Art and Irreconciliation, or Cubist Ruptures of Soviet Postwar Aesthetics
Introducing previously neglected primary sources and suggesting an alternative approach to researching history of art during the Cold War, in this article, I rethink Soviet Thaw- and post-Thaw fate of cubism. In doing so, I acknowledge the movement's major constituting role within Soviet art discourse. In a first step, I analyze an unknown strategy of apology of cubism designed by seminal Kulturträgers Igor Golomstock and Andrei Sinyavsky. This is to challenge dominant scholarly accounts paying overly attention to Soviet negative criticism of cubism while ignoring the actual complexity of debates within the allegedly monolithic totalitarian discourse. Analyzing results of the apology, I argue that the attempt to rehabilitate cubism caused an intensification of negative criticism characteristic of novel anti-modernist patterns such as by Mikhail Lifshitz, a prominent Soviet philosopher. This re-actualization of debates on cubism had both domestic and transnational premises. Ultimately, situating Soviet discussions of cubism within relevant European debates on modernist art, I nuance interpretations of Soviet art discourse as that of an isolationist.