Typography at VKhuTeMas, the Soviet Union’s Revolutionary Art School
VKhuTeMas, or Higher Art and Technical Studios, is a revolutionary Soviet art school that opened its doors just a year after the founding of Bauhaus in Germany. Today, the school is usually remembered for a slew of avant-garde artists who worked there — Kandinsky and Malevich, Rodchenko and Stepanova, Lissitzky and Tatlin, among many others. However, the school’s innovative pedagogy and its democratic admission structure geared towards working-class students deserves attention as well. Following some of the formal, theoretical, and political debates that happened in and around VKhuTeMas allows us to better understand the ground-breaking use of typography that developed there and became a staple of constructivist art and design. This lecture will shed light on the origins and trajectory of VKhuTeMas, paying especially close attention to how ideas on typography fed into the school’s artistic output and how they evolved over time.
The Herb Lubalin Lectures are recorded and made available here and on Vimeo with the generous support of TypeCulture.