The history of VKHUTEMAS and archive photos of the capital: new online video-tours in the #moscowwithyou project

November 29, 2020

Two new video tours have been brought out on the #moscowwithyou media platform.

One of the virtual tours is timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Higher State Artistic and Technical Workshops (VKHUTEMAS),, and the other to mark the 110th birthday anniversary of the famous Soviet photographer Naum Granovsky, a chronicler of Moscow life.

VKHUTEMAS became the first post-revolution educational institution to train creative professionals. This is where Soviet design education was born. In the 10 years of the Institute’s existence, almost 1,500 artists, sculptors and architects graduated from it. The exhibition dedicated to VKHUTEMAS is located in the Museum of Moscow. During the online tour, a #MoscowWithYou researcher will talk about the stages of the institute’s creation, as well as which masters of Soviet art taught within its walls. For example, workshops were led by the artist and photographer Alexander Rodchenko, architect Nikolai Ladovsky and painter Lyubov Popova.

Participants of the virtual tour will learn about the courses that were mandatory for the students of the first two years:   Graphic Art, Colour, Volume and Space. You will also find out what was included in the curriculum of architecture, textile design, printing, metalworking and other faculties.  

The audience will see the most original and best-known works created by VKHUTEMAS students: paintings and graphic art, sculptures, architectural drawings and models, even porcelain dinnerware and furniture. Some of the students’ theses were so bold that they impressed not only the institute’s examination board, but the entire country as well. For example, in his architectural project The Flying City, Georgy Krutikov suggested placing house-communes in the air, leaving only buildings for work, recreation and tourism on the ground. Multistorey apartment buildings were meant to float with the help of nuclear engines. Ivan Leonidov's graduation project Lenin Institute of Library Science was presented at the first exhibition of modern art in 1927 in Moscow and became world-famous. He designed an architectural complex based on the spatial interaction of simple geometric shapes. For example, the spherical hall was raised above the ground on openwork metal structures, and library stacks looked like a vertical parallelepiped.

 Detailed information about the VKHUTEMAS centenary: The school of the avant-garde exhibition is also available on the Museum of Moscow website.

The Lumiere Brothers Centre for Photography and the Still Art Foundation present the anniversary retrospective exhibition Naum Granovsky’ Moscow: 1920-1980.Naum Granovsky was born on 27 February 27 1910 in Alexandria (now Kirovograd Region of Ukraine). In 1926, he began working as a photojournalist for TASS. From Granovsky's photographs, you can see how the appearance of Moscow changed over the course of half a century. The photographer kept taking photographs of the same streets and squares of the capital to compare them as time went by. His photographs show buildings that no longer exist, as well as the stages of construction of houses that later became Moscow’s heritage. Granovsky was called not only a chronicler of Moscow life, but also the biggest architectural photographer of the USSR.

During the virtual tour, you can see how the capital has changed over six decades. In total, the exhibition will show more than 100 works by the author.    

#moscowwithyou is a project of the Committee for Tourism, which was launched in March 2020. The platform presents lectures, theatre productions, literary readings, online tours, cooking shows, fashion shows, and much more. The English version of the project #moscowwithyou is available to the international audience.


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