Upper Level Seminar: Soviet Visual Culture and its Western Context, 1917-1953
The course focuses on interfaces of Soviet visual arts and related domains, such as literature, criticism, photography and film, that characterize the years of Revolution, the NEP Period and Stalinism, in the USSR. Among other things, we will discuss profiles of artists instrumental in forging the bridge between the avant-garde and propaganda (El Lissitski, Rodchenko), study modern print media, ranging from poster art to publishing projects such as the magazine USSR in Construction, review the exhibition culture of the 1930s, take a glimpse at interwar and wartime Soviet photography, and trace main trends in Soviet interwar (and wartime) caricature. Visual aspects of Stalin's cult of personality will also be studied. These domains will be compared — and contrasted — with those that characterize developments in interwar Germany and Italy. Western contributions to the Soviet visual culture, such as art by John Heartfield or films by Joris Ivens' (and Hanns Eisler) will be discussed.
HISTART category for concentration distributions: D. Europe and the US, 4. Modern and Contemporary
Course Requirements: Class participation, brief class presentations, and a research paper will be required.