In the Service of the State: Art and Politics in the Soviet Union

By Gregory Sporton.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

When the Bolsheviks seized power in 1917 they inspired a generation of young Russian artists. These artists were looking for practical ways to contribute to the new polity that would eventually become the Soviet Union, and to express the radical ideas of the revolution through their creative activities. The Soviets for their part placed great emphasis on culture, providing funding for many artists and developing many important cultural institutions. The dynamism of this outpouring of creativity waned as Stalin rose to power through the late 1920s, with attacks on formalism and individualism in the Arts restricting artistic activities and modes of expression. This essay is about the role of the arts during the period 1917-1932, and the consequences that arise when all art has of necessity a political character.

Keywords: Politics, Russia, Constructivism, Aesthetics

The International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 3, Issue 6, pp.27-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.704MB).

Dr. Gregory Sporton

Director, Visualisation Research Unit, Department of Art, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, UK

Gregory Sporton is Director of the Visualisation Research Unit in the Department of Art at the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design. Since 2004 he has been a frequent visitor to Russia, studying a range of aspects of Russian culture under the Soviets from ballet to architecture, education and the visual arts.


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