Mega Paintings Take Over the Museum of Russian Art

A rare chance to see social realist works from Soviet Ukraine

After a month-long lockdown, Minnesota’s museums are finally starting to reopen. We were among the first in line to check out “Leaders and the Masses: Mega Paintings from Soviet Ukraine,” a newly extended exhibition at The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis.

The two-floor show features 37 enormous social realist paintings—some of the largest such canvases in existence. (One of them measures a whopping 14 by 19 feet.) The artworks depict the likes of Stalin, Lenin, and Khrushchev, as well as everyday collective workers, and many have never been shown in the United States. It runs through February 7.

Of course, no visit to the museum would be complete without a spin through TMORA’s delightful gift shop, which sells everything from samovar tea to chic telnyashka, repro striped military shirts worn by Soviet sailors and paratroopers in the 20th century.

In other calendar notes: the Minneapolis Institute of Art returns Thursday, January 28 with a new exhibition, In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art, while the American Swedish Institute and its acclaimed Fika café reopen on Saturday, February 6. Make a reservation, put on your finest mask, and start museum crawling!

The Museum of Russian Art
5500 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis, MN; 612-821-9045.