Unofficial Art In The Soviet Union by Igor Mead and Paul Sjeklocha


82567623ba6fdf3.jpg Author Igor Mead and Paul Sjeklocha
Isbn 978-0520011816
File size 27.7 MB
Year 1967
Pages 31
Language English
File format PDF
Category art



 

Unofficial Art in the Soviet Union Ir UNOFFICIAL ART IN THE SOVIET UNION by Paul JjeklocJia mid Igor Mead UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA PRESS BERKELEY AND LOS ANGELES Kharitonov, Man With 1967 Light (1962). Oil on canvas, 12 x 17". University of California Press Berkeley and Los Angeles, California Cambridge University Press London, England Copyright © 1967, by The Regents of the University of California Library of Congress Catalog Card Number : 67-28461 Printed in the United States of America 1432776 There w no force on earth which could say to "You must take this and not another art: direction." Plekhanov and Documentation Transliteration THE venience employed here transliteration system is designed for the con- of non-Russian readers. Hence, the mate the Russian sounds without aim was to approxi- diacritical marks, superscripts, or apostrophes. The following transliteration table applies except for certain names such as Alexander or Moscow which are more recognizable in the traditional variation. Names of foreign origin such as Ehrenburg or Johansen are rendered in the version of the country of origin. a a K k x kh 6 b n 1 u ts B V M m 4 ch r g H n III sh a d O m shch e e n b [omit] e yo P r bi »c zh c s b y [omit] 3 z T t 3 e H i y u K) yu H ya H i P 4> f The works illustrated in this volume come mainly from three sources. The first segment of the book (Chapters I and H), showing the development of official sources. Dimensions, Soviet medium art, uses reproductions from official used, and the year when the work was painted, were not always given, and hence are not included in the The text. artists. come in part from homes and studios of the illustrations in the following chapters photographs taken by the authors in the Descriptions here, too, are sketchy. However, works in the possession of the authors and various collectors are fully documented, and credit lines appear in the picture legends. Unfortunately, cer- tain photographs taken under make VI difficult conditions in the Soviet Union the works appear slightly out of square. Acknowledgments book owes a debt of gratitude to many people. It could not ha\e been undertaken or completed without the encouragement, ad\ice, and helpful criticism of so many, only a few of whom can be mentioned by name. First and foremost we would like to express our thanks to Jack Masey and Nick Moravsky, chiefs This of the cultural mission and capacity we staffed. Their leadership, for organization made persistence, the American Graphic Arts Exhibition an unprecedented success in the East-West cultural exchange. The exchange itself has already proved to be an im- portant step toward improvement between East and West. of dialogue and understanding has been our good fortune to study under Henry Borzo, Ray Nash, Louis Nemzer, and Gleb Struve, who kindled our interest in Soviet art and politics. We are grateful to Czesfaw Miiosz, It Helen Vranich, Stan \^ranich, Gerald Ackerman, William McFall Jones, and Joanne Morrison for reading the book in manuscript and offering informed and illuminating comment. The bumpy road from manuscript to book was smoothed by Robin White and Dimitri von Mohrenschildt. The manuscript gradually assumed its final form through the devoted editing and advice of Susan Sears. Ernest Callenbach of the University of California Press gave generously of his time and assisted us in many phases of the operation. The impeccable editorial pen of Max Knight of the Editorial Department of the University of California Press was in\aluable. Without the good will and material aid on the part of some individual owners, collectors, and galleries many illustrations could not have been included. Nancy Battalio, Mary Hird, and Evelyn Alley patiently and accurately performed the typing chores. The authors in this take full responsibility for the views expressed book. Berkeley, California Paul Sjeklocha Igor Mead vu Contents INTRODUCTION CHAPTER I. XI BACKGROUND ON SOVIET ART The Icon 4 Western Influence 8 Renewal of Secular Art 13 Realism 15 The Wanderers 17 Painters 19 Proletkult 20 The A\'ant-Garde 21 Marxism 24 Lenin 26 Socialist Realism CHAPTER II. OFFICIAL ORGANIZATION OF ART CHAPTER III. LIBERALIZATION OF THE ARTS IN THE KHRUSHCHEV ERA IV. 11 Beginning of Genre-Painting The World of Art CHAPTER 1 THE MANEGE AFFAIR 29 37 60 85 Contents CHAPTER CHAPTER V. VI. THE FRAMEWORK OF UNOFFICIAL ART 103 THE ARTISTS 118 The Borderline Artists Vasily Yefimov 123 Igor Yershov 126 Anatoly Kaplan 129 Anatoly Brusilov 135 Oskar Rabin 138 Ilya The Glazunov 144 UnoflBcial Artists 147 Yevgeny Kropivnitsky 147 Anatoly Zveryov 150 Dmitry Plavinsky 154 Constructive Influence 156 Pop Art 158 Two Followers 159 The Hermitage Affair Social Outcasts CHAPTER VH. 120 163 165 Vladimir Yakovlev 171 Alexander Kharitonov 181 Vasily Sitnikov 185 CONCLUSION 191 BIBLIOGRAPHY 205 Introduction DURING the past twenty years much has been written on Soviet Russia. Yet, a significant aspect of postwar Russia has nored: the "unofficial art" mo\ ement — the adhere to the official tenets of socialist do not belong to the Artists Union. We had been ig- which does not whose followers art school realism and the rare experience of meeting many representatives of mo\ement, which embraces an increasingly important segment community. We were gi\en the opportunity to staff the American Graphic Arts Exhibit, a collection of prints and this of the So\"iet creatixe related works, which toured the So\iet Union in 1963-64 under the auspices of the East- West Cultural Exchange Agreement. Moscow, Leningrad, Yerevan, Alma-Ata, and some on our cities We not \ isited officially list. More than ited the 1.5 percent American exhibit portimit}-, [ 1,602,000 in ) of the Soviet population \is- 105 showing days. We enjoyed the op- extended to few Western obser\ers to date, of meeting hundreds of "unofficial" artists, collectors, and critics. We vited to their homes, studios, families, and social gatherings. were in- We were often given samples of their works, photographed some, and pur- chased others. As became we grew clear that the\- abroad; they felt that to know a number were anxious to of unofficial artists, it ha\e their work known acceptance abroad would prove an incentive to recognition at home. Their reasoning was sound. International acclaim for the poets Yevtushenko, Voznessensky, and Okudzha\a, for example, secured the respectful attention of the government at home. This, combined with the affection of the Russian people for these young poets, had XI Introduction them to work, more or less, as they pleased. The unofficial artists hope to gain recognition in the same manner. The Soviet government listens to foreign opinion of Soviet arts and is sensitive to disparagement which implies that remnants of the made possible for it Stalin era still exist. Although artistic freedom in the U.S.S.R. does not encompass the wide range of expression, political and that we artistic, are accustomed to in the West, the Soviet situation has mark- edly improved since the days of Stalin. Yet, the memory of Stalin lingers despite the reorganization of the secret police, which with the rise of Khrushche\', curtailed their activities considerably. we yakin case, With the exception of the never heard about any current State Security) involvement with the creatixe those artists Hermitage-Shem- KGB Committee ( for community, including we met during our stay in Russia. We did not know we were under security surveillance but, in whether, as Westerners, any case, our meetings with the members of the unofficial were unhampered and without incident. However, that the artists and Stalinism themsehes could not — which were often taken comprehensive view of the conditions under which unofficial Soviet art. we met some artists efforts to For instance, and the physical roundings where the works were photographed often desired. Meetings in we, of course, honored. Sometimes these precautions necessarily limited our collect a world easily forget the strictures of so elaborate precautionary steps arranging meetings art was obvious it were arranged on the spur of the photographs were taken with natural or ceiling sur- much to be moment and Howe\er, we left light. always tried to obtain original works, properly signed and dated. Many of the biographical sketches in this the artist wished anonymity, no name is stated. book are itably then, some and if We did not generally take notes, in deference to the prevailing fear which the U.S.S.R. of the written brief, still remains in word found by the wrong person. Ine\became general impressions by the time particulars we were able to set them down on paper. However, the quoted comments and discussions are rendered as literal as remembered. Some artists are are the persons discussed in greater biographical detail. These who have been in the news, and who were criticized Introduction at home or exhibited abroad with gorized as belonging in the official official sanction; they could be cate- the disclosure of an identit) might pro\e a difficulty omitted it e\ we we ha\e or semiofficial groups. W^here felt that en in instances where the artist had permitted use of his name. Although the with is acti\ ity of the unofficial artists socialist realism, known well it is not and occasionally to does not conform The work of the unofficial artists sanctioned by the authorities, as in illegal. the officially appro\ed exhibit of Ilya Glazuno\", not a Artists Union. Unofficial sanction by officialdom was, could determine, quite widespread. The unofficial no law. although indi\ idual introspective upon as somewhat less member artistic of the as far as artists are expression we breaking is looked than patriotic. A case in Daniel dom point: Readers will remember, perhaps, the Sinyavskywhich seemed to belie the news of greater artistic freeRussia. However, these writers were breaking Soviet law by trial in printing abroad \\ithout permission and which by the nature of their ma- and "anti-Soviet." Their had gi\en "comfort to the enemy" (the Western propagandists) and the secret police had been trying to ferret out their identity for years. Too, illegal manuscript-writing and its distribution at home and abroad had become a thri\ing enterprise, an obvious rebuke to the Communist system. The trial was staged on terial, a court labeled "slanderous" clandestine activity abroad the e\e of the Twenty-third Party Congress, obviously as a warning to those still engaged The work in illegal activities. of the unofficial artists, on the other hand, nonpolitical. Indeed, its is generally lack of concern with the furtherance of the gravest error in the eyes of the Soviet government. Part\- line is its Howe\er, unofficial art is not interested in the "Part>' lines" of the opposition either. Although Western abstract art it has attempted to copy the styles of on occasion, those "political." Therefore, the So\iet styles could hardly go\"ernment limits be termed itself to official disappro\"al in critical articles or speeches; to our knowledge, painters ha\e not been imprisoned Certainly in recent years. we would haxe little to present here if it were not for the unofficial artists' eagerness for broader recognition. Collectors Introduction were helpful. Dealers were even more helpful, naturally, since we bought many works from them. But even the unofficial collectors and dealers were informed mainly about the developments which were in their It is immediate vicinity. Their knowledge ended with their contacts. quite possible, although unofficial art we think unlikely, that the best of the it movement remains undiscovered and have a true picture of contemporary Russian are allowed to discover it. And it is differing artistic persuasions that that we shall art until Soviet critics to the unofficial artists of we owe not many our greatest debt for the glimpse into their world. The few Western observers of the Soviet art scene to overlook the existence of unofficial art and to have tended minimize its role. This must be due in great measure to the inaccessibility of the artists, cannot be met through the usual official who, having no channels. The official status, home with visiting observer returns a reconfirmed im- pression of the singleness of the Soviet artists' imagery, reiterating the official line that Soviet art expresses only one viewpoint, one outlook, one with one purpose reality, in mind: to assist the cause of the prole- tarian revolution. But there are 220 million personal and certainly more than one outlook. official —outlook dividuality is is realities in the Soviet true that only one It is Union — the allowed to exist without interference and that in- discouraged and continues to be suppressed by various means. Consequently, what "deviationist" art quality, contrasted with that of exists is Europe and the United however, does not diminish the importance of this of a modest States. This, continuing devel- opment in the cultural history of So\iet Russia. The difficulties we encountered in the attempt to make this study were compounded from its beginning by the scarcity and often nonexistence of up-to-date material on the subject. our knowledge, comprehensively discussed itative it. No publications, to Camilla Gray's author- work The Great Experiment covers only the period from 1863 No Soviet or other literature was available comprehensively to 1922. treating the post-1922 period; there were no modern art galleries or public exhibits of unofficial or modern art to visit in were refused access modern masterworks xiv to private collections of the U.S.S.R.; we in Introduction various museums. (This, official b\' the \va\', is "discouragement" of unofficial an example of the mode of art. ) We do refer to the more generally kno\\"n dexelopments of the twenties and thirties and ac- knowledge the important contributions man, Kropixnitsky, and we At times this time, certain right. of Filono\ , Tyshler, Falk, Alt- others. felt that perhaps the attempt to treat the subject at with the limitations imposed, was premature. However, a amount of the unofficial art is artistically important in its own And we felt e\"en more strongly that to ignore the existence of phenomenon in the So\ iet Union would be unfortimate, this artistic for the works of the unofficial artists tell us hfe which the Apollonian character of much about current Soviet official So\"iet art has sadly failed to do. We can see little today of the realities of Soviet life facade of the political-poster standard of will turn further difficult to predict. It seems eralized, artists will enjo\- Throughout the some room Whether unofficial art inward toward subjective expression or outward deal with social issues (perhaps in the own art. through the likely, manner of Western pop however, that as Soviet more freedom in art ) to is life is lib- every direction. years, the art of the unofficial artists has found and express its ( Chapter Perhaps that is where in the interstices of official reality to exist realit)' as vi\idly and nai\ely VI ), seeing no more than that the real \alue of this art sonal realities to the aesthetic \ lies which the as the flower of reality — in can offer. Yakovlev the depiction of the genuine per- artist is confined. It is upon this basis that alue of these works should be judged. XV Chapter 1 Background on Soviet Art purpose THE background which of this chapter art of the Soviet The is to consider briefl\- the historical set the stage for "sociahst reahsm." the Union. definition of socialist realism First So\iet ^^'riters was set forth succinctly at the Congress in August, 1934. It was defined truthful, historically concrete representation of reality in tionar\" toiling tional development," aiming masses official at the "ideological in the spirit of socialism.'"' language of the So\iet utilitarian: its dut>" was to state, this its as "a re\ olu- education of the Translated into the func- meant that art educate and enlighten; was to its realit}" become was no longer to be the pri\ ate \ision of the artist but the depiction of proletarian \ictor\-. In the histor)- of artist for difficulties. There is attempts to control and those artists who are reluctant to to paint abilities; make use of the met with Conformit\" attracts and ert. genius slips through the net. E\"en are in moral agreement with the ends to be achiexed hand over is open or co\ dissent, holds the second-rate what art, the furtherance of the social good ha\ e inevitably their right of aesthetic decision. being told Jww to paint, as Being told Harold Rosenberg has and ideological utility" in pointed out.- The the So\"iet Union has produced a counter-art. which we ha\e termed "irreconcilabilib.- of art "unofficial art." Artists ha\e al\\ays had the church or the state. The tlieir troubles with officialdom, be artists' realit\- it of often does not please, nor enlighten or instruct, at least not in the sense which implies a passi\e ^ - See Pcrvy vsesoyuzny syezd sovetskikh pisatclei (Moscow. 1934 K p. 716. Harold Rosenberg. The Tradition of the Sew (Sew York. 1960), p. 47. Background on Soviet Art beholder dexoutly awaiting cultural uplift cialdom. The power of art to engage its — an uplift beloved of offi- viewers in a reality which cannot easily be defined and therefore not easily be bent to authoritarian purpose has it been a source of vexation to those serve a didactic purpose. Socialist realism, as in the Soviet Union, of politics. The is artist, it is who would have practiced today an aesthetic theory begotten by the necessities member as a of the proletariat, is given to un- derstand that he must focus his reality on the Marxist-Leninist future. There has been dissent, as we have mentioned, but been a greater compliance with the would expect from the art state's dictates than perhaps one community, particularly if the romantic nineteenth-century image of the Russian tumbled from one schism to another there has also one cherishes who seemingly with exotic aplomb or of the re- former with a mystical master plan. Such cliches have served to mask the fact that art in Russia has, for most of — first to the ecclesiastical and racy, artist, in the even in state, its history, been in then to the patronage of the aristoc- twentieth century to the secular state. The Russian times of relative creati\e freedom, has been prone to explaining or defending his work in terms of its meaning to his land. Early in Russian history, fear of the corruptions of the world gave a xenophobic character Social or philosophical tests some "good" is home- Western to Russian art. have been applied time; the notion that art ought to serve trate bondage some ulterior an ancient one. Whether capture the essence of things, leading men to art since Plato's art purpose or illus- was considered to to appreciate the truly was thought to be the recording of the more mundane appearance of things, it was judged by standards outside real, or whether its role itself. The adoption of the icon as a standard form of religious art within the Orthodox Church was fovmded on the belief that "the true image reveals the essence of the model, material objects could be the seat of the divine object,"'^ and that the institution of Christ himself could be represented through imagery. The concept of the ruler as See Milton V. Anastos, "The Ethical Theory of Images Formulated !)> the Dumbarton Oaks Papers (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1954), No. 8. ' Iconoclasts in 7.54 and 815" in

Author Igor Mead and Paul Sjeklocha Isbn 978-0520011816 File size 27.7 MB Year 1967 Pages 31 Language English File format PDF Category Art Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare University of California Press. Used – Good. 1967 Hardcover illus. (part col.), ports. . xv, 213 p. Bibliography: p. 205-213. Shows some signs of wear, and may have some markings on the inside. 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!     Download (27.7 MB) Russian and Soviet Painting Ukraine (Modern World Nations) Alternative Projections: Experimental Film in Los Angeles, 1945-1980 Historical Dictionary of Rococo Art Angels in Art (1898 ) Load more posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *