Victor Margolin, The Struggle for Utopia

The utopian imagination as transformative in Russia (9)

Creating new objects for useful functions (Constructivists and Productivists) vs. facilitating the embodiment of ideals (Malevich and El Lissitzky) (10)

Rodchenko "maintained a materialist faith" in "material objects" that "did not evoke transcendent values" (10)

Lissitzky wanting to "embody a new consciousness by pointing to a state or condition outstide the limitations of contemporary lived experience" (10)

Sinskul'ptarkh and the fusion of architecture and sculpture (16) -- designed initially to address the housing problem

Reading Rodchenko's kiosks as representing a "set of political assumptions in their design that suggest a subordinate relation of the Soviet citizen to state power." (17)

The challenge of negotiating Lissitzky's status as a Jew (24-28)

UNOVIS (Affirmers of the New Art), Malevich, and Suprematism - "the decoration of trams and the creation of massive outdoor decorations to celebrate the anniversary of the Revolution" and "public walls, theater curtains, teacups and saucers, speakers' rostrums, and textiles, wallpaper, and book covers" (29)

the Prouns as "dialectical" (35)

Problems with a "simple political reading" of Of Two Squares (41)

Maxim Gorky, "Soviet Literature"

Representation of the masses and of labor

We must grasp the fact that it is the toll of the masses which forms the fundamental organizer of culture and the creator of all ideas, both those which in the course of centuries have minimized the decisive significance of labour – the source of our knowledge-and those ideas of Marx, Lenin and Stalin which in our time are fostering a revolutionary sense of justice among the proletarians of all countries, and in our country are lifting labour to the level of a power which serves as the foundation for the creative activity of science and art. To be successful in our work, we must grasp and fully realize the fact that in our country the social1y organized labour of semi-literate workers and a primitive peasantry has in the short space of ten years created stupendous values and armed itself superbly for defence against an enemy attack. Proper appreciation of this fact will reveal to us the cultural and revolutionary power of a doctrine which unites the whole proletariat of the world.

The relationship between the family and the state

The growth of the new man can be seen with especial c1arity among children, yet children remain quite outside literature’s sphere of observation. Our writers seem to consider it beneath their dignity to write about children and for children.

I believe I will not be mistaken in saying that fathers are beginning to show more care and tenderness for their children, which, in my view, is quite natural, as children for the first time in the whole life of mankind are now the inheritors not of their parents money, houses and furniture, but of a real and mighty fortune-a socialist state created by the labour of their fathers and mothers. Never before have children been such intelligent and stern judges of the past, and I quite believe the fact that was related to me of an eleven year-old tubercular little girl who said to the doctor in the presence of her father; pointing her finger at him: “It is his fault that I am ill. Till he was forty years old, he wasted his health on all sorts of bad women, and then married mama. She is only twenty-seven, she is healthy, and he – you can see how miserable he is, and I have taken after him.”

There is every reason to expect that such reasoning among children will be no uncommon thing.

Gender politics and "realism"

Reality is giving us ever more “raw material” for artistic generalizations. But neither the drama nor the novel has yet given an adequately vivid portrayal of the Soviet woman, who is distinguishing herself as a free agent in all spheres where the new socialist life is being built. It is even noticeable that playwrights are endeavouring to write as few women’s parts as possible. It is hard to understand why. Though woman in our country is the social equal of man, and though she is successfully proving the diversity of her endowments and the breadth of her capacities, this equality is all too frequently and in many ways external and formal. The man has not yet forgotten, or else he has prematurely forgotten, that for centuries woman has been brought up to be a sensual plaything and a domestic animal, fitted to play the part of “housewife.” This old and odious debt of history to half the earth’s inhabitants ought to be paid off by the men of our country first and foremost, as an example to all other men. And here literature should try to depict the work and mentality of woman in such a manner as to raise the attitude towards her above the general level of accepted middle-class behaviour, which is borrowed from the poultry yard.

Question of "Russification"

Further, I deem it necessary to point out that Soviet literature is not merely a literature of the Russian language. It is an All-Union literature. Since the literatures of our fraternal republics, distinguished from ours only by language, live and work in the light and under the wholesome influence of the same ideas which unite the whole world of the working people that capitalism has torn asunder, we obviously have no right to ignore the literary creation of the national minorities simply because there are more of us than of them. The value of art is gauged not by quantity but by quality. If we can point to such a giant as Pushkin in our past history, it does not follow from this that the Armenians, Georgians, Tatars, Ukrainians, and other peoples are incapable of producing great masters of literature, music, painting and architecture. It should be remembered that the process by which the entire mass of the toiling people is being re-born to “honest human life,” to the free creation of a new history, to the creation of a socialist culture, is developing rapidly throughout the length and breadth of the Union of Socialist Republics. We can see already that, with each advance, this process brings out more powerfully the latent abilities and talents that are concealed in this mass of a hundred and seventy mlliion people.

Matthew Cullerne Bown, Socialist Realist Painting

Role of cinematic aesthetic

Dialectical materialism becomes socialist realism - representing the "classless society"

Moscow as a model city - the importance of the metro (133)

The role of Gorky - ideas about gender as well as class

Assessing the value of paintings: subject, size, and artistic reputation - military and industrial subjects more valued and landscapes and still lifes less valued (136)

Need for an intelligentsia - "nurturing of high technical accomplishment" beginning early like ballet and musical performance (137)

Reducing division between intellectualism and manual work (142)

Romanticism in socialist realism, USSR as new Arcadia (143)

Idea of narodnost (145) - a work emanating from the people

The prehistory of the Peredvizhniki ("Wanderers" or "Itinerants") (145 & 153)

Other styles (like that of Filonov) as compatible with socialist realism (147)

Importance of Soviet history painting (153)

Portraiture as inspirational (157)

Control of Stalin's image (158)

Landscape painting by Moscow artiss (165)

An "affirmative art" with a "positive hero" (166)

Questions of gender (170-175)

Compositional devices that included the viewer (178)

Importance of light in this form of painting (181-183)

Limitations on art history (187)

The struggle against formalism and naturalism (189-195)