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

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

the efforts of Soviet emigré artists to establish themselves in New York, their views on the role of art in society, their former and present relationships to colleagues, and their changing conceptions of themselves as artists, as related to the contrasts in the role and organization of art in the two societies.

We turn first to a discussion by Igor Golomshtok of the role of art in the Soviet Union, its historical development and present organization. Next, I trace the experiences of artists who leave that environment and attempt to establish their lives and careers anew in the United States. Finally, Janet Kennedy examines the creative development of Soviet emigré artists who have settled in New York.


Notes
1.
This approximate figure represents the number of artists considered truly professional by members of the art community in New York. Dodge and Hilton estimate that the number of emigré professional artists trying to support themselves through their art or working full-time as artists is two to three hundred. They estimate that about fifty artists are in Israel and thirty-five in Paris, and that others are scattered over Western Europe--in Vienna, Berlin, London, and other cultural centers. See Norton Dodge and Alison Hilton, "emigré Artists in the West (USA)," Second World Congress on Soviet and East European Studies, Garmisch, 1980.
2.
Iinterviewed twenty-five of the most prominent Soviet artists in New York and Boston, two owners of galleries specializing in Soviet art, one manager of a gallery specializing in Soviet art, one curator of Soviet art, three owners of galleries who had exhibited the work of a Soviet emigrant, three Soviet art historians, and a number of collectors of Soviet art. The interviews lasted from one to four hours and were conducted over a period of five years-- 1979-1984. In the summer of 1983 I accompanied Janet Kennedy on her visits to a number of emigré artists to explore the changes in their art since emigration. These talks were further supplemented by a two-week trip I made with students from the Rhode Island School of Design to Moscow and Leningrad. During our visit we met "official" as well as "unofficial" artists, spent time at the Union House of Artists in Moscow, the Academy of Arts in Leningrad, a special school for children especially gifted in art, and two art salons.
3.
Zvi Gitelman, "Soviet Immigrant Resettlement in the United States," Soviet Jewish Affairs, Vol. 12, No. 2, 1982, p. 3. Others maintain that the Armenian emigration is considerably higher.
4.
Yoel Florsheim, "Demographic Significance of Jewish Emigration from the USSR", Soviet Jewish Affairs, February 1980, Vol. 10, No. 1, p. 5.
5.
HIAS figures.
6.
Igor Birman, "Jewish Emigration from the USSR: Some Observations," Soviet Jewish Affairs, Vol. 9, No. 2, 1979, p. 54.

-13-

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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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