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#TryThis: The Ironic Curtain: Art from the Soviet Underground at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC

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Sculpture featuring a bust of Stalin

The Ironic Curtain: Art from the Soviet Underground features art created in the decades just before the fall of the Soviet Union | Photo by the CHStoday team

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Number: 11. That’s how many days remain to check out The Ironic Curtain: Art from the Soviet Underground at the Columbia Museum of Art in Columbia, SC.

We recently took a tour and were blown away by the artwork, its history, and the uniqueness of the exhibition, which was organized and curated by the museum’s own Dr. Catherine Walworth. Here’s a peek behind the curtain of our visit + how you can #TryThis.

What we tried (with pricing):

We spent a Friday morning roaming through the exhibition’s galleries, filled with art created in the decades just before the fall of the Soviet Union. As Socialist Realism was the only legal, state-sanctioned art during this time, all other forms — like Sots Art, a variation on Pop Art — were driven underground + had to be created in secret.

Painting featuring an example of Soviet Sots Art

The exhibition features many examples of Sots Art, or Soviet Pop Art | Photo by the CHStoday team

Tickets to the museum are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for kids and students.

What not to miss:

If your Russian history is a little rusty, no worries. The CMA has transformed a portion of the exhibition into an illuminating, wall-spanning timeline.

Want to dive deep into the history behind the artwork? The CMA has you covered. | Gif by the CHStoday team

What we’re still talking about:

The layout of the exhibition is excitingly unique, with each gallery organized by theme + named with titles from Russian literature.

Sculptures in glass case in front of painting featuring Ronald Reagan and Spiderman

The exhibition will be on display through Sun., Sept. 12 | Photo by the CHStoday team

How you can experience this:

Enjoy your trip to the CMA. You may also want to mark your calendar for these events:

  • Life Underground | Wed., Sept. 1 (tonight) | 6:30-8 p.m.; galleries open til 7 p.m. | $10, $8 for seniors, $5 for students, free for members | Enjoy a candid conversation about life + artistic freedom (or lack thereof) under Soviet government control, ft. panelists like artist Irina Nakhova, whose work is included in the exhibition.
  • Arts & Draughts | Fri, Sept. 10 | 7-11 p.m. | $10, $5 for members | Enjoy live music, gallery tours, art activity stations, and live screenprinting, plus food trucks, beer, and wine.
Artwork featuring Marlboro cigarettes with the logo in Russian

“Malevich-Marlboro” by Alexander Kosolapov, 1986 | Photo by the CHStoday team

In the meantime, you can check out our visit on our Instagram Story.

Artwork by Leonid Sokov featuring the explosion of the Aurora ship in Russia

“Volley of Aurora” by Leonid Sokov, 1984 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Artwork from Leonid Sokov’s “Deficit Series"

Pieces from Leonid Sokov’s “Deficit Series,” 1978-79 | Photo by the CHStoday team

Things to know if you go:


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