This new book examines the ideological engagement of artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, and Vera Ermolaeva with the political and social agenda of the Bolsheviks. Focusing on the relationship between power brokers and cultural institutions under conditions of state patronage, author Pamela Kachurin argues that control was not imposed from above upon a victimized artistic community. Drawing on extensive archival research, she shows that Russian modernists used their positions within the expanding Soviet arts bureaucracy to build up networks of like-minded colleagues. Their commitment to one another and to the task of creating a socially transformative visual language for the new Soviet context allowed them to produce some of their most famous works of art. But it also contributed to the “Sovietization” of the art world that eventually sealed their fate.
Book available on Amazon.
Making Modernism Soviet: The Russian Avant-Garde in the Early Soviet Era, 1918-1928, Pamela J. Kachurin, Northwestern University Press, October 2013.