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The Total Art of Stalinism: Avant-Garde, Aesthetic Dictatorship, and Beyondby Boris. Trans. By Charles Rougle. Groys
Synopses & Reviews
From the ruins of Soviet communism, Boris Groys emerges to provoke our interest in the aesthetic goals of its founders. Like modernists elsewhere, the totalitarian artists and theorists of the USSR longed for an art that could transform the world it once sought only to depict. The revolutionaries of October 1917 promised to create a society that was not only more just and more economically stable but also more beautiful, and they intended that the entire life of the nation be completely subordinate to Communist Party leaders commissioned to regulate, harmonize, and create a single "artistic" whole out of even the most mundane aspects of existence. What were the origins of this idea? And what were its artistic and literary ramifications? In addressing these issues, Groys questions the view that socialist realism was an "art for the masses." In this new edition for Verso, Groys revisits the debate that the book has stimulated since its first publication.
"Artists can make a hash of society as completely as the most cynical of politicians."--Boston Globe
From the ruins of communism, Boris Groys emerges to provoke our interest in the aesthetic goals pursued with such catastrophic consequences by its founders. Interpreting totalitarian art and literature in the context of cultural history, this brilliant essay likens totalitarian aims to the modernists’ goal of producing world-transformative art. In this new edition, Groys revisits the debate that the book has stimulated since its first publication.
About the Author
Boris Groys is Professor of Aesthetics, Art History, and Media Theory at the Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe, and since 2005, the Global Distinguished Professor in the Faculty of Arts and Science, NYU. He has published numerous books including The Total Art of Stalinism, Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment, Art Power, and The Communist Postscript.
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