This Saturday: “Russian” to See Some Soviet Art

The Museum of Russian Art does not beg for you to visit it. It simply waits to be discovered, aloof with some blend of patience and haughtiness.

Is it an Eastern thing? Some Soviet imperative to downplay? We don’t know. But we do know that, unlike the Walker, whose cutting-edge, touring exhibitions often enter town in a bluster of praise, or the MIA, who’s currently plugging its blockbuster Rembrandt exhibition with faux-political yard signs, TMORA demurs. It hides out inside that odd little Spanish chapel alongside 35W—from the street, there’s not a hint of the gorgeous, Julie Snow-designed mezzanine inside—and quietly puts on rigorous shows steeped in beauty and history.

What we do know is that you probably have never been.

Hey, no worries. Not shaming you here. (Although it is the only museum in North America dedicated exclusively to the preservation and exhibition of all forms art and artifacts from Russia and its surrounding regions. Just FYI.) But you should check it out. And this weekend, as the museum celebrates its 10th anniversary, is the perfect time, as they’re basically trotting out some of the best paintings from their best exhibitions, including some of the best examples of Soviet Realism Minneapolis has ever seen.

Nikolai Nikolaevich Baskakov

We’ll get “Milkmaids, Novella,” (right) the beloved 1962 painting by Nikolai Baskakov. With its balance of universal warmth and proletariat romance, it’s a pretty good example of the rock-and-a-hard-place poise so many Soviet-era artists had to cultivate, as they struggled to balance artistic integrity with the directives of the governing ideology.

The anniversary show will also feature work from In the Russian Tradition (2005), the first exhibition to be held in the Museum’s current building, Russian Realism: Art of the 20th Century (2006), Colors of Russian Winter (2007), Russian Impressionism: On the Edge of Soviet Art (2008), Russkiy Salon: Select Favorites and Newly Revealed Works (2009), The Road North (2010), and The Art of Vassily Nechitailo (2011).

The Anniversary Celebration: A Decade of Russian Art and Culture
Opens Saturday, August 18 |$7
The Museum of Russian Art
5500 Stevens Ave. S., Mpls.