THE GREAT UTOPIA, THE RUSSIAN AND SOVIET AVANT-GARDE, 1915-1932

Art Catalogues

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Natalia Adaskina, Vivian Endicott Barnett, Susan Compton, Catherine Cooke, Charlotte Douglas, Svetlana Dzhafarova, Hubertus Gassner, Evgenii Kovtun, Aleksandr Lavrentev, Irina Levedeva, Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky, Christina Lodder, Elena Rakitin, Vasilii Rakitin, Jane A. Sharp, Aleksandra Shatskikh, Anatolii Strifalev, Margarita Tupitsyn, Paul Wood. New York, 1992.
Hardcover, 748 pages,  733 color and b/w illustrations, 9.25 × 12.25 inches
Near fine, minimal wear to dustcover. slight corner bump on lower left.
 
In this volume, which accompanies the largest exhibition ever mounted at the Guggenheim Museum, twenty-one essays by eminent scholars from Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States explore the activity of the Russian and Soviet avant-garde in all its diversity and complexity. These essays trace the work of Malevich's Unovis (Affirmers of the New Art) collective in Vitebsk, which introduced Suprematism's all-encompassing geometries into the design of textiles, ceramics, and, indeed, whole environments; the postrevolutionary reform of art education and the creation of Moscow's Vkhutemas (Higher Artistic-Technical Workshops), where the formal and analytical principles of the avant-garde were the basis of instruction; the debates over a “proletarian art” and the transition to Constructivism, “production art,” and the “artist-constructor”; the organization of new artist-administered “museums of artistic culture”; the “third path” in non-objective art taken by Mikhail Larionov; the return to figuration in the mid-1920s by the young artists—and former students of the avant-garde—in Ost (the Society of Easel Painters); the debates among photographers, in the late 1920s and early 1930s, on the superiority of the fragmented or continuous image as a representation of the new socialist reality; book, porcelain, fabric, and stage design; and the evolution of a new architecture, from the experimental projects of Zhivskul‘ptarkh (the Synthesis of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture Commission) to the multistage competition, in 1931—32, for the Palace of Soviets, which “proved” the inapplicability of a Modernist architecture to the Bolshevik Party's aspirations.
 

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