The Russians are Here

RussianI have always loved the architecture of the Guggenheim.  The long stroll up the circular floors.  How one exhibit literally takes over the entire museum.  There is always another small exhibit that if you miss the tiny corridor behind one of the elevators, you’ve missed that exhibit.  It is mostly about the one big show.  Now through January 11, it is all about Russia.

The exhibit starts on the ground floor in the Peter the Great era.  The pieces are truly uninspiring or interesting.  As you continue up the ramp, you end up in the modern art era. 

What struck me about the art as a whole is that Russia was obviously cut off from the rest of the world.  Their education system must not have embraced art because the art work is mediocre at best, at least in the beginnings of time to the 19th Century.  There are hints of influence by other artists that we know such as Picasso (cubism) or even Norman Rockwell.  But it was as if they had been painting off of small tidbits of information that flowed into the country.  The pieces were depressing.

Yet, as you get to the top of the exhibit, the modern pieces are much better.  There has been more flow of information into Russia from other parts of the world.  There is some interesting pieces that are pretty good and thought provoking.  What kind of modern world are the Russians living in.  How are artists reacting to it.  Are there that many artists in Russia? 

As in life, no pain no gain, you have to walk up to the very top to really get something out of the exhibit.