During this semester’s registration, I decided to take a risk and sign up for Modern Russian Art with Professor John Bowlt. The title of the class sounded daunting, so I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into…
I am happy to say now that Modern Russian Art is the highlight of my Spring 2011 schedule. Most mornings at 9:30 am, I’m reluctant to even be awake, not to mention go to class, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I find myself excited to get to room 114 of Taper Hall for Professor Bowlt’s lecture. There hasn’t been a single moment in any of his classes when I wasn’t fascinated by the eclectic history of Russia, amazed by the art we see on the slides, or amused by Professor Bowlt’s teaching style.
Some of the most interesting lectures include discussing the meaning of a blank canvas and the concept of nothing, looking at the mysterious lives of Catherine the Great and Rasputin, talking about whether art should be a mirror or a hammer, and reading the poem “Heights (Universal Language)” out loud like a musical round.
It goes, “e u w i a o o a o a e e i e w o a e u i e i i e e i i y i e i i y!”
This last Friday, we even went to see USC’s collection of all things Modern Russia at the Institute of Modern Russian Culture (IMRC), which is located in the Shrine Auditorium (where the SAG Awards were held earlier this year!). We got to see old banners, propaganda posters, the original manuscript of Pasternak’s Nobel Prize-winning Doctor Zhivago, tangible copies of the artwork we’ve studied in class, and so much more! It was amazing being able to touch history with my own fingertips.
Our next exciting assignment is to create our own piece of work according to one of the styles we have learned in class. If Professor Bowlt likes them, he’ll actually display them at the IMRC!
If I win, I’ll definitely keep you guys posted :P