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Machine art and architecture at The Little Review exhibitions
Barnaby Haran

1 Constructivism in the USA: machine art and architecture at The Little Review exhibitions For Americans, the picture of Russian art in the first decade and a half following the Revolution was chequered, and attempts to disseminate Soviet artworks in books, articles, and exhibitions were sporadic and uneven. Too often a prerevolutionary rationale determined the discourse on post-revolutionary work by situating the works within the amorphous and increasingly institutionalized figure of modern art. Therefore the treatment of Constructivism, the most far

in Watching the red dawn
The American avant-garde and the Soviet Union

Watching the red dawn charts the responses of the American avant-garde to the cultural works of its Soviet counterpart in period from the formation of the USSR in 1922 to recognition of this new communist nation by USA in 1933. In this period American artists, writers, and designers looked at the emerging Soviet Union with fascination, as they observed this epochal experiment in communism develop out of the chaos of the Russian Revolution and Civil War. They organised exhibitions of Soviet art and culture, reported on visits to Russia in books and articles, and produced works that were inspired by post-revolutionary culture. One of the most important innovations of Soviet culture was to collapse boundaries between disciplines, as part of a general aim to bring art into everyday life. Correspondingly, this book takes an interdisciplinary approach by looking at American avant-garde responses to Soviet culture across several media, including architecture, theatre, film, photography, and literature. As such, Watching the red dawn considers the putative area of ‘American Constructivism’ by examining the interconnected ways in which Constructivist works were influential upon American practices.

The New Playwrights Theatre and American radical Constructivism
Barnaby Haran

2 The mass and the machine: The New Playwrights Theatre and American radical Constructivism A New Masses Theatre For all that the American avant-garde followed cultural developments in the Soviet Union, there was little attempt to reproduce Constructivism in the visual arts as a politically revolutionary cultural strategy. However, a putative ‘American Constructivism’ did emerge in the theatre in the late 1920s, and it marked the clear and conscious reception and adaptation of Russian postrevolutionary theatrical innovations by directors, playwrights, set

in Watching the red dawn
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The red Atlantic
Barnaby Haran

Taylor’s organization of labour: ‘the methods of Taylorism may be applied to the work of the actor in the same way as they are to any form of work with the aim of maximum productivity’.3 Meyerhold’s theatre was perhaps the most high-profile manifestation of Constructivism. In the early 1920s, the experiments of the Constructivists aimed to bring the machine to the masses and thereby stimulate a new Soviet subject by reconfiguring culture, a process that involved breaking down the artwork into its constituent materials and beginning anew with unprecedented visual

in Watching the red dawn
Anna Dahlgren

influence customer behaviour.11 Many of the leading marketers in Sweden were educated in, and drew inspiration from, the United States, where new ideas about commercial production, business, marketing and consumer behaviour were evolving in the early twentieth century. As modern ideas on marketing spread there was simultaneously a paradigm shift in display aesthetics. The aesthetic impulses came from constructivism via the influential Bauhaus school in Modernism in the streets Germany and were also strongly coloured by functionalism. Consequently, Swedish window

in Travelling images
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Soviet montage and the American cinematic avant-garde
Barnaby Haran

3 Kino in America: Soviet montage and the American cinematic avant-garde Alongside the radical Constructivism of the New Playwrights Theatre, the American avant-garde’s most sympathetic engagement with Soviet revolutionary culture was in cinema. If the innovations of Vsevolod Meyerhold’s Constructivist theatre stimulated the NPT, then the development of cinematic montage by his protégé Sergei Eisenstein, alongside Lev Kuleshov, Dziga Vertov, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Alexander Dovzhenko, had an analogous impact upon American avant-garde cinema. The Soviet film

in Watching the red dawn
Tijana Vujošević

beyond the optical. Soviet design of the 168 Modernism and the making of the Soviet New Man 6.8  Inspection of metro cars, in How We Built the Metro. future would enter the realm of the supra-visual; articulating new forms of social life, it would articulate a new sensuality, engaging the haptic, visual-tactile sensorium. This, at least, was the vision of one of the pioneers of Soviet constructivism, Moisei Ginzburg, as elaborated in his treatise of 1934, Housing. Ginzburg criticized Western modernism because rather than doing away with ornament, it had merely

in Modernism and the making of the Soviet New Man

This book highlights sport as a key inspiration for an international range of modernist artists. With sport attracting large crowds, being written about in the press, filmed and broadcast, and with its top stars enjoying celebrity status, sport has claims to be the most pervasive cultural form of the early twentieth century.

Modernist artists recognised sport’s importance in their writings and production. This book examines a diverse set of paintings, photographic works, films, buildings, and writings from artists in France, Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union to establish the international appeal of the theme while acknowledging local and stylistic differences in its interpretation. From the fascination with the racing cyclist in paintings by Umberto Boccioni, Lyonel Feininger and Jean Metzinger, to the designs for stadiums in fascist Italy and the Soviet Union, the works examined are compelling both in visual and ideological terms.

Encompassing studies of many avant-garde movements, including Italian futurism, cubism, German expressionism, Le Corbusier’s architecture, Soviet constructivism, Italian rationalism and the Bauhaus, this book interrogates the ways in which sport and modernism interconnect.

Open Access (free)
Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

The aesthetics of problem-solving
Octavian Esanu

liberalism and certain circles within unofficial Soviet art, Stalinism was an expression of “holism” or “aestheticism,” a temptation to overcome the autonomy of art and treat life itself as artistic material, invoking the same principles of methodological totality. Such views, already popular in Moscow artistic circles after the death of Stalin, were then inherited by intellectuals and artists in the last decades of the USSR. It became common to marshal the various wings of the art of the Soviet left (constructivism, productivism) to explain the excesses and brutalities of

in The postsocialist contemporary