Red House

November 20, 2007 at 12:50 pm | Posted in art | Comments Off on Red House
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Red House

Last week I made my first visit to La Maison Rouge — which, contrary to appearances, is not a den of prostitution but a small museum with rotating exhibits that had been recommended to me a number of times.

On right now they’re showing Sots Art: Art politique en Russie de 1972 à aujourd’hui, an exhibit devoted to the works of politically motivated artists in the late soviet and post soviet eras. This focus makes for some graphically appealing (if somewhat heavy handed) pieces:

Lenin Coca-Cola

Some that were a bit more subtle:

Revolutionary Russian Porcelain

In this work by Kossolapov, Duchamp meets Malevitch, pointing up the contrast between avant garde art in Moscow vs. New York. Still others, however, were very nearly incomprehensible to an undereducated western eye:


Here we have some creepy, suit-clad monsters, debating over glasses of wine. I think they’re supposed to be aliens, but I didn’t quite grok the political message.

Which brings me to the main weakness of the exhibit: there is absolutely no wall commentary. And I know a lot of people feel that wall commentaries in museums are a crutch, and that everyone should come to the art on their own terms, without the curator holding your hand through the whole thing. And that’s a fine approach for many exhibits — but when we’re talking about political art that was produced in a very specific context, really, I’m going to need some cliff’s notes.

Of course, the Maison Rouge doesn’t leave you completely on your own. When you buy your ticket, they give you a tiny little stapled booklet, in French only, filled with in depth essays regarding most of the works on display. But good luck finding a place to read it! There isn’t a bench in the whole show, and I wound up sitting on the floor at one point just to get a good angle and enough light to read the damn thing.

I have to admit, though, the booklet had a lot of interesting commentary, and really made me appreciate the exhibit on a deeper level. I just wish I’d hung around the comfortable lounge in the lobby area to read it before venturing inside.

La Maison Rouge
Sots Art: Art politique en Russie de 1972 à aujourd’hui
10 boulevard de la bastille
Open Wednesday through Sunday

Check out some more pictures here


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