The book was first published in 1991 by Thames & Hudson and the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco with contributions from John E. Bowlt, Elizabeth Souritz, Mel Gordon, Valerii Gubin, Simon Karlinsky, Mikhail Kolesnikov, Georgii Kovalenko and several other scholars.
Theater has always occupied a central place in Russian artistic life, and in the early twentieth-century avant-garde painters began experimenting with the stage as a visual laboratory.
Artists such as Exter, Lissitzky, Malevich, Popova, Rodchenko, Stepanova and Tatlin revolutionized costume, set and poster design, bringing an imaginative vitality to the state that has rarely been equaled.
This lavishly illustrated book accompanies an exhibition organized by Nancy Van Norman Baer of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in collaboration with the internationally known Soviet scholar John E. Bowlt and the staff of the Bakhrushkin State Central Theatrical Museum in Moscow.
Works have been selected for their dazzling visual qualities and for the insight they provide into the turbulent history of Russian avant-garde theater in a changing cultural climate.
Nancy Van Norman Baer, a dancer and renowned curator of theater and dance at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, died of cancer in 1998.
She was also the author of “Bronislava Nijinska: A Dancer’s Legacy” and “The Art of Enchantment: Diaghilev's Ballets Russes”.