Set Design

Organized by the The Jewish Museum, New York, Chagall and the Artists of the Russian Jewish Theater, 1919–1949 is the first exhibition devoted to the extraordinary artwork created for Russian Jewish theater productions in the 1920s and 1930s. The exhibition tells the story of a remarkable period in the early years of the Soviet Union when innovative visual artists, including Marc Chagall, joined forces with avant-garde playwrights, actors, and producers to create an experience with extraordinary mass appeal. Through paintings, costume and set designs, posters, photographs, film clips and theater ephemera, The installation design, developed to reinforce the show’s linear narrative, molds cubist inspired interior space to establish an arc of experience mimicking the unfolding progression of a theatrical display. The show begins with a darkened room intended to suggest the theatrical “black box”. As the viewer moves through the gallery spaces, each of which tells the story of a single play, the rooms get progressively lighter, culminating in the show’s climax: the famous murals of Marc Chagall. The murals were installed, as originally intended, in an abstract and yet exact proportional replica of the historic theater. From this focal point, rooms begin to darken, providing a denouement for the exhibition and its impressive retelling of history.