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Recommended Books - General Collections on Russian Avant-garde

General Collections on Russian Avant-garde

I recommend the following books for those who are interested in the Russian Avant-garde Art. Some of them have served as bibliography for part of the material on this website, and are stated in the Bibliography list. Others - not yet, but probably will be.

Browse the tabs left and right to choose the subject of interest to you. Click on the image to buy or search for more books at the stores. For some books there are more than one store to try.

Some of them may be out of print. It is worth a try to ask for notification: they may order the book from an actual store.

Note: there may be books for which no cover image exists at the store. For some I have searched and found the cover - from books in my possestion, or other sources. There may be different covers for editions, so please notice that.

If you would like to comment or suggest/recommend a book, please do so in the Gallery Forum, at the Books & Films about subforum.

General Collection on Russian Avant-garde

English

The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932 (Hardcover) by Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, State Tret'iakov Gallery, State Russian Museum, Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

The most amazing collection of Russian Avant-garde I have come across. A true wealth of the Avant-garde art and a great number of artists, represented in every possible style and subgroup, including sculpture, architecture, poster and application art and what not.

Almost 700 illustrations and dozens of essays are available for you to enjoy and to learn.

 

In Malevich's Circle: Confederates Students Followers in Russian 1920S-1950s (Hardcover) by Yevgenia Petrova (Editor). Palace Editions.

A comprehensive report about those who were close to Malevich, his students and followers, the artists of the UNOVIS group.

Hundreds of illustrations; essays, letters, original documents and photographs are presented; short biographies of each artist as well as interviews and works written by them.

A true jewel for the lovers of Suprematism.

 

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Moscow & St. Petersburg 1900-1920: Art, Life, & Culture of the Russian Silver Age, by John E. Bowlt. Vendome Press, 2008. Hardcover, 400 pages.

In his special way, Bowlt illuminates the Silver Age of Russian Avant-garde, bringing to light artists of the period who are not the wellknown to the public. A highly illustrated volume, with 650 illustrations, 400 in color, including photography and art, ranging from theatre to specific styles. Includes bibliography for further reading.

 

Soviet Art, 1920S-1930s: Russian Museum, Leningrad by Vladimir Leniashin (Editor). Harry N Abrams, 1988. Paperback, 254 pages.

A well-organized catalog of some Russian avant-garde art from the Russian Museum collection, divided by movements (groups), and giving some collective understanding of the groupings. Illustrations include artists of the beginning of the 20th-century, making it a good collection of painting.

 

Tradition and Revolution. The Jewish renaissance in Russian avant-garde art . By Ruth Apter-Gabriel, ed. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem 1987. Paperback, 262 pages.

Catalogue of a major exhibition organized by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. includes 174 drawings, paintings, prints and illustrations by Marc Chagali, El Lissitzky and nine other artists. Photographs and documents from a 1916 expedition by Lissitzky and Issachar Ryback to study the old, wooden synagogues along the Dnieper River are included in the exhibition. (The New York Times). The exhibition was shown at Jewish Museum, 1109 Fifth Avenue (at 92d Street) in 1988.

 

Russian

 

Советское искусство 20 - 30-х годов. Издательство: Искусство, 1988 г. Твердый переплет. (Soviet Art of the 20-30s. "Iskusstvo", 1988. Hardcover.)

A catalogue of paintings, graphic work, applied art and sculpture from the Russian Museum collection, in several categories.

 

Амазонки авангарда. Издательство: Наука, 2004 г. Твердый переплет, 352 стр.. (The amazons of Avant0garde. "Nauka", 2004. Hardcover, 352 pages.)

This album is dedicated to the women-artists of the Russian Avant-gade: N.Goncharova, O.Rozanova, N.Udaltzova, V.Stepanova, L.Popova, V.Mukhina, B.Pestel, V.Khodasevich. These pioneers of art have left a deep impression on the world preception.

A trully different point of view, a woman's insight.

 

Живопись 1920-1930. Государственный Русский музей. Издательство: Советский художник, 1988 г. Мягкая обложка, 256 стр. (Soviet Art, 1920S-1930s: Russian Museum, Leningrad by Vladimir Leniashin ed. "Sovetskiy khudozhnik", 1988. Paperback, 256 pages).

A well-organized catalog of some Russian avant-garde art from the Russian Museum collection, divided by movements (groups), and giving some collective understanding of the groupings. Illustrations include artists of the beginning of the 20th-century, making it a good collection of painting.

 

В круге Малевича (In Malevich's Circle), Palace Editions, Государственный Русский музей, 2000 г. Твердый переплет. (In Malevich's Circle. Palace Editions, 2000. Hardcover)

A comprehensive report about those who were close to Malevich, his students and followers, the artists of the UNOVIS group.

Hundreds of illustrations; essays, letters, original documents and photographs are presented; short biographies of each artist as well as interviews and works written by them.

A true jewel for the lovers of Suprematism.

 

Русский авангард. Музей в Музее. Издательство: Государственный Русский музей, 1998 г. Твердый переплет. (Russian Avant-garde. Museum inseide a museum. The State Russian Museum, 1998. Hardcover.)

Documents brought forth in this book clearly show the conflict and turmoil of the era. Debate between the artists is evident, giving some insight into their turbulent lives and totally different points of view.

Over 470 illustrations of works by many artists are shown in form of a catalogue, in alphabethical order.

 

 

Авангард, остановленный на бегу. С. М. Турутина, А. Б. Лошеньков, С. П. Дьяченко. Издательство: Аврора (ФГУП), 1989 г. Твердый переплет. (Avant-garde, stopped in mid-run, by S.Trutin, A.Loshenko, S.Dyachenko. "Avrora", 1989. Hardcover.)

There once was a Barentz sea, and Vera Ermolaeva has painted it. Then they both disappeared.

This book tells the story around Ermolaeva and other Avant-garde artists, of repression and fight for the right to self expression, of collecting and salvaging the works.

Illustrations include mostly works in the Cara-Kalpakian Museum. Beutiful photograph of the area included in the story.

 

Се рдцем слушая революцию... Искусство первых лет Октября. Издательство: Аврора. Твердый переплет. (Listening to the revolution with the heart. Art of the first years after October. "Avrora" .Hardcover.)

The Mass and Agit Art treasure box.

Posters, paintings, journals, illustration, architecture, festive decoration, and what not - by al the great names in Russian Avant-garde at the most turbulent and exciting time for them.

 

Неизвестный русский авангард. А.Сарабьянов. Издательство: Советский художник, 1992 г. Твердый переплет. (The unknown Russian avant-garde, by A.Sarabyanov. "Sovetsky Khudozhnik", 1992. Hardcover.)

Over 300 illustration of little known Russian Avant-garde artistsof the period 1910s-1920s. A great deal of biographical and informational material.

 

Л. Л. Юрова. Русский Авангард в собрании Ярославского художественного музея. Издательство: Северный паломник, 2009 г. Твердый переплет, 168 стр. (Russian Avant-Gard from the Collection Yaroslav Art Museum. "Severny Palomnik", 2009. Hardcover, 168 pages. Russian, English)

The avant-gade art collection in the Yaroslavl Art Museum is not large, about fifty works, and almost all were acquired in the first decade of its existence.

The idea of creating an art gallery has taken hold with the artists even before WWI, but it only began to take real form after the October Revolution. Yaroslavl has suffered greatly in the summer of 1918 from artillery shooting during the white guarde rebellion. Now it has become one of the polygons of new cultural politics and the first among the country's cities to receive emmissaries from the center.

 

Ольга Ройтенберг. Неужели кто-то вспомнил, что мы были.... Издательство: Галарт, 2008 г. Твердый переплет, 560 стр. (Has Anyone Remembered We Existed? by Olga Roitenberg. Publisher: "Galart", 2008. Hardcover, 560 pages.)

This book familiarizes the reader with a whole generation of artists whose artistic path began in the 1920s. Mostly they have been students of the artists of "leftist" movements of art, and have absorbed into their own art their ecxitement and lack of compromise... Unjustly forgotten and un-demanded they have for many decades not been included in the oficial protocols of history of Soviet art. It is not coincidence that the name of the book was taken from the fierce and bitter question asked by a graduate of VKhUTEIN, Elena Rodova: "Has anyone remembered that we existed?"...

(from editorial at Ozon)

 

Private Collections

English

Twentieth-Century Russian and East European Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection (Hardcover) by Johne E. Bowlt, Nicoletta Misler.

There are several colections of Russian Avant-garde Art renown all over the world, and this is one of them. Rare and amazing works from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection presented for the rest of us to see and marvel at.

Detailed description is provided for each of the 59 works with respect to the stage of the artist's period of development in his/her career, as well as against the background of the contemporary art in the broader view.

 

Russian Avant-Garde Art: The George Costakis Collection (Hardcover) by Angelica Zander Rudenstine (Editor). Harry N Abrams (November 1981). 527 pages.

Another of the most famous colections of Russian Avant-garde Art. George Costakis has donated works of art to many museums, and opened his collection to public viewers in many an exhibition and in this wonderful catalogue.

 

Vers de nouveaux rivages : L'avant-garde russe dans la collection Costakis de Angeliki Charistou (Auteur), Olga Fota (Auteur), Dimitris Vlassis (Auteur), Jean-Loup Champion (Auteur), Collectif (Auteur). Collection : LIVRE D'ART. Editions Gallimard, 2008. Broché, 221 pages. Français

Another book of colections of Russian Avant-garde Art at George Costakis. French.

 

Russian

 

Шедевры живописи XX века из собрания Тиссен-Борнемиса. Издательство: Electa, 1988 г. Мягкая обложка, 104 стр. (Masterpieces from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection. Electa, 1988. Paperback, 104 pages)

Catalogue of the exhibition "Masterpieces from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection", held at the State Russian Museum, Leningrad in the summer of 1988 and at the Tratyakov Gallery, Moscow in the fall of 1988. The collection includes various countires, styles and creative principles. There are works of the highest historical value. Catalogue includes 39 color illustrations with annotations.

 

Porcelain

English

 

Revolutionary Ceramics: Soviet Porcelain, 1917-27 (Hardcover) by Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky. 1992.

An album of 150 illustrations of the most famous Russian ceramics artists created from 1917 to 1929. These works are beuatifully detailed, performed with great love and mastery of the art, which is evident in the results, especially compared with today's consumer mass production we are all used to seeing all around.

 

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News From a Radiant Future: Soviet Porcelain from the Collection of Craig H. and Kay A. Tuber. by Ian Wardropper. Art Inst of Chicago, 2005. Paperback, 96 pages.

In a 1925 article on the post-Revolutionary production of the State Porcelain Factory in Leningrad, the ceramic artist Elena Danko described the factory's wares as "news from a radiant future." This volume is a catalogue of the Art Institute of Chicago's 1992 exhibit of Soviet porcelain from the collection of Craig and Kay Tuber. The essays included in News from a Radiant Future discuss the relationship between Bolshevik propaganda and the state porcelain factory, as well as the larger tradition of Russian imperial ceramics. They also consider porcelain's connection to the Russian folk heritage and specifically to the October Revolution.

 

Theatre

English

 

Festival of Wonders: Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, by John E. Bowlt (Editor), Zelfira Tregulova (Editor). Skira, 2009. Hardcover, 320 pages.

In May 1909, Sergei Diaghilev astonished the world of dance with his first ballet presentations in Paris that demonstrated an unprecedented combination of vitality and grace, originality, and technical sophistication. This catalogue of over three hundred artworks related to the Saisons Russes between 1909 and 1929 is the official companion to an exhibition in Monte Carlo. The legendary productions are brought to life through stage designs, costumes, paintings, sculptures, photographs, and programs.

The artwork comes from a wide variety of public and private collections, including the Fokine collection in the St. Petersburg Theatre Museum. Diaghilev’s scenic achievements are complemented by a number of contextual paintings, drawings, and other artifacts, which help to define Russia’s cultural renaissance of the first decades of the twentieth century. The documentary section of the catalog contains rich archival material, including letters, photographs, choreographic notes, and memoirs, many published here for the first time. (Amazon editorial review)

 

Stage Fright: Modernism, Anti-Theatricality, and Drama. By Martin Puchner. The Johns Hopkins University Press; illustrated edition, 2002. Hardcover, 248 pages .

"In this superb examination of theatricality and its detractors, Martin Puchner takes a close look at the theories of Stéphane Mallarmé, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, William Butler Yeats, Bertolt Brecht, and Samuel Beckett... In order to circumvent theatricality, Puchner observes, these authors shared common strategies: the superimposition of stage directions, choral figures, narratives, and commentators on the action, and characters who observe their own actions -- all designed to disrupt mimesis, illusion, and theatrical virtuosity... [An] important study." ( David Krasner, Theatre Journal)

"After this study, a lot of polemic energy spent in debate between pro-theatricalists and anti-theatricalists, between adherents of modernism and those of the avant-garde, can be spared. The fault lines between solipsistic and elitist modernism on the one side, and a collaborative and political avant-garde on the other, must be drawn anew. As Puchner brilliantly demonstrates, the radical difference must be thought, first and foremost, along the parameters of anti-theatrical modernism versus the theatrical avant-garde... By doing justice to the minute details of... the dramas and theories of Mallarmé, Joyce, Stein, Yeats, Brecht and Beckett, Puchner makes a compelling case for the central thesis of the book. Moreover, Puchner... provides a new vocabulary to analyze modernism's 'hate affair' with the theater." (Klaus Mladek, Modernism/modernity)

 

Revolutionary Theatre (Theatre Production Studies) by Robert Leach. Routledge; 1 edition, 1994. Hardcover, 256 pages .

"Intended for the neophyte to the study of the Russian stage, Revolutionary Theatre contains vividly detailed descriptions of pivotal productions from the time, as well as a highly useful critical apparatus. Leach's cogent analysis of the work of a variety of directors and theatre groups in both Moscow and Petrograd gives the newcomer to the field an understanding of the diversity of theatrical styles during the revolutionary period in Russia."
(Theatre Insight)

Revolutionary Theatre is the first full-length study of the dynamic theatre created in Russia in the aftermath of the Bolshevik Revolution. Fired by social and political as well as artistic zeal, a group of directors, playwrights, actors and organizers collected around the charismatic Vsevolod Meyerhold and attempted to achieve in the theatre what Lenin and his comrades had achieved in politics: the complete overthrow of the status quo and the installation of a new, utterly different regime. Until now the efforts and influence of this idealistic and radical group of theatrical avant-gardes has been largely unacknowledged as the oppressive reign of Stalin condemned many of them to death and their work to oblivion. In this enlightening work Robert Leach reveals in fascinating detail their roots, their achievements and their legacy. (editorial review at Amazon)

 

A History of Russian Theatre by Robert Leach, Victor Borovsky. Cambridge University Press, 2000. Hardcover, 464 pages .

"A gift to be embraced by English-speaking historians. If this material is not already part of our general theatre history courses, it needs to be incorporated; and if we already give Russian/Soviet theatre the attention it desrves, then these books will revitalize and enhance our understanding."
(Theatre Survey)

"This collaboratively written work will be valued for its broadly based approach and its encyclopedic information...It has no competitor."
(Slavic and East European Journal)

 

Russian

 

Джон Э. Боулт. Художники Русского театра 1880 - 1930. Собрание Никиты и Нины Лобановых-Ростовских, Издательство: Искусство, 1990 г. Суперобложка, 336 стр. (Artists of the Russian Theatre. Collection of Nikita & Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky. By John E.Bowlt. "Iskusstvo", 1990. Dust jacket, 336 pages)

The theatre and decor art is a most pronounced phenomenon in Russian culture of the first third of the XXth century, which has focused and affected the greatest artists of the time. Brilliant debuts of the Russian artists of the seasons, brought together by the Diagilev's vibrant genius, have enriched the world with their magnificence of form and color. (from editorial review at Ozon).

Buy from Ozon.ru.

 

Textile

English

 

Soviet Costume and Textiles 1917-1945 by Tatiana Strizenova. Hardcover. 1991.

A comprehensive and very informative book on the design of textile and costume by Soviet artists. Large pictures, reconstruction photographs.

 

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Book Illustration

 

The Russian Avant-Garde Book 1910-1934 by Jared Ash, Nina Gurianova, Gerald Janecek, Margit Rowell, Deborah Wye, Natalia Goncharova, Kasimir Malevich, El Lissitzky, Alexander Rodchenko. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2002. Hardcover, clothbound, 304 pages.

Russian avant-garde books made between 1910 and 1934 reflect a vivid and tumultuous period in that nation's history that had ramifications for art, society, and politics. The early books, with their variously sized pages of coarse paper, illustrations entwined with printed, hand-written, and stamped texts, and provocative covers, were intended to shock academic conventions and bourgeois sensibilities. After the 1917 Revolution, books appeared with optimistic designs and photomontage meant to reach the masses and symbolize a rational, machine-led future. Later books showcased modern Soviet architecture and industry in the service of the government's agenda. Major artists adopted the book format during these two decades. They include Natalia Goncharova, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Olga Rozanova, the Stenberg brothers, Varvara Stepanova, and others. These artists often collaborated with poets, who created their own transrational language to accompany the imaginative illustrations. Three major artistic movements, Futurism, Suprematism, and Constructivism, that developed during this period in painting and sculpture also found their echo in the book format. This publication accompanied an exhibition of Russian avant-garde books at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. All of the books in the exhibition and this publication are part of a gift to the Museum from The Judith Rothschild Foundation. (editorial review from Amazon)

From the Silver Age to Stalin: Russian Children's Book Illustration. By Michael Patrick Hearn.  Paperback, 32 pages.  Publisher: Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 2003.
"We are privileged to host the exhibition of this extraordinary material, surveying Russian children's book illustration from the very end of the nineteenth century to the outbreak of World War II. It is all the more appropriate, since one of the central figures, Vladimir Lebedev, was so influential to Eric Carle's training as a graphic designer. In Russian terms, the exhibition covers the last years of rule under the tsars to the zenith of Stalin's ruthless power. As guest curator Michael Patrick Hearn observes, the beginning of this era marked a turning point in Russian cultural history when books and art began to be created and produced indigenously. Mindful of international currents, Russian book design embraced foreign sources while bringing its own aesthetic into play" (From "Acknowledgments," by H. Nichols B. Clark).
Stories for Little Comrades: Revolutionary Artists and the Making of Early Soviet Children's Books. By Evgeni Stein.  Hardcover, 214 pages.  Publisher: Univ of Washington Pr; First Edition edition, 1999. English.
 Provides some fascinating information about the subject and some stimulating insights into how revolutionary ideas about communal living, mechanisation, industrialisation, and international solidarity were expressed in the form and content of such literature."--Burlington Magazine, May 2001

Specific Techniques

English

 

Collage in Russia: XX Century (Hardcover) by David Bernstein. Palace Editions; illustrated edition, 2006. Hardcover, clothbound, 288 pages.

The publication includes essays by St. Petersburg and Moscow experts describing the uniqueness of development of collage in Russia and its history in the 20th century. The structure of the book contains the following sections: texture, applications, decoupage, assemblage, "rag paintings", photomontage, reproduction collage, objects and computer collage. The main distinctiveness of the publication is a detailed description of a technique of each work. This is an attempt to show the "formula of author's world-building". Many works are published for the first time. The catalogue is supplemented with biographies of artists. (editorial review from Amazon)

 

Architecture

English

 

The Lost Vanguard: Russian Modernist Architecture 1922-1932 by Richard Pare. Monacelli, 2007. Hardcover, 360 p.

Documents the work of modernist architects in the Soviet Union during the years following the 1917 revolution and civil war. In little more than a decade, some of the most radical buildings of the twentieth century were completed by a small group of architects who developed a new architectural language in support of new social goals of communal life. Rarely published and virtually inaccessible until the collapse of the Soviet regime, these important buildings have remained unknown and unappreciated.

Richard Pare's photographs reveal the powerful forms of these structures, some still in use but many now abandoned and decayed. Massive industrial complexes like the Dnieper River Dam and MoGES, which supplies electricity to the city of Moscow; vast communal houses for workers, including Ginzburg's Narkomfin; commercial buildings and government offices; and smaller clubs and theaters were all built in this brief period.

In an incisive essay, architectural historian Jean-Louis Cohen surveys the history of the period, providing a context for the emergence of this startling new architecture in parallel to contemporary experiments in Europe.

 

Russian

 

Ричард Пэр. Потерянный авангард. Русская модернистская архитектура 1922-1932. Фотоальбом. Издательство: Татлин, 2007 г. Суперобложка, 348 стр. (The lost avant-garde. Russian modernist architecture 1922-1932. Photoalbum. By Richard Pare. "Tatlin", 2007. Dust jacket, 348 p.)

Documentary evidence of the creative work of modernist architects in the Soviet Union in the period after the 1917 Revolution and the following civil war. The most radical buildings of the XXth century were built in less than a decade byt a small group of architects, who inveted a new architectural language for the new social goals of their modern life.

The book includes 73 buildings, from the Shabolovskaya radio tower in Moscow and up to the Lenin mausoleum. Buildings are presented from Ivenovo, Yekateringurg, Kiev, Kharkov, Zaporozhie, Nizhniy Novgorod, Sochi and Baku. (from editorial review by Ozon)

 

"...ism"s

 English

Russian Futurism, by Yevgenia Petrova (Author). Palace Editions, 2007. Hardcover, 240 p.

The subject of Russian Futurism is familiar only to experts, and based on highly limited material. No other movement appears to have evoked quite the same public response, having, as it does, social roots. Referred to as 'the art of the future' by the Russian press in 1908 - a year before the official appearance of the word - this book focuses on the works of some forty-two artistic 'revolutionaries' featuring vibrant examples of their work, which serve to inspire the imagination. The work of David Burliuk - central and original figure in the Russian Futurist movement - is featured alongside more than 200 colour reproductions of paintings by more than forty Futurists. Accompanied by critical and historical essays, a chronicle of events and artists' biographies. (editorial review from Amazon)

 

The Artist as Producer: Russian Constructivism in Revolution, by Maria Gough. University of California Press, 2005. Hardcover, 268 pages. English.

"The Artist as Producer confronts the problem of making a politics with art. Gough's balanced rigor in mining obscure archives on the one hand, while performing brilliant readings of recalcitrant artworks on the other gives her account of Constructivism's utopian promise and less-than-utopian outcome great texture. She has produced something very rare: an art-historical study that not only adds to our knowledge but captures the intense poignancy of modern art's serious ambition to undertake a revolution of--and with--form." (David Joselit, Professor, History of Art, Yale University)

 

Russian Modernism between East and West: Natal'ia Goncharova and the Moscow Avant-Garde by Jane Ashton Sharp. Cambridge University Press, 2006. Hardcover, 360 pages. English.

"A complex and erudite book, providing extensive primary material...The physical qualities of presentation and formal presentation of the text, notes, bibliography, index, and the copius illustrations are exemplary, and the book is a substantial contribution to scholarship on the Russian avant-garde."
(Alison Hilton, Slavic Review)

 

Abstraction in Russia by Yevgenia Petrova. Palace Editions, 2006. Hardcover, 812 pages. English.

Abstraction has long been acknowledged to be one of the key concepts in 20th century art. The artists of the Russian avant-garde, above all Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich, made a leading contribution to the birth and establishment of this exciting movement. This publication is the first attempt to bring together the wide range of materials reflecting the various paths trodden by artists working in non-objective forms in the 20th century. The album is based largely on the classical avant-garde paintings now in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, home to the world's most representative collection of the art of this period. Works created in the second half of the 20th century have also been contributed by the Tretyakov Gallery, many of the artists themselves and several private collectors. Artists of various generations are represented by some 1,200 works in two beautifully designed volumes. (editorial review at Amazon)

 

Political Economy of Socialist Realism, by Prof. Evgeny Dobrenko (Author), Jesse M. Savage (Translator). Yale University Press; 1 edition (October 16, 2007). Hardcover, 408 pages. English.

"This book by an internationally celebrated scholar of Soviet culture offers a uniquely rich and convincing account of how Socialist Realism was the pre-determining force in Stalinist discourse, shaping biological sciences and ‘scientific Communism’ as well as glossy magazines, official histories, narrative films, public exhibitions, and advertising. The eccentricities and paradoxes of a country where, as Dobrenko puts it, there was ‘a single need. The need to provide the spectacle of socialism,’ are everywhere on view. This fascinating study will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in Russian culture from the 1930s onwards" (Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford)

 

Russian

 

Е.Петрова, Русский футуризм. Антология. Издательство: Palace Editions, Государственный Русский музей, 2000 г. Суперобложка, 240 стр. (Russian Futurism. Antology. Palace Editions, 2000. Dust jacket, 240 p.)

The subject of Russian Futurism is familiar only to experts, and based on highly limited material. No other movement appears to have evoked quite the same public response, having, as it does, social roots. Referred to as 'the art of the future' by the Russian press in 1908 - a year before the official appearance of the word - this book focuses on the works of some forty-two artistic 'revolutionaries' featuring vibrant examples of their work, which serve to inspire the imagination. The work of David Burliuk - central and original figure in the Russian Futurist movement - is featured alongside more than 200 colour reproductions of paintings by more than forty Futurists. Accompanied by critical and historical essays, a chronicle of events and artists' biographies. (editorial review from Amazon)

 

Символизм в авангарде. Серия: Искусство авангарда 1910 - 1920-х годов. Антология. Издательство: Наука, 2003 г. Твердый переплет, 448 стр. (Symbolism in Avant-garde. Series: Avant-garde art of the 1910-1920s. Antology. "Nauka", 2003. Hardcover, 448 pages.)

This antology is dedicated to a special and specific problem of the relationship between symbolism and the avant-garde. The book analyzes on the one side, the symbolic origins of the avant-garde (the changing of 1900s-1910s); and on the other, the breaking of ideas of syblolism in the advanced avant-garde art (1910s-1920s).

Special attention was given to the classical artists of the avant-garde: K.Malevich, W.Kandinsky, P.Filonov and others, whose artistic biographies include a long and vivid symbolism stage. Similarly the art of N.Goncharova, M.Larionov, M.Verevkina... is viewed.

A separate section of the book includes essays, in which for the first time the reflection of the symbolism ideas are analized, the funstioning of the symbol in constructivism and suprematism. (from editorial at Ozon)

 

Poetry, literature

English

 

The Last Soviet Avant-Garde: OBERIU - Fact, Fiction, Metafiction (Cambridge Studies in Russian Literature). By Graham Roberts. Cambridge University Press; 1 edition, 2006. Paperback, 292 pages.

"Roberts' book is noteworthy for its thorough examination and reexamination of the aesthetic theories and practices of OBERIU against the background of Russian literary theories in the first few decades of this century. It is especially valuable for the comparatist interested in how those theories anticipate postmodern ones in the West. Roberts writes beautiful informed prose. Roberts' concise, detailed prose...relate to OBERIU ensure an enlightening read." (Canadian Slavonic Papers)

 

Russian Literature, Modernism and the Visual Arts (Cambridge Studies in Russian Literature), by Catriona Kelly, Stephen Lovell. Cambridge University Press; 1 edition, 2008. Paperback, 336 pages.

"The articles of Russian Literature, Modernism and the Visual Arts will be of interest to those who specialize in Russian modernism, and perhaps also to those who teach Russian culture and would like to add to their treatment of the arts during this exciting period...it is a wonderful book that belongs in any university library and that will provide hours of thought-provoking reading and viewing - the many illustrations complement the text as well, as befits a book on this subject." (Slavic and East European Journal)

 

Russian

 

От символистов до обэриутов. Поэзия русского модернизма. В 2 книгах. Книга 1. Антология. Издательство: Эллис Лак 2000, 2002 г. Суперобложка, 752 стр. (From Symbolism to Oberiuts. Poetry of Russian Modernism. In 2 volumes. Book 1. Antology. Ellis Lak, 2002. Dust Jacket, 752 pages.)

The first book of this antology includes the works of modernist poets of 1890-1920s. Collected together, these poems give a full idea of this stage of Russian modernist poetry, and its main directions: symbolism, akmeism and futurism. The poems are accompanied by short reviews about the authors. (from editorial review at Ozon)

 

От символистов до обэриутов. Поэзия русского модернизма. В 2 книгах. Книга 2. Антология. Издательство: Эллис Лак 2000, 2002 г. Суперобложка, 752 стр. (From Symbolism to Oberiuts. Poetry of Russian Modernism. In 2 volumes. Book 2. Antology. Ellis Lak, 2002. Dust Jacket, 752 pages.)

The second book of the antology is consists of the works of poets who were belonging to modernism flow, whose activity was in 1920s-early 1930s. Poems of authors who lived in the Soviet Union are given side by side with texts by Russian representatives from abroad. Many poems are published for the first time after a long period. (from editorial review at Ozon)

 

Поэты Серебряного века. Антология. Издательство: Эксмо-Пресс, 2004 г. Твердый переплет, 384 стр. (Poets of the Siver Age. Antology. "Eksmo Press", 2004. Hardcover, 384 pages.)

In the beginning of the XX century, poetry in Russian was considered "anouncing of times unheard of", as Blok has written. New poetical directions were born: symbolism, akmeism, futurism. A whole layer of Russian literary avant-garde was formed, whose vivid representatives were V.Mayakovsky, Z.Gippius, A.Bely, A.Blok, M.Kuzmin, V.Kamensky and many other poets, writers and artists of the Silver Age. (from editorial at Ozon)

 

Cinematography

 English

Kino: A History of the Russian and Soviet Film, by Jay Leyda. Princeton University Press; 3 edition, 1983. Paperback, 584 pages.

"The Battleship Potemkin", "By the Law", "Mother", "Earth", "Man With a Movie Camera", "Alexander Nevsky": Russia and the Soviet Union produced some of the greatest films the world has ever seen. Leyda has written a riveting history of the pioneers and artists who made these films. His acclaimed book tells the story of the industry that spawned them and the revolution that both inspired and crushed them. (editorial review from Amazon)

"The only work to give such a full and fluent survey of that great area of film production which has been both a stimulus and an enigma to the rest of the world." (The New York Times Book Review)

 

Dziga Vertov: Defining Documentary Film (KINO - The Russian Cinema). By Jeremy Hicks. I. B. Tauris, 2007. Paperback, 224 pages.

"…the first English-language monograph devoted entirely to the career of Russia’s greatest documentary filmmaker…a valuable contribution to English-language scholarship on early Soviet cinema and an important resource to all those of us who teach the history of Russian or documentary cinema…" (Anthony Anemone, Slavic and East European Journal)

 

Forward Soviet!: History and Non-Fiction Film in the USSR (Kino : the Russian Cinema Series). By Graham Roberts. I. B. Tauris, 1999. Paperback, 256 pages.

The first comprehensive account of Soviet documentary output during the years between the Great October Socialist Revolution and the Great Patriotic War. Drawing on previously closed State archives, Graeme Roberts re-views the great examples of Soviet and world non-fiction cinema and uncovers many fine and intriguing little-known films. He discusses the careers of men and women who made them, including Vertov, Shub, Medvedkin and Karmen and investigates the problems of analysis and context, while offering valuable insights into that context. A powerful demonstration of how the history of Soviet non-fiction film can give insight into the agencies that shaped Soviet history and culture. (editorial review from Amazon)

 

Harmony and Dissent: Film and Avant-garde Art Movements in the Early Twentieth Century (Film and Media Studies) by R. Bruce Elder. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2008. Hardcover, 540 pages.

R. Bruce Elder argues that the authors of many of the manifestoes that announced in such lively ways the appearance of yet another artistic movement shared a common aspiration: they proposed to reformulate the visual, literary, and performing arts so that they might take on attributes of the cinema. The cinema, Elder argues, became, in the early decades of the twentieth century, a pivotal artistic force around which a remarkable variety and number of aesthetic forms took shape.

To demonstrate this, Elder begins with a wide-ranging discussion that opens up some broad topics concerning modernity’s cognitive (and perceptual) regime, with a view to establishing that a crisis within that regime engendered some peculiar, and highly questionable, epistemological beliefs and enthusiasms. Through this discussion, Elder advances the startling claim that a crisis of cognition precipitated by modernity engendered, by way of response, a peculiar sort of “pneumatic (spiritual) epistemology.” Elder then shows that early ideas of the cinema were strongly influenced by this pneumatic epistemology and uses this conception of the cinema to explain its pivotal role in shaping two key moments in early-twentieth-century art: the quest to bring forth a pure, “objectless” (non-representational) art and Russian Suprematism, Constructivism, and Productivism. (editorial review from Amazon)

 

Film Posters of the Russian Avant-Garde, by Susan Pack. Taschen; Original edition. 1995. Hardcover, 320 pages. English.

Russian film posters of the 1920s and 1930s bear witness to the artistic creativity of the former Soviet Union in the years before Soviet Realism became the official art doctrine under Stalin. This book represents a survey of these works (Amazon editorial review).

 

Vsevolod Pudovkin: Classic Films of the Soviet Avant-Garde (KINO - The Russian Cinema) by Amy Sargeant. I. B. Tauris, 2001. Hardcover, 232 pages. English.

Leon Moussinac, surveying the Soviet cinema scene in 1928, proclaimed Pudovkin, Eisenstein, and Vertov as its leading triumvirate. Yet there has been too little published on Pudovkin’s significant work in Soviet cinema. Amy Sargeant’s welcome book on Pudovkin assesses his career and his films, including the well-known features The Mother and The End of St. Petersburg, exploring their style and the circumstances surrounding their production. She also looks at the production and reception of his writings on film technique and performance, both inside the Soviet Union and in the West.

 

 

 

Music

 

The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century. by Alex Ross. Farrar, Straus and Giroux; First Edition, 2007. Hardcover, 640 pages.

Anyone who has ever gamely tried and failed to absorb, enjoy, and - especially - understand he complex works of Schoenberg, Mahler, Strauss, or even Philip Glass will allow themselves a wry smile reading New Yorker music critic Alex Ross's outstanding The Rest Is Noise. Not only does Ross manage to give historical, biographical, and social context to 20th-century pieces both major and minor, he brings the scores alive in language that's accessible and dramatic.

Take Ross's description of Schoenberg's Second Quartet, "in which he hesitates at a crossroads, contemplating various paths forming in front of him. The first movement, written the previous year, still uses a fairly conventional late-Romantic language. The second movement, by contrast, is a hallucinatory Scherzo, unlike any other music at the time. It contains fragments of the folk song 'Ach, du lieber Augustin'--the same tune that held Freudian significance for Mahler. For Schoenberg, the song seems to represent a bygone world disintegrating; the crucial line is 'Alles ist hin' (all is lost). The movement ends in a fearsome sequence of four-note figures, which are made up of fourths separated by a tritone. In them may be discerned traces of the bifurcated scale that begins Salome. But there is no longer a sense of tonalities colliding. Instead, the very concept of a chord is dissolving into a matrix of intervals."

Armed with such a detailed aural roadmap, even a troglodyte--or a heavy metal fan--can explore these pivotal works anew. But it's not all crashing cymbals, honking tubas, and somber Germans stroking their chins. Ross also presents the human dramas (affairs, wars, etc.) behind these sweeping compositions while managing, against the odds, to discuss C-major triads, pentatonic scales, and B-flat dominant sevenths without making our eyes glaze over. And he draws a direct link between the Beatles and Sibelius. It's no surprise that the New York Times named The Rest Is Noise one of the 10 Best Books of 2007. Music nerds have found their most articulate valedictorian. - Kim Hughes (editorial review at Amazon)

 

Theory

English

 

Poetry of the Revolution: Marx, Manifestos, and the Avant-Gardes. By Martin Puchner. Princeton University Press; annotated edition, 2005. Paperback, 320 pages.

"From Marx and Engels' Communist Manifesto down to the avant-garde theatre of the present, the manifesto is, as Martin Puchner demonstrates in this dazzling, brilliantly original, and deeply learned book, 'an act of self-foundation and self-creation,' unique in its exhortation to action, not by means of lofty principles but through its artistic form. In its fusion of the political and the poetic as they coexist in twentieth-century movements from Futurism to Situationism, Poetry of the Revolution is one of the few indispensable studies of the avant-garde. In a very crowded field, it stands out, quite simply, as a classic." (Marjorie Perloff, author of "The Futurist Moment" and "The Vienna Paradox")


 

Russian

 

Эстетическое самосознание русской культуры. 20-е годы XX века. Серия: Русская культура XX века: избранные тексты. Издательство: РГГУ, 2003 г. Твердый переплет, 720 стр. (Aesthetic self-consciousness of Russian culture. The 20s of the XX century. Series: Russian culture XX century, selected texts. "RGGU", 2003. Hardcover, 720 pages.

This anthology presents a wide spectrum of material from the history of aesthetic thought in the Soviet period (1917-1932). It includes the poliphony of aesthetic concepts in the 1920s; the various interpretations on art, those defined before the revolutions as well as those born after October 1917.

It is constructed according to the internal logic of aesthetic debates of the 1920s, and includes essays fixing the 10s-20s artistic crisis; materials group around artistic discoveries and experiments of the period; representational fragments from works on art sociology; and works, opening the poetic of literature and art in the XX century.

 

History

English

 

The Cambridge Companion to Modern Russian Culture (Cambridge Companions to Culture) by Nicholas Rzhevsky. Cambridge University Press, 1999. Hardcover, 404 pages.

"...these wide-ranging and stimulating essays synthesize modern scholarship, provide useful material for the specialist, and serve as a helpful reference work for the reader already familiar with modern Russian culture."
(Robert C. Williams, Slavic Review)

"[The book] will be utterly useful and enjoyable for students and individuals with advanced knowledge of Russia as well as for Slavic scholars."
(Victoria Richter, Slavic and East European Journal)

 

Political Economy of Socialist Realism by Prof. Evgeny Dobrenko (Author), Jesse M. Savage (Translator). Yale University Press; 1 edition, 2007. Hardcover, 408 pages.

"Unsurpassed in its grasp of Stalinism and Stalinist culture, Dobrenko''s new book makes the convincing theoretical move of turning the categories of Stalinist thought against Stalinist cultural production. Rigorous in interpretation and research, challenging and persuasive."
(William Mills Todd III, Harvard University)

"This book by an internationally celebrated scholar of Soviet culture offers a uniquely rich and convincing account of how Socialist Realism was the pre-determining force in Stalinist discourse, shaping biological sciences and `scientific Communism' as well as glossy magazines, official histories, narrative films, public exhibitions, and advertising. The eccentricities and paradoxes of a country where, as Dobrenko puts it, there was `a single need. The need to provide the spectacle of socialism,' are everywhere on view. This fascinating study will be indispensable reading for anyone interested in Russian culture from the 1930s onwards."
(Catriona Kelly, University of Oxford)

 

Art of the Baltics: The Struggle for Freedom of Artistic Expression under the Soviets, 1945-1991 (Dodge Soviet Nonconformist Art Publication Series) by Alla Rosenfeld (Editor). Rutgers University Press, 2001. Hardcover, 488 pages.

Art of the Baltics is the first major survey of the development of modernist art in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania during the post-World War II Soviet period. The contributors discuss and reappraise the art of Baltic artists working in modernist styles. They argue that Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian art did not develop in similar ways. Estonia, for example, had closer contact with Scandinavian countries, while Lithuania clearly was part of central Europe and was more influenced by Poland. This book contains nearly three hundred illustrations-many in color-that serve to compare the art of the three Baltic countries. It also has three useful historical timelines that contextualize the art presented. In addition to historical overviews of each country, Art of the Baltics contains essays on the art of the region, written by both Baltic and American scholars. The articles extensively cover art of the 1960s through the 1980s, reflecting the Zimmerli Art Museum's holdings of the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. To round out the scope of this work, contributors also discuss the pre-Soviet art of the region, as well as the recent creative developments resulting from the independence these small countries gained in 1991. Art of the Baltics is published in conjunction with the exhibition The Art of the Baltics under the Soviets at The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. (from the back cover)

 

Soviet Culture and Power: A History in Documents, 1917-1953 (Annals of Communism Series). By Mr. Andrei Artizov (Compiler), Oleg V. Naumov (Compiler), Katerina Clark (Editor), Prof. Evgeny Dobrenko (Editor), Ms Marian Schwartz (Translator). Yale University Press, 2007. Hardcover, 576 pages.

"Joseph Stalin famously described Soviet writers as ''engineers of human souls.'' This remarkable collection of documents, laden with comedy and sheer stupidity as well as calculated repression, chronicles the Bolshevik government''s effort to control all cultural institutions and creative individuals. This is a story of compelling interest not only for Sovietologists but for anyone who wants to know what happens when a government treats culture as a long-term engineering project."
(-Susan Jacoby, author of Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism)

"Throws a bright light on the party''s torturous dealings with writers and on the inevitable conflict between art and propaganda. Perhaps the book''s biggest surprise is its revelation of Stalin as literary critic. Despite his onerous responsibilities as party chief, dictator and head of state, no detail seems to have been too small for Stalin''s eagle eye-a backhanded compliment if ever there was one to the awesome power of the written word."
(Michael Scammell, author of Solzhenitsyn: A Biography)

 

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