Moscow: Vserossiyskiy proletkult, 1925. Item #855
135,  pp. 22x15 cm. Original publisher’s cover. Covers restored, bookstore stamp on back cover, otherwise very good.
First edition. One of 3000 copies. Very rare.
The program work by art critic Nikolay Tarabukin (1889-1956), one of the ideologists of Proletkult, who at the time taught at VKHUTEMAS.
The art of the day is the art that is born in the day, that is dying with the dawn of the day - that’s how Tarabukin defines the new art, however admitting its importance, he explains the purpose of creating this book as a guidance for the artists, designing billboards, wrappers of the books, posters, advertising, newspapers etc.
He calls the poster ‘the weapon of mass influence’ and puts in above all other forms of ‘minor art’ in its importance for the masses. In the second chapter Tarabukin gives the principles of the Soviet advertising, in the third called ’old folk lubok and new agit-lubok’, explains how to transform old tradition of the luboks printed for the people into weapon of propaganda. The seventh chapter is dedicated to the new abilities of photo design. Among other things, the definition of photomontage is given with advises how to use it.
Tarabukin calls photomontage ‘the new era in pictorial art’.
This could be one of the first explanations of how photomontage as a technique fits into leftist design.
Tarabukin always underlines the anonymity of the art he describes. In his understanding, it’s better not to advertise the artist’s name as this art is created by the people for the people. This statement could be the reason why so many times when we work with outstanding book design of the 1920s, we can’t find the name of the artist mentioned anywhere.
This book was used both as a textbook for students and as a guidebook for the artists and designers which explains its rarity.
Worldcat shows copies located in Princeton and Yale Universities.