- Amazons of the Avant-Garde (1990)Our PickBy Alexandra Exter, John E Bowlt, Matthew Drutt
- The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932 (1992)Our PickGuggenheim Exhibition Catalogue / By Paul Wood, Vasilii Rakitin, Jane A. Sharp, Aleksandra Shatskikh
- Art of the Avant-Garde in Russia: Selections from the George Costakis Collection (1981)Guggenheim Exhibition Catalogue / By Margit Rowell, Georgi Costakis, Angelica Zander Rudenstine
- Zaum: The Transrational Poetry of Russian FuturismOur PickBy Gerald Janecek
- The Ardis Anthology of Russian FuturismBy Ellendea; Carl R. Proffer; Elena Guro; Vladimir Mayakovsky; Et. Al. Proffer
- The Russian Cosmists: The Esoteric Futurism of Nikolai Fedorov and his followersBy George Young
Important Art and Artists of Russian Futurism
In its subject matter and style, Haycutters is indicative of the Neo-Primitivism advocated for by Goncharova and many of her contemporaries, including Larionov and Marc Chagall. In the painting, workers cutting hay are portrayed with an intentionally childlike hand and a simple, modern color palette. Goncharova has relinquished realistic perspective and proportions, painting the workers in the foreground much smaller than the peasant with the scythe in the middle ground. This choice promotes a strong connection between the workers and the wheat behind them. In their height, posture, and even the color of their skin, they appear to be made of the same substance as the hay.
A keen sense of motion is created in the painting by the many opposing diagonals: the scythe, the worker's bodies and wheat, and the road traveled by the horse and carriage each carry the viewer's eye in a different direction. Goncharova combined these elements with the heroic scale of the central peasant to create a scene in which farm workers are inextricably linked to the land. Rather than depicting non-Western "primitive" cultures of Africa, Asia, or the Pacific Islands, the Neo-Primitivist Haycutters celebrates traditional Russian culture and reinforces the fundamental value of the peasant in Russian society. In this way Neo-Primitivism marks an important, specifically Russian, departure from similar styles in Western Europe.
A Game in Hell is an exemplar of the ambitious Futurist collaborations between writers and visual artists. Printed entirely by lithograph, including the manuscript text, the book represents avant-garde publishing at its finest. Casting aside the traditional separation of text and image, the experimental language of Khlevnikov and Kruchenykh's poem is fused with Goncharova's bold images in an unmediated, synthetic presentation. Goncharova's depiction of the devil could be interpreted as a profane play on Russian icons and other religious representations, but in a particularly Futurist gesture, her use of traditional Russian iconography remains ambiguous, and could be read equally as an homage to the folk art of her homeland. This exciting alliance between modern literature and visual art would continue to evolve, in Russia and other countries, as early examples of what we now call "multimedia" art.
Dyr bul shchyl was the first self-proclaimed zaum poem, published as a part of Kruchenykh's book Pomada (Lipstick) and illustrated in simple lithographs by his friend Mikhail Larionov. Zaum is a compound word best expressed in English as "transrational" or "beyonsense." Its nonsense words and letters are arbitrary, without meaning. The result is a literary work whose effects cannot be anticipated, even by its author. Each time letters of the zaum are read or spoken, they take on a different sound or significance to the reader as well as to any listeners. This was the true intention of the zaum language: to be transrational, to transcend the pettiness of logical thought and exist instead on a higher plane of creativity, even to the point of being beyond the grasp of its author.
Just as important as the creativity of a zaum poem's author was the creativity of its reader. Entirely without formal rules, zaum practitioners believed this "language" was universal to all people, thus overcoming the obstacles inherent to languages that must be translated and transcribed in order for comprehension and appreciation to be achieved. Kruchenykh's push toward the basic, abstract building blocks of language was mirrored by Futurist visual artists whose works were also increasingly abstract. Zaum is less well known than the similar language experiments of the Dada movement, though Dada embraced miscommunication and the failure of language.