Donkey's Tail

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Title of an exhibition organized in Moscow in 1912 by Goncharova and Larionov after they had dissociated themselves from the Knave of Diamonds group in 1911. They accused that group of being too much under foreign influence, and advocated a nationalist Russian art. At this time Larionov and Goncharova were painting in a ‘Neo-primitivist’ manner based partly on icon painting and peasant art. The title of the exhibition referred to an incident in 1910 when three pictures painted with a brush tied to a donkey's tail were shown at the jury-free Salon des Indépendants in Paris (a stunt devised by a journalist to poke fun at modern art: the pictures were hung as works of the fictitious ‘Boronali’, an anagram of aliboron, ‘jackass’). At the Moscow exhibition there was an outcry because some of the paintings on view had religious subjects and it was thought to be irreverent to show religious works under such a title (the police ordered several to be removed). Goncharova and Larionov followed it up with the Target Exhibition in 1913.

Subjects: Art.

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