Monument to the Third International

May 6 - July 29, 2011

Press Release
Selected Press


Monument to the Third International

May 6 - July 29, 2011

Originally conceived 1915-1920
Current model 1967
Enamel on wood, metal & plexiglass with electric motor
Height: 16 feet 5 inches / 500 cm
Base: 9 feet 10 inches / 300 cm (diameter)

Tony Shafrazi Gallery is delighted to present the definitive paradigm of Constructivism, Vladimir Tatlin’s Monument for the Third International. This important and historic model is exhibited here for the first time in the United States.

Known as the father of the Russian Constructivist movement, Tatlin began work on the Monument in 1915 and completed his scale model of the famous colossal structure in 1920. Often referred to as "Tatlin’s Tower," it was envisioned to function as the headquarters of the Communist International, and stand in the birthplace of the Russian Revolution—the city of Petrograd. It was to be made from industrial materials—iron, glass, and steel—and stand 1300 feet, more than 300 feet taller than the Eiffel Tower or the approximate height of The Empire State Building at a slant of 23.5 degrees to parallel the exact angle of the Earth’s axis. The ambitious engineering and architectural demands of the project, combined with political turmoil and steel shortages made it unrealistic for the massive structure to be realized.

Tatlin’s Tower was exhibited in Petrograd in November 1920 and then in Moscow later that December on the occasion of the Soviet Congress. In 1925, Tatlin built a smaller model of the tower—standing approximately 10 feet tall—that was exhibited at the World Exhibition of Industrial and Decorative Art in Paris. By 1932, all traces of these models had disappeared.

The model of Monument for the Third International in our exhibition is the first model to have been built after Tatlin’s death in 1953. Fourteen years later in 1967, Pontus Hulten, the Director of Moderna Museet in Stockholm, having obtained permission from Tatlin’s widow Aleksandra Korsakova, and consulting with a group of structural engineers led by Tatlin’s original collaborator T. M. Shapiro, oversaw the fabrication of this model which made its debut in the exhibition “Vladimir Tatlin” at the Moderna Museet in 1968. Later in 1969 the exhibition traveled to Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Technische Hochschule, Delft, and many other important museums (see full list below).

In 1979, this model was lent to the Centre Georges Pompidou to help inform the construction of a new tower for the exhibition "Paris-Moscow." The new Parisian model was also overseen by Pontus Hulten.

Tatlin’s Monument for the Third International is widely regarded as the defining symbol of Constructivist sculpture and architecture and remains one of the most celebrated icons of revolutionary art of the 20th century. It will be on view at Tony Shafrazi Gallery through July 29, 2011.


“Vladimir Tatlin,” Moderna Museet, Stockholm, June-September 1968

"Vladimir Tatlin," Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, September-October, 1969

“Vladimir Tatlin," Technische Hochschule, Delft, November-December, 1969

“Vladimir Tatlin, " Kunstverein, Munich, January-March, 1970

“Venice Biennale,"1970

“Modern Sculpture, The Object Age,” Yokohama Museum of Art, Yokohama, February-March 2001