In the 1960s and 1970s, an American professor of Soviet economics forayed on his own in the Soviet Union, bought the work of underground "unofficial" artists, and brought it out himself or arranged to have it illegally shipped to the United States. Norton Dodge visited the apartments of unofficial artists in at least a dozen geographically scattered cities. By 1977, he had a thousand works of art. His ultimate window of interest involved the years from 1956 to 1986, and through his established contacts he eventually acquired another eight thousand works--by far the largest collection of its kind.
John McPhee investigates Dodge's clandestine activities in the service of dissident Soviet art, his motives for his work, and the fates of several of the artists whose lives he touched. The Ransom of Russian Art is a suspenseful, chilling, and fascinating report on a covert operation like no other. It offers unprecedented insight into Soviet culture at the brink of the Union's collapse.
Red Cavalry analyzes the connection between aesthetic inquiry and political commitment in Soviet Russia in the 1920s and 30s and explains some of the key moments in this relationship. Through a remarkable collection of texts by specialists like Evgeny Dovrenko, Cristina Lodder, Pascal Huyn, Richard Stites, Andrei Smirnov, Vitali Shentalinski et. al., along with documentary material, it illustrates the strategies adopted by the Soviet state to impose its ideologies using a new language, mythology, symbols, rites and heroes, and investigates the contribution made by writers, filmmakers, musicians, artists and playwrights (whom Stalin himself described as the "engineers of the soul" by examining the active participation of some in the Bolshevik propaganda, the isolation of others, and the despair felt by many.
One hundred years after the Russian Revolution, this comprehensive survey explores all aspects of its groundbreaking art
One hundred years after the Russian Revolution, Revolution: Russian Art, 1917-1932 explores one of the most momentous periods in modern world history through its groundbreaking art. The October Revolution of 1917 ended centuries of Tsarist rule and left artists such as Malevich, Tatlin, Popova and Rodchenko urgently debating what form a new "people's art" would take.Painting and sculpture were redefined by Kandinsky's boldly innovative compositions, Malevich's dynamic abstractions and the Constructivists' attempts to transform art into technical engineering. Photography, architecture, film and graphic design also experienced revolutionary changes. These debates were definitively settled in 1932, when Stalin began to suppress the avant-garde in favor of Socialist Realism--collective in production, public in manifestation and Communist in ideology. Based around a remarkable exhibition shown in Leningrad's State Russian Museum in 1932--which was to be the swansong of avant-garde art in Russia--this volume explores that revolutionary 15-year period between 1917 and 1932 when possibilities seemed limitless and Russian art flourished across every medium. Published to accompany a major exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, London (the first to attempt to survey the entire artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia), Revolution explores the painting, sculpture, photography, film, poster art and product design of the years after the Russian Revolution. Including contributions from some of the most prominent scholars in the field (John Milner, Natalia Murray, Nick Murray, Masha Chlenova, Ian Christie, John E. Bowlt, Nicoletta Misler, Zelfira Tregulova, Faina Balakhovskaya, Evgenia Petrova and Christina Lodder), Revolution is a timely and authoritative exploration of both the idealistic aspirations and the harsh realities of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath.
From the first Modernist exhibitions in the late 1890s to the Soviet rupture with the West in the mid-1930s, Russian artists and writers came into wide contact with modern European art and ideas. Introducing a wealth of little-known material set in an illuminating interpretive context, this sourcebook presents Russian and Soviet views of Western art during this critical period of cultural transformation. The writings document complex responses to these works and ideas before the Russians lost contact with them almost entirely. Many of these writings have been unavailable to foreign readers and, until recently, were not widely known even to Russian scholars. Both an important reference and a valuable resource for classrooms, the book includes an introductory essay and shorter introductions to the individual sections.
Danzig Baldaev's father was an academic, an ethnologist who found himself imprisoned under Soviet rule as an enemy of the people. In fact much of Baldaev's family moved through the Soviet prison system, while he became a guard. At his father's suggestion, Danzig used his access to document and study the tattoos that were pervasive among the truly criminal portion of the prison population, the vory v zakonye, or legitimate thieves, a semi-professional class who kept their own brutal laws. During his 30 years supervising inmates in St. Petersburg's notorious Kresty Prison, Baldaev recorded more than 3,000 of their tattoos and parsed their meanings, in the drawings and text that made the first volume of the Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopedia a bestseller. This essential second volume, which collects all-new, previously unseen photographs and drawings, goes to the extremes of his incredible collection. Sergei Vasiliev's photographs authenticate the images, Baldaev's drawings make sense of them and through them both we glimpse an extraordinary world where the criminal's position, history and even sexual preference are displayed indelibly on his body.
The development of Soviet realist painting over fifty years through a selection of works from Russia's leading museums. Socialist realism remains an exceptional phenomenon in twentieth-century art. By affirming the value of content over form and restoring the central role of traditional practices, socialist realism was the declared opponent of the modern movement. In fact, it represented the only completely alternative artistic system. Created by the great Russian artists (Deineka, Malevich, Adlivankin, Laktionov, Plastov, Brodsky, Korzhev), the works present multiple themes and approaches to art, spanning from the last phases of the civil war to the beginnings of the Brezhnev era, stopping at the early 1970s when trends in Soviet art took on varied and inconsistent directions, causing the socialist-realist trend to fade. A non-monolithic view emerges, in which the movement does not originate exclusively as the product of totalitarian control and political pressures but as an evolving organism that reflected internal issues and echoed the great historic events of the twentieth century.
This large-format book of Soviet propaganda posters allows the reader to remove individual posters and is at once a revealing historical document and a sublime example of graphic art at its best. Dating from 1917 to the end of the Cold War, the posters in this book feature the work of groundbreaking Russian artists such as El Lissitzky and Alexander Rodchenko, alongside extraordinary works by their contemporaries. Presented in full color, printed on heavy paper, and in a large-format, the posters gathered here represent the pinnacle of Russian avant-garde design from the 20th century. They range in theme from the dangers of alcohol abuse and the creeping Nazi menace, to illustrations of utopian harmony and the Soviet industrial machine. A special feature of this book allows for the removal of the posters, which have been designed to fit standard frame sizes. A brief introduction offers a chronological overview of the period that produced such eloquent art, which has long been a major source of inspiration to artists and designers.
In What Does It Mean to Be Post-Soviet? Madina Tlostanova traces how contemporary post-Soviet art mediates this human condition. Observing how the concept of the happy future--which was at the core of the project of Soviet modernity--has lapsed from the post-Soviet imagination, Tlostanova shows how the possible way out of such a sense of futurelessness lies in the engagement with activist art. She interviews artists, art collectives, and writers such as Estonian artist Liina Siib, Uzbek artist Vyacheslav Akhunov, and Azerbaijani writer Afanassy Mamedov who frame the post-Soviet condition through the experience and expression of community, space, temporality, gender, and negotiating the demands of the state and the market. In foregrounding the unfolding aesthesis and activism in the post-Soviet space, Tlostanova emphasizes the important role that decolonial art plays in providing the foundation upon which to build new modes of thought and a decolonial future.