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The Mom Tapes (excerpt), by Ilene Segalove


[May Day Parade]

Boris Mikhailov (Ukrainian, born 1938)

1975, printed 1986
Gelatin silver print with applied color
50 x 60cm (19 11/16 x 23 5/8in.) Frame: 71.1 x 76.2 cm (28 x 30 in.)
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1994
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Boris Mihailov
  • Description

    In the 1970s Mikhailov revived the anachronistic technique of hand coloring, applying candy-bright hues to anonymous found photographs and to his own black-and-white snapshots of everyday life in the Soviet Union. This garishly colored photograph of a parade of workers, each sporting a red sash that proclaims him “Winner of the Competition,” puts forward a scathingly ironic view of the compulsory masquerade of official Soviet culture while also alluding to the regime’s insidious history of photographic falsification.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on the print, verso TE: "B. Mihailov// "Soz. Art" =1975r/1986" [in cyrillic].

  • Provenance

    Boris Mihailov

  • Notes

    Inscription transcribed by Sophia Geronimus, 8/94; The sashes worn by the men read: "The Winner of the Competition." This type of ribbon was worn by those who had exceeded the quotas established for factories and collective farms (see letter from J. Canning, The Jewish Museum, 8/8/95, loc. in object file).