Rachel Polonsky

Total Eclipse of the Art

Black Square: Malevich and the Origins of Suprematism

By

Yale University Press 346pp £25 order from our bookshop

Russian television, notorious for state propaganda, has its civilised side. A recent episode of the weekly debate show Cultural Revolution, hosted by Mikhail Shvydkoy (Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for international cultural cooperation), recently asked, ‘Is Malevich’s Black Square a Big Con?’ Almost a century since Kazimir Malevich first hung his canvas, icon-style, in the upper corner of the ‘Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10’ in Petrograd in December 1915, this question still arouses feeling.

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