choice of the works themselves, is indicative of its special character: that of being an archive.

6. According to the criterion of individualistic evaluation of an artist, the problem of how to put the works on show was solved in a very simple manner: the best place was reserved for the most highly esteemed artist, the setting of one artist alongside another was justified by chronological succession.

This was the reason for the sudden leaps and imbalances on the walls which made it so difficult to follow the development of methods in art.

In confirmation of its nature, as an archive, the habit has grown up in the historical museum of plastering walls with paintings from top to bottom. The physical impossibility of looking at the works of art was ot even taken into consideration.

Works considered of secondary importance were either hung at the top or in the darkest parts of the room. The primary concern was to economise on space. The possibility of looking at the works was conditioned by the utilisation of the walls of the room. The space between pictures was utilised to the last centimetre, with works hung next to each other according to size.

7. The aesthetic criterion of how pictures should be hung coincided with the criterion of decoration of the walls, i.e., the picture was used, like any other decorative element of the surroundings, to cover the walls.

The system of display was based on symmetrical distribution of the pictures on the wall, with pictures of the same size being set side by side.

8. The new museum building cannot accept such a superficial criterion, which takes no account whatsoever of the problem of putting a picture on show. Posed in these terms, the problem excludes the economic utilisation of a wall.

9. The principle of entirely covering the walls should be totally rejected. The wall no longer has a role of its own, and the work of art, being the true protagonist, should not be subordinated to the wall.

Pictures should be hung according to a criterion of choice that reflects the stages of development of artistic form and methods, without reference to chronological order.

What should be taken into account when a painting is hung is not the fame of a given artist but the value of a given phase of development and the quality and technique of a given work.

When a work is hung on the wall it should be given the space needed for it not to impinge on another.

In order to find the right point at which a picture should be hung it is necessary carefully to take into account both the height of those looking at it and the character of the work itself, i.e., whether its pictorial representation is rendered on a large or small scale.

In, Selim O. Khan-Magomedov, Rodchenko, The Complete Work.

Vieri Quillici, Editor and Introduction, Huw Evans, translator from the Italian.

Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1987, 288.


Artistic Life / Khudozhestvennaia Zhizn, Moscow, early 1920.

Dzhafarova, Svetlana. "The Creation of the Museum of Painterly Culture", The Great Utopia. New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art, 1992.

Dzhafarova, Svetlana, "Une politique de diffusion de l'Art moderne – Les Musées de la culture artistique", in L'Avant-garde russe – Chefs-d'oeuvre des Musées de Russie 1905-1925, Museée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, 30 janvier-18 avril, 1993, 51-61.

Karasik, Irina. "The Petrograd Museum of Artistic Culture:, in New Art for a New Era . Malevich's Vision of the Russian Avant-Garde. From the Collection of the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. London: Barbican Art Gallery, 1999, 16-20.

Kandinsky Complete Writings on Art, Vol. 1 (1901-1921) Kenneth C. Lindsay and Peter Vergo, Editors. London: Faber and Faber, 1982, 437-444.

Khan-Magomedov, Selim O.. Rodchenko, The Complete Work. Vieri Quillici, Editor and Introduction, Huw Evans, translator from the Italian. Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1987, 288.

Petroval, Evgenia. "Towards Non-Objective Art: the Collection of the Museum of Artistic Culture", in New Art for a New Era . Malevich's Vision of the Russian Avant-Garde. From the Collection of the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. London: Barbican Art Gallery, 1999, 10-15.

Plastic Arts / Izobrazitelnoe iskusstvo, No. 1, Petrograd, 1919.

Rodchenko, Aleksandr. Experiments for the Future. Diaries, Essays, Letters, and Other Writings.

Alexander N. Lavretiev, Editor. Jamey Gambrell, translator. John E. Bowlt, Introduction.

New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2005, 117-118. (Russian edition, Opyt' dlia budyschego, Moscow: 1996.)

Russian Avant-Garde 1910-1930 The G. Costakis Collection, Anna Kafetsi, Editor. The National Gallery and Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, and The European Cultural Centre of Delphi,1995, p. 772.

State Russian Museum. Muzei v Muzee . Russkii avangard iz kollektsii Muzeia Khudozhestvennoi kulturi v sobranii Gosudarstvennogo Russkogo Muzeia / Museum in a Museum . Russian Avant-Garde in the Collection of the Museum of Artistic Culture in Collection of the State Russian Museum. St. Petersburg, 2003.

Zhadova. Larissa Alekseevna, Editor. Tatlin. London: Thames and Hudson, 1988.


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