El Lissitzky
Russian, 1890-1941
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Selected exhibitions
Visionaries: Creating a Modern Guggenheim,
Guggenheim Museum
Agitation and Propaganda: The Soviet Political Poster 1918–1929,
Frye Art Museum
Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015,
Whitechapel Gallery

A key figure in the vanguard of Bolshevik artists who shaped the aesthetic program of Soviet Russia, El Lissitzky was a pioneer of design, architecture, typography, and installation art. Lissitzky experimented with new technologies and media, developing a style that helped define 20th-century propaganda and modern graphic design. Building on the philosophy of Kazimir Malevich and Suprematism, Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and the Constructivists sought to dedicate their art to the advancement of Soviet society. Lissitzky’s political poster Hit the Whites with the Red Wedge! is a seminal example of Constructivism, which employs allegorical geometric shapes and text to capture the Bolshevik ideology of progress, formalizing the rejection of established artistic traditions. Believing art to have the power to transform society, Lissitzky said, “Art can no longer be merely a mirror, it …

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