Playground of the Autocrats

  • October 04, 2020 – January 24, 2021
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  • Museum of Russian Icons
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  • Clinton, MA
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  • Art Exhibit

Playground of the Autocrats

Playground of the Autocrats, an exhibition by contemporary artist and historian Anne Bobroff-Hajal, draws from the visual languages of iconography and graphic art to create a large-scale visual commentary on Russian socio-political history. On view October 4, 2020–January 24, 2021 at the Museum of Russian Icons, Bobroff-Hajal's paintings form stunningly complex triptychs and polyptychs that represent a secular art tradition directly influenced by orthodox iconography, animation, political cartoons, graphic novels, and icons–all of which tell stories in pictures and words.

The detailed and whimsical visual stories symbolize the powerful human motivations of love, greed, grief, competition, and fury shaped by the geographic landscapes in which those humans live. Bobroff-Hajal has developed a complex process of repeatedly layering paint on digital images in her paintings and photographs. She uses the pleasures of art and humor to engage viewers with complex issues of Russian society's autocratic history from the fourteenth century through today, and its interface with the rest of the world. In each comical yet deadly-serious polyptych, she paints hundreds of 3-inch-high portraits of people—from slaves and serfs to autocrats—at moments of intense struggle to achieve their particular social system goals. Viewers of her art are accompanied across centuries by fanciful tour guides: self-delighted, arrogant flying Tsar "godparents" singing their advice to a swaddled, mustached infant Stalin in his cradle.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 11 am-5 pm.  Closed Monday–Thursday

Four daily time slots: 11:00am-12:30pm; 12:30-2:00pm; 2:00-3:30pm; 3:30-5:00pm.


Virtual Panel Discussion with artist Anne-Bobroff-Hajal & M.I.T. Professor Elizabeth Wood

Saturday, November 21, 1:00 pm E.S.T. | Members free, Nonmembers $5
Registration required by Friday, November 20. The Zoom link will be sent to participants on the morning of the program. 


Times: Daily    Tickets: Adults $10, seniors (59+) $7, Students $5, Children (3-7) $5, Children under 3 Free.    Phone: 617.543.1595    Website    Email

Museum of Russian Icons
203 Union St, Clinton, 01510

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