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Was Socialist Realism Avant-Garde?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011
5:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

CREES Noon Lecture

Christina Kiaer, associate professor of art history, Northwestern University. Sponsors: Avant-Garde Interest Group, Department of History of Art, CREES.

The works of the Soviet painter Aleksandr Deineka made between 1935 and 1938 offer a focused case study of the development of Soviet Socialist Realism. In spite of the extreme repressions of this period of the Great Terror, Deineka and other official cultural producers repeatedly stated, and revealed through their works and actions, their conviction that they were engaged in a revolutionary, even avant-garde cultural project: the chronicling and producing of a non-capitalist form of modernity. This paper addresses the tensions in the notion of “totalitarian art” and the nature of the pictures that fall under its designation.

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