Socialist realism

Socialist realism is a style of idealized realistic art, developed in the Soviet Union and was the official style in that country between 1932 and 1988, as well as in other socialist countries after World War II. Socialist realism is characterized by the glorified depiction of communist values, such as the emancipation of the proletariat. Despite its name, the figures in the style are often idealized in sculpture, where it leans on the conventions of classical sculpture. Although related, it should not be confused with social realism, a type of art that realistically depicts subjects of social concern, or other forms of "realism" in the visual arts. Socialist realism was the predominant form of approved art in the Soviet Union from its development in the early 1920s to its eventual fall from official status beginning in the late 1960s until the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. While other countries have employed a prescribed canon of art, socialist realism in the Soviet Union persisted longer and was more restrictive than elsewhere in Europe.

Socialist realism was developed by many thousands of artists, across a diverse society, over several decades. Early examples of realism in Russian art include the work of the Peredvizhnikis and Ilya Yefimovich Repin. While these works do not have the same political connotation, they exhibit the techniques exercised by their successors. After the Bolsheviks took control of Russia on October 25, 1917, there was a marked shift in artistic styles. There had been a short period of artistic exploration in the time between the fall of the Tsar and the rise of the Bolsheviks. Shortly after the Bolsheviks took control, Anatoly Lunacharsky was appointed as head of Narkompros, the People's Commissariat for Enlightenment; this put Lunacharsky in the position of deciding the direction of art in the newly created Soviet state. Although Lunacharsky did not dictate a single aesthetic model for Soviet artists to follow, he developed a system of aesthetics based on the human body that would help to influence socialist realism.

He believed that "the sight of a healthy body, intelligent face or friendly smile was life-enhancing." He concluded that art had a direct effect on the human organism and under the right circumstances that effect could be positive. By depicting "the perfect person", Lunacharsky believed art could educate citizens on how to be the perfect Soviets. There were two main groups debating the fate of Soviet art: traditionalists. Russian Futurists, many of whom had been creating abstract or leftist art before the Bolsheviks, believed communism required a complete rupture from the past and, therefore, so did Soviet art. Traditionalists believed in the importance of realistic representations of everyday life. Under Lenin's rule and the New Economic Policy, there was a certain amount of private commercial enterprise, allowing both the futurists and the traditionalists to produce their art for individuals with capital. By 1928, the Soviet government had enough strength and authority to end private enterprises, thus ending support for fringe groups such as the futurists.

At this point, although the term "socialist realism" was not being used, its defining characteristics became the norm. According to the Great Russian Encyclopedia, the term was first used in press by a high functionary of the Union of Soviet Writers Ivan Gronsky in Literaturnaya Gazeta on May 23, 1932; the term was approved upon in meetings that included politicians of the highest level, including Stalin himself. Maxim Gorky, a proponent of literary socialist realism, published a famous article titled "Socialist Realism" in 1933. During the Congress of 1934, four guidelines were laid out for socialist realism; the work must be: Proletarian: art relevant to the workers and understandable to them. Typical: scenes of everyday life of the people. Realistic: in the representational sense. Partisan: supportive of the aims of the State and the Party; the purpose of socialist realism was to limit popular culture to a specific regulated faction of emotional expression that promoted Soviet ideals. The party was of the utmost importance.

The key concepts that developed assured loyalty to the party, "partiinost'", "ideinost", "klassovost", "pravdivost". There was a prevailing sense of optimism, as socialist realism's function was to show the ideal Soviet society. Not only was the present gloried, but the future was supposed to be depicted in an agreeable fashion; because the present and the future were idealized, socialist realism had a sense of forced optimism. Tragedy and negativity were not permitted, unless they were shown in place; this sentiment created what would be dubbed "revolutionary romanticism."Revolutionary romanticism elevated the common worker, whether factory or agricultural, by presenting his life and recreation as admirable. Its purpose was to show. Art was used as educational information. By illustrating the party's success, artists were showing their viewers that sovietism was the best political system. Art was used to show how Soviet citizens should be acting; the ultimate aim was to create what Lenin called "an new type of human being": The New Soviet Man.

Art was a way to instill party values on a massive scale. Stalin described the socialist realist artists as "engineers of souls."Common images used in socialist realism were flowers, the body, flight and new technology. These poetic images were used to show the utopianism of the Soviet state. Ar

Jim Pomeroy (artist)

James C. Pomeroy was an American artist whose practice spanned a variety of media including performance art, sound art, installation art and video art. Jim Pomeroy was born March 1945, in Reading, Pennsylvania; the family moved to a small town in Texas when he was three, to Montana when he was sixteen. Pomeroy developed an early interest in model airplanes and electrical machines, his science-related interests were encouraged in high school. Pomeroy went to the University of Texas, Austin planning to go into physics but discovering that he wasn't good at it, he switched his major to art and studied stone sculpture and painting for five years, leaving with a B. A. in 1968. He began working in an Abstract Expressionist style before migrating to Minimalism and Conceptualism and bringing industrial processes and methods into his work. Under the influence of artists like Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, Tony Smith, he left Texas in 1968 and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, he received his M. A. and M.

F. A. in art from the University of California at Berkeley. To support himself in graduate school and for several years afterwards, Pomeroy worked as a preparator at museums and galleries in California and Texas. In the 1970s and 1980s, Pomeroy was a prominent figure in the performance art and installation activity associated with Bay Area conceptual art, he disliked the rigid separations between media maintained by most art schools and referred to himself as a "general practitioner" and is now considered a pioneer in the field of new media art, developing an anti-spectacular, witty aesthetic that fed on his lifelong interest in popular mechanics, informal science experiments, garage invention, home-brewed technology. Among his friends and collaborators are such artists as Perry Hoberman, Paul Kos, Paul DeMarinis and the curator Suzanne Foley. DeMarinis describes him as a quintessential artist-tinkerer, one of a generation of artists who, growing up in the era of the first space program, "had been inculcated with the codes of science and technology, but who had reterritorialized them to identify technology with culture."

Two of his best-known pieces of the mid 1970s, Mozart's Moog and Fear Elites, used music-box mechanisms to raise questions about the role of the human performer in an era of automated and synthetic forms of music production. Other works, such as Newt Ascending Astaire's Face and Turbo Pan, are inspired by 19th century technologies such as the zoetrope, he created a pair of works, Composition in Deep/Light at the Opera and Clear Bulbs Cast Sharp Shadows, based on 3D technology of the period and requiring anaglyphic glasses for viewing. Pomeroy co-founded the artist-run space 80 Langton Street in San Francisco. In 1999, on the occasion of New Langton Arts's 25th anniversary, the space organized a posthumous Jim Pomeroy retrospective and website, he exhibited and performed at numerous museums and galleries around the United States, including the California Museum of Photography in Riverside, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, the Albright-Knox Gallery.

He published essays including Afterimage and High Performance. At the same time, he remained critical of the way in which the mainstream art world depended on—but failed to credit—the work being done in alternative spaces like his. Most famously, for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's influential 1980 exhibition of conceptual and performance art entitled “Space/Time/Sound–1970’s: A Decade in the Bay Area", Pomeroy contributed a piece entitled Viewing the Museum: The Tale Wagging the Dog, consisting of his scathing article “Viewing the Museum: The Tale Wagging the Dog”, together with enlarged reproductions of his correspondence with exhibition curator Suzanne Foley pursuing further reflections on the subject. Pomeroy was on the faculty of the San Francisco Art Institute for a while before moving on in 1987 to become a tenured faculty member in the Media Arts Department at the University of Texas, Arlington; when the desktop computer emerged towards the end of his life, he taught his students that computers were "as important a tool for an artist as a pencil or a camera."Pomeroy died unexpectedly of an acute subdural hematoma two weeks after suffering a concussion from a fall.

The Jim Pomeroy Archive is located at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. Turbo Pan is an interactive sculpture consisting of cardboard mailing tubes of varying lengths mounted on the rim of a bicycle wheel. A vacuum cleaner with reversed air flow both causes the wheel to spin and plays the tubes as they pass by, creating a hybrid between "zoetrope, barrel organ, Tibetan prayer wheel." Willikers in G is a sound-performance work in which Pomeroy would arrange large metal cans containing water over Bunsen burners. While performing a monologue, he would turn off the burners and cap the steam-filled cans, creating a vacuum that caused the cans to buckle, the sounds of which were picked up, amplified back to the audience. Fear Elites is a sound installation consisting of a framed, unwalled room built out of sheet-metal studs to which are affixed dozens of music-box mechanisms, each of, modified in some way; these adjustments turn the underlying melody, Beethoven's "Fur Elise," into a new composition playing inside the larger music box of the semi-raw space.

Composition in D (c

This is Not a Book

This is Not a Book is a book by Keri Smith, published in 2009. It is not a normal book; the book is completely blank, so the reader creates the content and the final product. The book's purpose is to teach a reader to take risks; the main question presented is: if it is not a book what is it? The answer is left to the reader to determine; this Is Not A Book is much like Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith, except that it pushes the boundaries of what a book can be further. The book consists of assignments that push the reader to go in public, or to risk losing the copy of the book. For example, one assignment encourages the reader to leave This Is Not A Book someplace overnight and see what happens. Another suggests to read a piece of writing out loud; some challenge the reader to risk looking silly in front of others, or to do something that the reader have always wanted to do. Each assignment shows the reader something. Page 42 of This is; this has caused many readers to speculate. Speculation regarding the missing page is random.

The assignment "random occurrence" is an homage to Marcel Duchamp, "window" is an homage to Yoko Ono, "chance operation" is an homage to John Cage, "conundrum" and "top secret document" are an homage to Oulipo, "bureaucracy" is an homage to José Saramago and "voyage" is an homage to Bas Jan Ader. This is Not a Book by Keri Smith