The Avant-Garde Frontier: Russia Meets the West, 1910-1930

The Avant-Garde Frontier: Russia Meets the West, 1910-1930

The Avant-Garde Frontier: Russia Meets the West, 1910-1930

The Avant-Garde Frontier: Russia Meets the West, 1910-1930


In the midst of the turbulent social and political conditions of the early twentieth century, progressive artists in Russia explored aesthetic and formal directions that challenged traditional art and supported the new social order begun in 1917. Avant-garde artists worked in Russia within a singular political context, and they also shared important contacts and affinities with contemporaneous artists in the West. Artists plumbed technology as source and subject matter for art, explored new techniques and formal vocabularies, and investigated utilitarian and agit-prop applications of modern design. Contributors to this volume examine these developments in art, architecture, and design in relation to literature, philosophy, and politics. They explore in depth some of the complex associations between the avant-garde in Russia and in the West for an international perspective on the study of modern art during this period.


These essays represent the first large-scale attempt to analyze the affinities and contacts among members of the Russian avant-garde and their contemporaries in the West from 1910 to 1930. These associations account for a fascinating correspondence (and occasional collision) of historical imperative and artistic production. To date, much of the scholarship done on the Russian avant-garde has been in the important areas of translation and documentation, providing the essential groundwork necessary for more analytic and critical studies. Now scholars and critics are turning their attention to the rich traditions and innovations that were spawned by those affinities and contacts. Coming from a variety of backgrounds--architecture, art history, history, intellectual history, literature, political science-- scholars of the Russian vanguard have enriched their fields of study with a cultural ambience that has few parallels in the history of art. This book reflects this interdisciplinary rubric, and the contributors represent a wide variety of approaches to the material, including traditional, formal, and iconographical analysis; developmental and sociological analysis; and the recent critical analyses that are largely adapted from literary criticism and Marxist thought.

Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are by the individual authors. The transliteration from Russian is a modified version of the Library of Congress System.


As with all scholarly research, many individuals contributed their expertise, skill, and support to this endeavor. We thank the numerous . . .

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