Thu 19 April 2012 – 7.30pm
Lecture/Talk, Pushkin House, London
Friends and Foes of Artistic Change: Destalinisation in the Soviet Art World in the 1950s and 1960s
by Susan E. Reid
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Friends and Foes of Artistic Change: Destalinization in the Soviet Art World, 1950s-60s*
To the last days of the Soviet Union, conservative aestheticians and art functionaries vigorously resisted any attempt to revise the conception of Socialist Realism or to sanction an ecumenical concept of what they disparagingly called “realism as a rubber sack.” Yet already by 1963 the Soviet art establishment was split into conservative or hard line and reformist, liberalizing or modernizing camps committed to a new, “contemporary style” of realism. A more radical fringe had also emerged; condemned at the notorious Manege Affair at the end of 1962, it formed the new margin of permitted Soviet art, coming to be known (in the West) as the nonconformist or underground art world.
This talk will focus on the challenges to Stalinist Socialist Realism that came from within the art establishment in the years after Khrushchev’s secret speech of 1956.
Susan E. Reid, Professor of Russian Visual Culture in the Department of Russian and Slavonic Studies, University of Sheffield
Stephen F. Cohen, “The Friends and Foes of Change; Reformism and Conservatism in the Soviet Union,” in The Soviet Union Since Stalin, ed. Cohen, Alexander Rabinowitch and Robert Sharlet (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980), 11-31.
Tickets: £7, conc. £5 (Friends of Pushkin House, students and OAPs)