The creative explosion that coincided with the Russian Revolution was once modern art’s best kept secret. Not any more. Kazimir Malevich’s The Black Square – simply a black square – now rivals Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon as the most influential painting of the 20th century, while Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky’s graphics have been endlessly pastiched by everything from fashion magazines to indie-rock album covers.
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Indeed, you’d be forgiven for wondering what this, the last major show this year marking the revolution’s centenary – following on from exhibitions at the British Library, the Design Museum and a mammoth survey at the Royal Academy – could bring to the table that hasn’t been seen many times before.
Yet, where the RA show focused on painting and sculpture and the Design Museum on architecture, this exhibition looks principally at graphic design. It is drawn almost entirely from the vast collection of posters, photographs and other ephemera amassed by the late British designer David King, acquired by Tate following his death in 2016 and this tight, personal focus gives the show a feel quite different from its rivals. Read more