Curator, Jodi Hauptman: We're looking at a work by the Russian artist Popova, a costume design for a play called The Magnanimous Cuckold.
She was trained originally as an easel painter in the 1910s. And then the Russian Revolution happens in 1917. In the wake of that, she actually abandoned painting to produce forms of art that she feels will more directly engage a mass society.
She creates these costume designs that are based on worker's clothing. So, the blue in this costume would allude to the basic blue worker smock. So she's thinking about the role of industry and the way serial production is so much a part of people's lives. You can take one costume and repeat it and repeat it again and just change it in slight ways.
The red square is a form that's very much associated with the young Soviet Union. It's really a stand-in for the boldness and aspiration of this new society that artists, architects, workers, leaders are all building together. And it's a sign of this new visual language for a new world. And it's the language of abstraction, but what Popova and some of her fellow artists that you see in this room did, was they took that visual language, that abstraction, and retooled it for radical political ends.