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Subject from a Dyer's Shop
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More about Subject from a Dyer's Shop

dbronson's picture

Contributor

Lyubov Popova’s Subject from a Dyer’s Shop (1914), is a Cubist-influenced work, likely inspired by her travels throughout Europe.

It shows a concern with the Bolshevik working class and it also pre-figured Popova’s life imitating her art—in 1923, Popova began creating textile designs for fabric manufactured by the First State Textile Printing Works in Moscow.

While working at the textile factory in Moscow, Popova made (very cute) abstract hammer and sickle designs. For these, she appropriated the state symbols, as well as the five-pointed star, for “the new Russian consumer” circa the New Economic Policy (NEP) instituted in 1920. Popova later wrote that she was designing for a diverse “Soviet woman” residing “both in the countryside and in the worker districts” an interesting contradiction between the Communist ethos and capitalist marketing practice. Much like how Abstract Expressionism was later co-opted by the CIA in the Cold War to combat communism.

By 1921, her writings seem to indicate her adoption of the Constructivists’s position to use artistic skills, “to design new everyday objects for mass production.” She was included in the exhibition 5 X 5 = 25. In it, she exhibited with the Constructivists Aleksander Rodchenko and Varvara Stepanova in September of 1921.

However, along with her co-worker Varvara Stepanova the two women made it clear to the factory management, that they wanted to:

  1. To participate in the work of the production organs, to work closely with or to direct the artistic side of things, with the right to vote on production plans and models, design acquisitions, and recruiting colleagues for artistic work.
  2. To participate in the chemistry laboratory as observers of the colouration process …
  3. To produce designs for block-printed fabrics, at our request or suggestion.
  4. To establish contact with the sewing workshops, fashion houses, and journals.
  5. To undertake agitational work for the factory through the press and magazine advertisements. At the same time we may also contribute designs for store windows.

i.e. badass babes drove the Revolution.