Aleksandr Rodchenko
The Russian Avant-Garde
Experiment and Innovation
New Cultural Institutions
Spatial Constructions
The Death of Painting
Graphic Design
Portraits of Mayakovsky
Workers' Club 1925
Design for Theater and Film
Stalin's Power
design for lenin cornerWORKER'S CLUB 1925
Rodchenko designed a Workers' Club as one of the Soviet exhibits at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris in the summer of 1925. Other Soviet exhibits included Konstantin Mel'nikov's Soviet pavilion and displays of crafts, graphic design, architectural drawings, and works created at VKhUTEMAS, installed by Rodchenko at the Grand Palais. All of them projected an image of the Soviet Union as civilized and progressive.

Rodchenko's spare, geometric designs for the Workers' Club evoked a culture of hygiene, rationality, and economy. The Club embodied revolutionary ideology, not merely by granting leisure to workers but by reconceiving leisure as active and collective rather than passive and solitary. Its components served multiple functions, and most of them aimed at educating the worker through the most up-to-date information technologies. The hinged surface of the communal table could be flat for work or inclined for reading, and the playing surface of the chess table revolved to give the players access to their seats. The collapsible structure against the far wall combined a rostrum for a speaker, a blank screen for projected slogans and signs, and an expandable screen for the display of illustrative material. Amidst all of this equipment, the Lenin Corner (which Rodchenko intended to embellish with documentary material on the life of the recently deceased leader) was transformed from a mere memorial into an explicit tribute to Lenin's goals of worker literacy and active participation in social and political life.

© 1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York