Back in 2008 I posted about the exhibition “Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910–1917”; here‘s a gorgeous collection of book covers from that period (scroll down). The text is in Russian, but anyone can appreciate the design; click on the covers to get a better view.


  1. Thanks for bringing back the old post! I am left wondering why the text quoted in Wikipedia differs from the one in Getty’s PDF edition
    Может быть, выпьем
    Чарку вина
    За здоровье Комет,
    Истекающих бриллиантовой кровью
    vs. just 2 lines in the PDF
    Может быть чарку вина выпьем
    За здоровье планет истекающих

  2. Huh. I’m guessing he revised the poem.

  3. Also instead of “Мы – Открыватели Стран –
    Завоеватели Воздуха”, the various copies of the printed edition put “Мы открыватели стран закожурники черви”.
    There are notoriously few online sources listing either text, and nothing to suggest that it ever appeared in print again.

  4. PS: the word закожурник caught my attention, as I’ve never heard it before – of course the Futurist poetry is no stranger to made-up words, but закожурники sounded too folksy for a Futurist invention. It turned out to be a Perm dialectism for a greedy person or just someone who spends to rationally. Of course Vasily Kamensky was from Perm, and grew up there in a family of a Kama River tugboat pilot among riverboat-sailors (речники in Russian), famous for their colorful speech.

  5. I’m working with Eugene Ostashevsky on a translation of the book that gave the show its title: Tango with Cows.

  6. With Daniel’s help I was able to figure out that there were not one but two revisions of Kamensky’s “Tango with Cows”. The eponymous pentagonal wallpaper book of “reinforced-concrete poetry” (“Танго с Коровами”) was followed by a version, with minor changes and dedication to Mayakovsky, in the “First Journal of Russian Futurists”, and, two years later, with more changes and a dedication to Khariton Slavorosov, Kamensky’s first flight instructor, in “Girls, Barefoot” (Девушки босиком. Стихи. Каменский, Тифлис, 1916-1917)

  7. Great book covers ! By chance, and surprising even myself, I am now reading a thick tome of suprematist, constructivist, formalist etc writings by people like Gan, Malevich, Tretjakov: Am Nullpunkt. Positionen der russischen Avantgarde. The best ideas and insights, in my opinion, are in the pieces by Tarabukin, such as “From easel to machine”. I can glide over the actual “works”, such as the text of Kruchenykh’s Победа над Cолнцем.
    Hat, did you know that Russian was not Malevich’s native language (I think it was Polish) ? That helps explain the crazed wording (for me in translation, of course) of “On the Museum”, according to the commentators in Am Nullpunkt.

  8. No, I did not—interesting!

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