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A historical perspective
Yan Geng

Realism, socialist realism and China’s avant-garde: a historical perspective Yan Geng In January 1993 a large exhibition entitled ‘China’s New Art, Post-1989’, consisting of 150 works from some of the most important contemporary artists in mainland China, opened as the showcase of the Hong Kong Arts Festival. One of the chief curators of the exhibition, Chang Tsong-zung (Johnson Chang), was based in Hong Kong and played a key role in establishing the international image of contemporary Chinese art.1 Chang created the exhibition with the aim of elucidating the

in Art, Global Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library

The creation of Soviet culture in the 1920s and the 1930s was the most radical of modernist projects, both in aesthetic and in political terms. This book explores the architecture of this period as the nexus between aesthetics and politics. The invention of communist culture in the aftermath of the October Revolution was perhaps the most radical of modernist projects. The book demonstrates that the relationships between utopia and reality, idealism and pragmatism, between the will for progress and the will for tyranny, are complex and that they do not always play out in the same way. Case studies presented demonstrate the notion that Soviet architecture of the 1920s defined the New Man as primarily a worker. In contrast, during the 1930s the New Man was supposed to be an admirer of socialism in aesthetic terms, the total work of art created by the Communist Party. After an overview of the evolution of Soviet subjectivity, the book discusses transition from the productivist ethos to the representational ethos, which is epitomized in the public baths constructed around 1930 in Leningrad and Moscow. These structures were envisioned as both efficient machines for the production of cleanliness and microcosmic representations of the Soviet society. The book also presents a particular genre of socialist realism, the environmental expertise of obshchestvennitsy, or socially minded women. Finally, it explores the history of this immense structure, clad in expensive marble and illuminated by electrical lighting, altogether the embodiment of socialist modernity.

Yulia Karpova

in the official art journal Iskusstvo in November 1952, included very few images – only figurative painting and heroic sculptures. This was accompanied by a long narrative glorifying the triumph of socialist realism with an abundance of references to the great works of Lenin and Stalin. The images were only illustrations for the text. By contrast, in the October 1967 issue of Dekorativnoe Iskusstvo SSSR the text was reduced only to captions, making the images the primary carriers of the ideals of the Revolution. In other words, the images themselves represented the

in Comradely objects
Abstract only
Tijana Vujošević

constructed around 1930 in Leningrad and Moscow, discussed in the Chapter 4, “The world in the bathhouse, the bathhouse in the world.” These structures were envisioned as both efficient machines for the production of cleanliness and microcosmic representations of the Soviet society. Chapter 5, “Stalin and the housewife,” presents a particular genre of socialist realism – the environmental expertise of obshchestvennitsy, or socially minded women. These were housewives from provincial industrial towns who translated the aesthetic of socialist realist painting and official

in Modernism and the making of the Soviet New Man

Many people in the West can recognise an image of Mao Zedong (1894–1976) and know that he was an important Chinese leader, but few appreciate the breadth and depth of his political and cultural significance. Fewer still know what the Chinese Cultural Revolution (1966–76) was, or understand the extent of its influence on art in the West or in China today. This anthology, which is the first of its kind, contends that Maoism and the Chinese Cultural Revolution were dominant cultural and political forces in the second half of the twentieth century – and that they continue to exert influence, globally, right up to the present. In particular, the book claims that the Chinese Cultural Revolution deserves a more prominent place in twentieth-century art history. Exploring the dimensions of Mao’s cultural influence through case studies, and delineating the core of his aesthetic programme, in both the East and the West, constitute the heart of this project. While being rooted in the tradition of social art history and history, the essays, which have been written by an international community of scholars, foreground a distinctively multidisciplinary approach. Collectively they account for local, regional and national differences in the reception, adoption and dissemination of – or resistance to – Maoist aesthetics.

The New Playwrights Theatre and American radical Constructivism
Barnaby Haran

, were ‘within the realm of Realism’, as Brenda Murphy puts it, and sought to convey ‘a believable illusion that what is taking place on the stage is an objective representation of the audience’s shared reality’.13 Unlike the fervent Realism of radical playwrights such as Edward Sheldon, whose 1909 play The Nigger was concerned with racial issues and 1911 work The Boss covered political and emotional strife during a strike, the polemical thrust of the Provincetown Players was couched in subtle writing and the aesthetically ambitious dramaturgy of the ‘New Stagecraft

in Watching the red dawn
John Mundy and Glyn White

2003). In this chapter we examine some examples including comedy westerns, the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby Road series, and the more recent tendency, both in film and on television, to engage with genres associated with ‘realism’ such as news, current affairs and documentary in order to produce comedy. In these examples it becomes clear that comedy not only playfully spoofs conventions but also calls

in Laughing matters
The journey of the ‘painterly real’, 1987–2004

The book addresses late-Soviet and post-Soviet art in Armenia in the context of turbulent social, political and cultural transformations in the late 1980s, throughout the 1990s and in early 2000s through the aesthetic figure of the ‘painterly real’ and its conceptual transformations. It explores the emergence of ‘contemporary art’ in Armenia from within and in opposition to the practices, aesthetics and institutions of Socialist Realism and National Modernism. The book presents the argument that avant-garde art best captures the historical and social contradictions of the period of the so-called ‘transition,’ especially if one considers ‘transition’ from the perspective of the former Soviet republics that have been consistently marginalized in Russian- and East European-dominated post-Socialist studies. Throughout the two decades that encompass the chronological scope of this work, contemporary art has encapsulated the difficult dilemmas of autonomy and social participation, innovation and tradition, progressive political ethos and national identification, the problematic of communication with the world outside of Armenia’s borders, dreams of subjective freedom and the imperative to find an identity in the new circumstances after the collapse of the Soviet Union. This historical study outlines the politics (liberal democracy), aesthetics (autonomous art secured by the gesture of the individual artist), and ethics (ideals of absolute freedom and radical individualism) of contemporary art in Armenia. Through the historical investigation, a theory of post-Soviet art historiography is developed, one that is based on a dialectic of rupture and continuity in relation to the Soviet past. As the first English-language study on contemporary art in Armenia, the book is of prime interest for artists, scholars, curators and critics interested in post-Soviet art and culture and in global art historiography.

Hamo Thornycroft’s The Mower and Matthew Arnold’s ‘Thyrsis’
Jane Thomas

Archive, HMI). 36 W. Hamo Thornycroft, Lecture to the Sculpture Students of the Royal Academy, 1885, edited by David J. Getsy in ‘The Problem of Realism in Hamo Thornycroft’s 1885 Royal Academy Lecture’, The Volume of the Walpole Society, 69 (2007), 211–56 (p. 215). 37 Hamo Thornycroft’s Notebook on Sculpture, Henry Moore Archives, 16. 38 Wilde, ‘The Decay of Lying’, p. 43. 39 Museum of Words, p. 5. 40 John Fisher, ‘Entitling’, Critical Inquiry, 11 (1984), 286–98 (p. 288), cited by James A. W. Heffernan, ‘Ekphrasis and Representation’, New Literary History, 22

in Ekphrastic encounters