Youri Jarkikh, The Marketplace




"The adherents of pure socialist realism, dogmatic academicians and party officials, anxiously watched the rebirth of true art which it was thought had been buried for ages to come. The ranks of artists embarking on the path of independent creativity were swelling. It was especially disturbing that it was not only a matter of some obscure daubers, that even in the official MOSKh (Moscow Division of the Artists' Union) which had been well drilled over the harsh three decades, there had appeared irresponsible liberals forgetting that there can be no letting up on the ideoligical front. When in December 1962, at the exhibition held on the thirtieth anniversary of their organization, the liberal administration of MOSKh dragged out works of young experimentalists in the Union and pictures by Sterenberg, Drevin and Falk long ago accused of formalism, the conservatives waged a decisive battle with the recreants. In order to be confident of full and unconditional victory, the Stalinist academicians well experienced in intrigues, suggested also showing works of some non-conformists only for limited viewing in halls closed to the public. It was provocation. The academicians had figured right. The first secretary of the Central Commitee of the party and the head of the government who visited the exhibition on the first of December was furious. Surrounded by a servile titering retinue, going from picture to picture, he ranted and raved. 'Looking at your daubs', he shouted at the artists, 'one would think that you are all fags! We give ten years in prison for that... It is not art, but shit!' Looking out from behind his shoulder, the president of the USSR Academy of Arts, Vladimir Serov, echoed him: 'Lenin would have said the same! As a result Khrushchev advised the modernists to leave the country".

Alexander Glezer


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