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In the mid-1920s Rodchenko turned to other mediums, including graphic design, book illustrations, and, most notably, photography. On a trip to Paris in 1925 he bought a handheld camera, which allowed him to easily experiment with the composition of images. He framed the world from new points of view—from above, below, and at other unexpected, sharp angles—encouraging the viewer to see familiar things in new ways. His photographs and photomontages were published widely in such avant-garde periodicals as LEF and Novyi LEF , and in such state-run publications as Sovetskoe Foto and USSR in Construction . In the early 1930s he embraced photography as a tool for social commentary, critically depicting the disparity between the idealized and lived Soviet experience. The images he made contrasted with Socialist Realism, which was declared the official style of art in the Soviet Union in 1934. Preferring the saccharine depictions of positive, heroic, and idealized subjects unencumbered by the trials and tribulations of everyday life, Soviet critics found Rodchenko’s photography too formalist at times. Nevertheless, he continued to find support abroad, exhibiting in Film und Foto: Internationale Ausstellung des Deutschen Werkbunds at the Städtische Ausstellungshallen in Stuttgart, Fotomontage at the Staatliche Kunstbibliothek in Berlin, Cubism and Abstract Art (1936) and Abstract Painting: Shapes of Things (1941) at MoMA, and Mezinárodní Výstava Fotografie at the Manes Exhibition Hall in Prague. Rodchenko died on December 3, 1956, in Moscow.

 · Russian, 1891–1956. When The Museum of Modern Art’s first director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr. (/collection/artists/9168), met Aleksandr Rodchenko on his trip ...

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