Event—Adult Education

Malevich’s Black Square: Redefining Icons in the Russian Avant-Garde


Investigate Malevich’s revolution in art through the prism of his groundbreaking work, "The Black Square."

Black Square (Black Suprematic Square), Kazimir Malevich, 1915. Source: Tretyakov Gallery via Public Domain Review.

Class Description

What is Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square? Is it a fad, a black hole, a symbol of utopian aspirations, or a geometric module of abstraction? Together, we will investigate Malevich’s revolution in art through the prism of his groundbreaking work, "The Black Square," a defining image of Modernism and a painting to which Malevich would return throughout his career, from Suprematism in art, architectural, graphic, and industrial design to his later figurative works.

We will view Malevich not just as an innovative artist, but as a charismatic teacher, successful self-promoter, and revolutionary art theorist. The Black Square hung over his deathbed, and Malevich chose the black square to mark his funeral and grave; the artist and his invention became one. We will also investigate how the Black Square has changed the global art world, bursting into contemporary design, architecture, and everyday life.

Julia Kriventsova Denne studied literature at St. Petersburg University, Russia, and teaches Russian literature and culture in the Chicago area.

Materials List

No Required Materials

Cost and Registration

3 sessions, $200 ($180 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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