May 01, 2019

Pushkin is a Meme

Pushkin is a Meme
Pushkin reads Brodsky.

My series of Pushkin drawings began purely by chance.

The Pushkin Russian Language Institute wanted illustrations for their new brochure. And for some reason they asked me. I resisted for a long time, saying I didn’t do those sorts of illustrations. And also that I didn’t want to and could not. But the institute, by which I mean the sweet little woman representing it, turned out to be very insistent. I finally surrendered after it was put in terms of, “Please, anything, as long as it’s about Pushkin.”

In the end, I did not produce anything worthwhile. I made a few drawings where Pushkin was randomly inserted into some scenes from modern life: in a crowd of students with their iPhones, on a skateboard, wearing a backpack. My plan was to use these drawings to demonstrate the absurdity of their request, and that they had picked the wrong artist. Surely such a distinguished institution, where foreigners are taught the “great and mighty Russian language,” would kill me for such mockery of our treasured heritage.

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