Vision and Communism

Viktor Koretsky and Dissident Public Visual Culture

The companion to a major exhibit, a pathbreaking exploration of Soviet propaganda art through the work of Viktor Koretsky

“Within global capitalism’s burgeoning atmosphere of sex and death, the Soviet Bloc’s communist societies nurtured devotion to encyclopedias, museums, nineteenth-century novels, and popular science, as well as an official dedication to an atheistic, rational humanity. As such, this turned out to be the twentieth century’s most sustained dissident public visual culture.” —from Vision and Communism

In the last thirty years of the Soviet Communist project, Viktor Koretsky’s art struggled to solve an enduring riddle: how to ensure or restore Communism’s moral health through the production of a distinctively Communist vision. In this sense Koretsky’s art demonstrates what an “avant-garde late Communist art” would have looked like if we had ever seen it mature. Most striking of all, Koretsky was pioneering the visual languages of Benetton and MTV at a time when the iconography of interracial togetherness was still only a vague rumor on Madison Avenue.

Vision and Communism presents a series of interconnected essays devoted to Viktor Koretsky’s art and the social worlds that it hoped to transform. Produced collectively by its five editors, this writing also considers the visual art, film, and music included in the Smart Museum of Art exhibition Vision and Communism.


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