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Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies, Slavic Languages and Literatures
1800 Sherman Avenue, Suite 3500


NINA GOURIANOVA (aka GURIANOVA) (Ph.D. 2001, Columbia, Associate Professor) re-examines in her research the wide spectrum of questions concerning the cultural, poetical, social, and political environment as expressed in Russian culture. Her scholarship in the fields of literature and art history encompasses both Russian and European modernist and avant-garde movements, with a specific emphasis on the interrelation and mutual influence of aesthetics and politics. Another, no less important problem she addresses deals with the profound symbiosis of the literary and the visual. Nina Gourianova authored several books, published in Russia, Europe, and the United States. The well-recognized expert on Russian Avant-garde throughout the world, Gourianova served as the primary curatorial consultant to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) on the exhibition of Russian Futurist and Constructivist books in 2002, and participated in the organization of many exhibitions, including "Amazons of the Avant-garde" and "Kazimir Malevich" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. She was nominated and elected a Fellow at Harvard Society of Fellows in 1998-2002. Her most recent book, The Aesthetics of Anarchy (2012, University of California Press) explores the question of creative freedom. What does it take to make art political, or was it culture that shaped politics? How does an artist’s social and political agenda change the environment around her or him? These questions still remain as important at the beginning of the twenty first century, as they were at the beginning of the twentieth.

Recent courses taught:

Slavic 211-1, 211-2 20th Century Russian Literature

Slavic 359-2 Russian Prose

Slavic 369-0 20th Century Russian Drama and Theater

Slavic 378-0 Visual Art in the Context of Russian Culture

Slavic 411-0 Proseminar

Slavic 438 Studies in 20th Century Russian Literature-Graduate Seminar

Research Interests:

Russian Modernist and Avant-garde movements in prose, poetry, and the arts; aesthetics and ideology, specifically culture and anarchy; Russian Futurism and the issues of word and image; interconnections between Russian and European Modernisms; influence of Russian icon tradition on Russian 20th century art.

Current project



In the modern world, art cannot exist without context, and in the research I am undertaking, the political and ideological issues (including cultural politics) form that context. Both Russian and Western art worlds in 1920-1930-s were forged in a crucible of intense political and cultural interaction. My interdisciplinary, cross-cultural approach allows us to project the major theoretical and critical issues of modernism against the background of radical political movements. My research focuses on the most innovative and experimental forms of modernism and avant-garde visual and literary narratives (from book design, and political posters, to commercial advertisements, poetry, and prose,) and their interactions with the new political ideologies. The proposed study does not aim to present the public with a comprehensive general overview of the evolution of modernist trends in Russia or Eastern Europe, the topics which were already exhausted in the previous decade. What this project does best is to focus on the ways the images and metaphors have been used as carriers of cultural value and ideological meaning, exploring such issues as word and image, gender and nationality, aesthetics and psychology, politics and propaganda.

Books and Edited Volumes (as Nina Gurianova)


The Aesthetics of Anarchy: Art and Ideology in Early Russian Avant-garde. University of California Press, Berkeley, 2012.


Consulting editor for the book: Russian and Soviet Views of Modern Western Art, 1900-1934.  The Documents of Twentieth Century Art.  Edited by Ilya Doronchenkov, translated by Charles Rougle.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009.  347pp.



Aleksei Kruchenykh: K istorii russkogo futurizma.  Vospominaniia i dokumenty. [Aleksei Kruchenykh: On the History of Russian Futurism. Memoirs and documents] Edited, commentaries, and the introductory article (for a full description of the article see #14) by Nina Gurianova. (Edited collection of selected autobiographical prose and theoretical essays by Russian poet Kruchenykh. In Russian) Moscow: Gileia, 2006.  457 pp.


Olga Rozanova i Russkii Avangard.  [Olga Rozanova and Russian avant-garde] with the catalogue raisonné, and complete annotated documents added. In Russian. Moscow: Gileiia, 2002.  370 pp., ill.

See reviewed in Russian:


Exploring Color: Olga Rozanova and Early Russian Avant-garde. London: Routledge, 2000. 

247 pp., ill.  (

see reviews (Choice, Sept 2000, p.4; Slavic Review, Summer 2001, p. 454-5; The Burlington Magazine, July 2000, p.454, et. al)


Iz literaturnogo naslediia Kruchenykh / Aleksei Kruchenykh: Unpublished Poetry, Prose, Critique. (Annotated collection of previously unpublished works by Russian poet Aleksei Kruchenykh. In Russian.) Edited, commentary, and afterword by Nina Gurianova.  Modern Russian Literature and Culture, Studies and Texts, vol. 41.  Berkeley Slavic Specialties, Oakland, California., 1999.  498 pp.

see review (The Slavic and East European Journal, Vol.45, No.3, 2001, p.580-1)

Elena Guro: Writings from Archives. Edited, commentaries, together with Anna Lunggren. (Annotated collection of previously unpublished writings by Russian futurist poet and artist Elena Guro.  Original texts in Russian, commentaries and introductions in English.) Stockholm: Stockholm University Press, Almqvist & Wiksell, 1995. 132 pp.

see review (Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, No.25, 1997, p.416–419)


The Russian Futurists and their Books. (In English and French). Limited facsimile edition of 6 Futurist books, edited with introduction and extended commentary. Paris: Le Hune, 1994.


Neizvestnyi russkii avangard iz muzeev I chastnykh kollektsii. [Unknown Russian Avant-garde from museums and private collections. ] Edited together with Andrei Sarabjanov.  (In Russian) Moscow: Sovetskii Khudozhnik, 1992. 352 pp., ill. Winner of The Association of Russian Publishers Award for the Best Art Book of 1992


Journals (special issues) edited


Guest editor, Russian Literature, volume LXV, North Holland (2009) special triple issue on Aleksei Kruchenykh and Russian Futurism I-III, 420 pp.


Recent Articles


 “Gambling Anarchically,” Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies 2 (2011), 59-81

(as Nina Gurianova) “Avangard and Ideology,” Russian Literature, volume LXVII, North Holland (2010) special double issue on Russian Avant-Garde III-IV, pp. 365-402.


 “Natalia Goncharova and her Mystical Images of War,Zimmerli Journal 1-2005. Rutgers University Press, 2006, pp.  92-101


 “The Supremus ‘Laboratory-House’: Reconstruction of an Avant-garde Journal,” Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism,  exhibition catalogue,  ed. by Matthew Drutt. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2003, pp. 44-59 see reviews (Yve Alain Bois, “Back to the Future” in Bookforum, Winter 2003,


"A Game in Hell, Hard Work in Heaven: Deconstructing Canon in Russian Futurist Books," Russian Avant-garde Books, exhibition catalogue, ed. by Deborah Wye. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2002, pp. 24-32


 “Futurism,” (co-authored together with Henryk Baran,)  V. A. Keldysh, ed. Russkaia literatura rubezha vekov. 1890-e nachalo 1920-kh godov. Vol. 2.  Institut Mirovoi Literatury Rossiiskoi Akademii Nauk.  (Chapter on Russian Futurism in the volume Russian literature of 1890-1920-s, published by the World Literature Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. In Russian.) Moscow: Nasledie, 2001, pp. 501-575


Awards and Fellowships


Sept. 2011-June 2012 Alice Kaplan Humanities Institute Fellow


Aug 2007-June 2008 National Endowment for Humanities Fellowship at the Independent Research Institutions, at the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 


2002 William F. Milton Fund award for research on the "Aesthetics of Anarchy: A Study of the Interconnection between Art and Politics in Russia"


1998-2003 Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows, Harvard University (took a leave of absence in 2000-2001 due to the consulting work at the Museum of Modern Art, New York)


1997-98 CRCEES Fellow (Center for Russian, Central and East European Studies of Rutgers University), Rutgers University


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