Art and revolution March 11, 2017Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Useful BBC Free Thinking podcast/radio show on Russian Art and Revolution available online on foot of the recent exhibition at the Royal Academy. It’s clear that there was a remarkable flux initially but soon enough this was altered as the state began to shift towards much more traditional and conservative forms. And this wasn’t something that happened late in the day, it’s intriguing to me how relatively middle of the road Lenin’s view of art. Indeed the point is made that in some respects there was a bourgeois 19th century attitude that in some ways art had already arrived at a perfection that experimentalism was near enough akin to an insult against.
Constructivism, of course, was slightly different. But much of the energy and output of this went into photography and installations. Other modernist forms fared much less well. Another point made was that social realism at its best could be actually rather good. But then the problem was never the fact of social realism in itself, but rather the increasing lack of pluralism. And at root was a relationship between party and people that refused to accept the ability of the people to understand and appreciate experimentalism.
On a slight tangent experimentalism did continue in parts – for example science fiction illustration often tended to the abstract, and in a way that underlines just how elitist attitudes were towards art, that its functions were so disparate depending upon context. Of course not dissimilar dynamics were seen elsewhere.