“Love in Times of Revolution”. -- This is the title of a very interesting and impressive exhibition at the “Kunstforum Wien”, running until the end of January. We went to see it this afternoon. It presents works of artist couples of the Russian avant-garde: Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov, Varvara Stepanova and Alexandr Rodchenko, Liubov Popova and Alexandr Vesnin, Olga Rosanova and Alexei Kruchenykh, as well as Valentina Kulagina and Gustav Klutsis. -- For a few years after the Russian Revolution, male and female artists were (almost) equal, not least because of progressive state-legislation (e.g. divorce, abortion, and homosexual relationships were allowed, and men and women were equal before the law). In the mentioned relationships, men and women influenced each other, and sometimes even did joint work. The couples were at the heart of the artistic explosion of the late 1910s and early 1920s. -- Alas, it all ended with the rise of Stalinism: even artists who actively worked on the Stalin-cult, like Klutsis, were killed. And Stalinism came with a rather traditional conception of the role of women. -- I couldn’t help thinking of this down-turn in relation to the recent events in Novosibirsk where an avant-garde production of Wagner’s *Tannhäuser* was cancelled and the artistic director, Boris Mezdrich, fired. This is the first time since the Soviet era that an artistic director of a state theatre was kicked out. Artists across Russia are no doubt seeing the writing on the wall.