Andy Warhol created his Hammer and Sickle series in 1976 after a trip to Italy where the most common graffiti in public spaces was this symbol found on Soviet flags. Under communist control it signified the union of industrial and farm workers’ interests. In Italy, a democratic country since the end of WWII, the repeated graffiti symbol was to Warhol more Pop than political. After returning to the United States, Warhol asked his studio assistant Ronnie Cutrone to find source pictures of this symbol. The reproductions found in books were like the Soviet flag, flat in appearance, and Warhol wanted something different. Cutrone purchased a double-headed hammer and a sickle at a local hardware store and arranged and photographed the tools in many positions. Warhol used the Cutrone photographs for his silkscreened series.
Soviet graphic design…is nice!
by Moscow poster designers of the 1970’s
A pledge: “To holy guard the honor and glory of the Navy fleet.”
L: Guarding the Fatherland-a holy duty of every Soviet citizen.
R: Strengthen the union of the Army & Navy.
see soviet ukraine
Alexander Kosolapov (Molotov Cocktail & Malevich Black Square, 1989).
Often referred to as “Soviet Pop Art”, Sots Art (short for Socialist Art) originated in the Soviet Union in the early 1970s as a reaction against the official aesthetic doctrine of the state—”Socialist Realism." Socialist Realism was marked by reverential depictions of workers, peasants living happily in their communes, and a young, fit Joseph Stalin.
At some point at the beginning of his New York career, the Coca-Cola Company tried to sue Kosolapov for the use of its trademark without permission. Today, when Kosolapov’s ideas are spread wide and printed all over the world on t-shirts and matryoshka dolls, does he plan on suing the pirates?
“No,” Kosolapov answers with a smile. “Before, I was the one who stole; now, they are stealing from me. It’s all fair.”
Zinaida Serebriakova was born on the estate of Neskuchnoye near Kharkov (now Kharkiv, Ukraine) into one of Russia’s most refined and artistic families.
She belonged to the artistic Benois family. Her grandfather, Nicholas Benois, was a famous architect, chairman of the Society of Architects and member of the Russian Academy of Science. Her uncle, Alexandre Benois, was a famous painter, founder of the Mir iskusstva art group. Her father, Yevgeny Nikolayevich Lanceray, was a well-known sculptor, and her mother, who was Alexandre Benois’ sister, had a talent for drawing.
In 1905, Zinaida married her first cousin, Boris Serebriakov (the man painted above), the son of Evgenyi’s sister, and took his surname. Serebriakov went on to become a railroad engineer.
At the outbreak of the October Revolution in 1917, Serebriakova was at her family estate of Neskuchnoye, and suddenly her whole life changed. In 1919 her husband Boris died of typhus contracted in Bolshevikjails. She was left without any income, responsible for her four children and her sick mother. All the reserves of Neskuchnoye had been plundered, so the family suffered from hunger. She had to give up oil painting in favour of the less expensive techniques of charcoal and pencil.