Soviet Emigrae Artists: Life and Work in the USSR and the United States

By Marilyn Rueschemeyer; Igor Golomshtok et al. | Go to book overview

respect and support of that part of Soviet society it would not be wrong to call its better part. What is most important is that it represents a huge potential audience for him, an audience that keenly and disinterestedly responds to the nonconformist aspect of his works. The half-empty halls of the ubiquitously publicized official exhibits, and the rooms packed full to bursting at any unofficial exhibition, are perhaps the clearest indicator of the moral status of the unofficial artist in the USSR, that "privilege" for which almost any of his materially prospering colleagues will envy him.

This system of art is the only system Soviet artists know, whether they work officially or unofficially. They lack the opportunity to understand the totally different internal structure of Western artistic life, how it functions, its professional relations, its values and its assessments. For the artist, therefore, emigration from the USSR must inevitably be a leap from illusion to reality, as well as from the realm of necessity to the realm of freedom.

Translated by Michel Vale


Notes
1.
K. Malevich, O novykh sistemakh v iskusstve [ On New Systems in Art] (Vitebsk, 1919), as quoted in Troels Andersen, ed., Essays on Art, Vol. 1 ( London, 1969), p. 94.
2.
S. Lissitzky-Küpper, El Lissitzky: Life, Letters, Texts ( London, 1968), p. 327.
3.
Marc Chagall, My Life ( London, 1965), p. 135.
4.
"Sud 'by sovetskoi intelligentsii," Sovetskii rabochii [Soviet Worker], 1925, p. 27.
5.
Leon Trotsky, Literature and Revolution, pp. 145-49.
6.
Sheila Fitzpatrick. The Commissariat of Enlightenment. Soviet Organization of Education and the Arts under Lunacharsky ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970), p. 236.
7.
At this stage the political directorate of the Red Army played a very important role. It had huge, practically uncontrollable means for propaganda and agitation; the Soviet generals of that time were the principal patrons of the growing forces of total realism.
8.
According to figures for 1969 the Academy had 31 active members, 69 corresponding members, and 20 honorary (foreign) members. If there was any change in its composition over the years, it was only an increase in numbers.
9.
P. Smith, "Soviet Art Reconsidered," Art Monthly, London, October 1981, p. 7.

-58-

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Soviet Emigrae Artists: Life and Work in the USSR and the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Illustrations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction: Emigrating From the Soviet Union 1
  • Notes 13
  • The History and Organization Of Artistic Life in the Soviet Union 16
  • Notes 58
  • Soviet Emigré Artists in The American Art World 60
  • Notes 117
  • The Artistic Development Of Soviet Emigré Artists in New York 121
  • Notes 154
  • Afterword 156
  • Note 161
  • Selected Bibliography 162
  • Index 165
  • About the Authors 169
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