The Total Art Of Stalinism Analysis

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Boris Groys. The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-Garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and Beyond. Translated by Charles Rougle. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992. 126 pp., $13.49 (paper).

The Total Art of Stalinism is not only a historical book on art, but it is also a political provocation of the well-known histories of 20th century Soviet art and literature. Originally published in German, this book was the first major work of Groys to have been translated into English. This book gives insight to scholars and artists alike about the history of art during and after the Stalin regime. The thesis of this book is that the avant-garde developed into socialist realism, demonstrating this with history of Soviet art, the role played
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This initial statement gives the reader a glimpse of the book’s main thesis, that the avant-garde was responsible for shaping Socialist Realism art by way of its own failure. Groys likens “the intrusion of technology into European life in the nineteenth century” as the cause of the entire artistic practice of the avant-garde (14). The avant-garde saw themselves in the beginning as defenders, whose main task was to neutralize and counteract all the perceived damage done by the technological …show more content…
It is at this point that the author says a majority of the avant-garde artists decided to proclaim their full support of the new Bolshevik state. Rodchenko proposed a new program of constructivism in 1919, and it was at this point that the avant-garde was convinced the future rested solely on their shoulders. Rodchenko’s constructivist art was modeled by “the machine”, in theory it was moving along by course of it’s own rules and laws. These constructivist artists became believers that they were going to take over the aesthetic-political organization of the country. Politically, they remained at the bottom of the totem pole despite their full support of the new Bolshevik state; however, they remained reassured by themselves that they were in fact superior intellectually to their political

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