Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More on the Mark than a Soviet Missile

Cabinet Magazine, Brooklyn's very own art/essay/culture behemoth, has just released "Ilf and Petrov's American Road Trip," an extended photo essay first published in the thirties in the Soviet equivalent of LIFE, OGONYOK.
Cheaply priced ($18) and with the formal quality and design of a coffee table book, it is a welcome addition to my frenzied library.Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov were collaborating novelists and photo-journalists for a decade or so, and this book documents their trip across America and their zany, often ironic, cultural remarks on life here. They seem to subscribe generally to the Soviet party-line, yet these intrepid voyagers never display chauvinism or ideologically rigid notions of society, whether American or Russian. Their observations radiate with high and low class commentaries, ecstatic flourishes about the landscape (they love deserts and canyons), and swipes at crass Western (as in 'hemisphere' as well as the
West Coast of this country) commercialism. They are always stimulating and allow a native's eyeballs to see this country anew. Order it now at:Cabinet Magazine. It's an international treasure.

j curley