Making Modernism Soviet

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3130-9
Publication Date
October 2013
Page Count
176 pages
Trim Size
6.125 x 9.25

Making Modernism Soviet

The Russian Avant-Garde in the Early Soviet Era, 1918-1928

Making Modernism Soviet provides a new understanding of the ideological engagement of Russian modern artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Alexander Rodchenko, and Vera Ermolaeva with the political and social agenda of the Bolsheviks in the chaotic years immediately following the Russian Revolution. Focusing on the relationship between power brokers and cultural institutions under conditions of state patronage, Pamela Kachurin lays to rest the myth of the imposition of control from above upon a victimized artistic community. Drawing on extensive archival research, she shows that Russian modernists used their positions within the expanding Soviet arts bureaucracy to build up networks of like-minded colleagues. Their commitment to one another and to the task of creating a socially transformative visual language for the new Soviet context allowed them to produce some of their most famous works of art. But it also contributed to the "Sovietization" of the art world that eventually sealed their fate.
About the Author

Pamela Kachurin is a visiting assistant professor in the departments of art history and Slavic and Eurasian studies at Duke University.


"[A] carefully researched, complex and fascinating account of how, for over a decade, state patronage both sustained and transformed avant-garde practice. In this, the book breaks new scholarly ground. For producing a work that will be indispensible to those working on the period, as well as fascinating to other scholars, Kachurin is to be congratulated."--The NEP Era: Soviet Russia, 1921-1928

"The material history Pamela Kachurin pursues benefi ts from a wealth of archival research and, rather than using
the kind of shorthand that is oft en the rule in such accounts, demonstrates that (seeming) trifles such as space allocations, payroll rosters, research briefs, and organizational charts, but also interpersonal networks and connections across agencies and institutions, did more to shape Soviet art during the period in question than has
been assumed."
--Sven Spieker in Slavic Review