Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Mikhail Karasik: The USSR’s Tower of Babel

The USSR’s Tower of Babel, an exhibit of lithographs by Mikhail Karasik, is dedicated to the centenary of 1917—a year filled with world-changing events. 1917 saw the arrest of suffragists picketing the U.S. White House, and the historic Balfour Declaration. But, among these landmark events, the two Russian revolutions undoubtedly bore the greatest consequences.

Karasik selected the construction of the Palace of Soviets—the most grandiose building of the 1930s—as the symbol of victorious socialism. Over time, this giant construction in the center of Moscow, has become a myth that continues to attract the attention of historians, culturologists, and architects.

The exhibition consists of 22 works from two albums of lithographs: The Palace of Soviets. Design Competition (2006) and, The USSR’s Tower of Babel (2010). For Mikhail Karasik, The Palace of Soviets is more than an architectural project, it is a symbol of utopia, the symbol of a country dissolved. The artist worked on these albums for more than a decade.