February 7, 2008


Out of the red: Modernist art that refused to conform was suppressed during the rise of the Soviet Union. Now it forms the climax of a selection from Russia's national archives (David Caute, 07 February 2008, New Statesman)

The mindset among the country's museum directors and senior curators - who in hard fact controlled which paintings to release to London - has swung full circle since the first major exhibition of Russian art at the Royal Academy in 1959. (The then secretary of the RA penned a private memorandum of dread at the prospect of the Hammer and Sickle flying outside Burlington House in Piccadilly.)

At that juncture, Lenin's notorious disparagement of modernist "isms" still prevailed. Surrealism, expressionism, constructivism, suprematism, abstractionism, cubism - all were damned under the umbrella term "formalism". Editors of Moscow's party-line art magazine Iskusstvo blasted London critics who "maliciously" complained about the non-appearance of Chagall, Malevich and Kandinsky at Burlington House.

Should have destroyed this junk instead of their own people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 7, 2008 12:00 AM
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