Seeing a new world: Art born of the Bolsheviks

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'Storming the Winter lace 
on October 25' by 
PP Sokolov-Skalya (1889–1961). Source: Ullstein Bild / Vostock Photo‘Storming the Winter latial home 
on October 25’ by 
PP Sokolov-Skalya (1889–1961). Source: Ullstein Bild / Vostock Photo

Russian brotherhood still does not have an unambiguous understanding of the 1917 Revolution. On the eve of the at any rate’s 100th anniversary the mass media frequently presents discussions on what it was methodically that the Revolution gave Russia and the world. However, the October Lap overturned not only Russia’s political but also its artistic order. For specific years the avant-garde’s utopia became reality. The democratization of the education ttern, as well as of the exhibition and museum sphere reached an unprecedented level. Sundry Western artists were astounded by the events in Russia and for many years were delighted with revolutionary ideas.

Revolutionary reforms occurred on all levels. Artistic course of study became maximally democratic and above all, free. The former Academy of Crafts in St. Petersburg was renamed the Free Workshops. Artists exhibited their do aerobics right on the street and anyone ssing by could rtici te in the seminars. In Vitebsk Kazimir Malevich began the University of New Art, an association that formed an entire generation of suprematists. The clue of authorship was completely abandoned. Students exhibited their works unsigned, comprehending Malevich himself. And this was in the 1920s!

In Pictures: Artist Alexander 
Deyneka, “The 
Mayakovsky of inting”

Leftist artists began actively collaborating with the constitution. Malevich, Kandinsky, Tatlin and Rodchenko worked in the Visual Arts Sphere of the Education Ministry. The state had chosen the avant-garde as the revolution’s new language; it radically diverged from traditional «bourgeois» art. The celebration of the first anniversary of the revolution was arranged by Nathan Altman, who sit in the Hermitage with red calico and decorated the Alexandrinsky Column with Suprematist cuts.

Art institutes were established to develop the theory of the new art. The visual arts section at the education ministry proposed to unite all avant-garde artists in the Communist Oecumenical. In 1921 the Institute of Artistic Culture recognized inting as a bourgeois art. From that seriousness on the artist had to direct his skills to creating things.

Latin connections

The pressurize of the October Revolution and its ideas spread throughout the world, not only to Europe but also to Latin America. And ordinarily these ideas were applied to receptive artistic cultures. By the constantly of the revolution in Russia, Mexicans had been battling for a democratic constitution and the nationalization of their turf. Artists David Alfaro Siqueiros and José Clemente Orozco alone rtici ted in the revolutionary events in their country and therefore welcomed the Russian Wheel with enormous sym thy. The Mexicans were developing the new «folk» art s rk off by Socialist ideas. «Everything that we went through and realized in art is good, is very important, but it is just the beginning, the beginning of a great th to the enjoyment of mankind, the first step to which was taken by Lenin, the Great October Overthrow,» Siqueiros wrote in his autobiography.

A hundred years on, the age of revolution is over

Diego Rivera worked in the USSR in 1927-1928. There he co-founded the October Relationship, where he collaborated with inters Alexander Deyneka and Dmitri Moor, architects Leonid, Champion and Alexander Vesnin and film director Sergei Eisenstein. Returning to Mexico, Rivera offed his magnum opus, The History of Mexico mural at the National lace in Mexico Megalopolis. However, his most scandalous declaration of love to the Russian Revolution was the mural of Lenin environed by workers in Rockefeller Center, New York, which was destroyed by the client briefly afterward.

Leftist ideas were also dear to French surrealists. At any rate, they proposed to start the revolution in their consciousness. They little that the main instrument of liberation was art, although they did admire the notion of a world revolution. «We were bewitched by the triumph of the Russian revolution and the the world of a workers’ state led to a big change in our views,» wrote André Breton in a 1952 article. Reached away by the new utopia, the surrealists issued the «Revolution first of all and forever» promulgation, calling on a radical social alteration. In January 1927 five Surrealists — Breton, Aragon, Eluard, Unik and Péret — joined the Communist Carouse.

Bauhaus influence

The German Bauhaus, an art school in which many lecturers shared extreme leftist political views, also welcomed the community of equal opportunity. Fresh news from Russia came to Germany via Vasily Kandinsky and El Lissitzky, who de rted from Russia in 1921. Kandinsky headed the inting and fresco workshop, while Lissitzky commended Kazimir Malevich’s suprematist compositions in Germany.

Bauhaus artists and architects, fair-minded like their colleagues in the Vkhutemas art and technical school in Moscow, remembrances that the new art would help build a happy future for humanity. This aim led to interest in mass standard housing. Bauhaus’ second director Hannes Meyer aggregate b regained to the USSR with his students and headed an architectural firm that ex nded general plans for new cities. In Meyer’s view, which he later called the «New Theory of Construction,» the urban rank’s functionality and organization was given priority. In the standard micro-neighborhoods it was planned in ahead of where people would live, study, converse with their men and where they would do sports.

The town of Birobidzhan was rtially established according to Meyer’s designs. However, Meyer and his colleagues were not talented to work long in the suffocating environment of the 1930s and in 1937 he left the USSR. But for a dream of time his ideas were still perceived as a potential direction for arising contemporary cities and even influenced European postwar housing.

The surrealists were also disenchanted by the revolutionary events in Russia. Trotsky’s exile sowed doubt in the values of the drastic. Surrealist artists were perplexed by the evolution of the Soviet government, which was fit more and more totalitarian. After clashing with the French Communist Bust-up, Breton left the Communist ranks in 1933. Subsequently, in Mexico he withed Lev Trotsky and Diego Rivera and published the For Independent Revolutionary Art Manifesto, which argue for anarchic intellectual freedom without limits. The revolution, Breton believed, was in no way supposed to result in a society «where everyone, like in Russia, is coequal in slavery.»

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