In the twenties, the objectives of the avant-garde circles were accompanied by mobilization of advocates of artistic activity as traditionally understood. In 1921, the NOZ (Novoie Obshchestvo Zivopiscev) grouping emerged and called for the giving up of avant-garde experiments leading to hermetic art, unintelligible to the masses. The ideas of revolution should be, according to members of the grouping, expressed in a clear and generally accessible manner. Even more explicitily a return to realism and re-connection with tradition was demanded by the artists who in 1922 formed the AChRR (Asociacia Hudoznikov Revolucionnoi Rossi). In this group also surfaced the demand to concentrate on themes such as the daily life of the workers and the peasants, as well as portraits of the political leaders and champion workers. It is from the AChRR group that the future representatives of social realism will emerge: Izaak Brodski (188-1939), Gieorgii Riazski (1895-1952), Boris Ioganson (189-1973), Aleksander Gierasimov (1881-1963) and Aleksander Moravov (1878-1951). A more open attitude towards other artistic currents was that of the young graduates of Moscow's Vhutemas, supporters of a modernized version of realism who, in 1925, set up the OST (Obshchstvo Stankovistov) - Aleksander Deineka (1899-1969) and Jurii Pimienov (1903-1978).
Explicit criticism of the avant-garde begun in 1926 with the publication in Klashtor, a Leningrad party newspaper financed by the state, of an article directed against Malevich. Malevich's collaborators, Viera Iermolaieva and Nikolai Suietin were also criticized. The criticism pertained to the uslessnes to the community of work financed from state funds.
At this time the authorities aim at successively limiting the opportunities for creative work by artists from avant-garde circles. The crucial event occurs in April 1932 when the Central Committee WKP(b) adopted the regulation "regarding the restructuring of artistic and literary organizations." On the basis of this regulation, all hitherto active artistic organizations were dissolved and in their place a single centralize entity was created. The phase of relative artistic independence from ideology and of licensed but nonetheless hitherto existing pluralism came to an end. The Leningrad exhibition "Hudozniki REFSRR za 15let" (November 1932 - May 1933) became a testament, a last look at the diverse artistic experiments of Russian art since the revolution. Kazimier Malevich showed here his newest works - almost his last. These expressively painted canvases, of arresting symbolism, are peopled with people devoid of faces in flat empty landscapes.
It was during the First Convention of Soviet Writers, which took place in Moskow on 17 - 31 of August, 1934, that Maksim Gorky presented the principles of the new creative methodology of "socialist realism" which all artists, without exception, had a duty to follow henceforth if they wanted to participate in artistic life. The principal ideologist of the new "method" was Andriei Zhdanov.

based on Sztuka a systemy totalitarne (Art and totalitarian systems) by Waldemar Baraniewski.

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Links:     Socrealism     Jones
English translation by Peter K. Gessner of Polish original posted by Liga Republicanska
© 2000 Polish Academic Information Center, University at Buffalo. All rights reserved.


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