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In the discussion thread: The Origins of Socialist Realism. [View all]

Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #8)

Sun Apr 27, 2014, 09:42 AM

9. Well, "grotesque" might be a better word.

It's hard to think of Stalin, really, given his crimes against humanity, in any other way, other than to use the word, "grotesque," so you're definitely on to something.

Nevertheless there is a sardonic element to the painting, and my son and I couldn't help but laugh at the way they surrounded that, well, "grotesque" element of their painting, which of course is Stalin himself, with such a beautifully executed neoclassical element. Sometimes I think there is nothing one can do about a tragedy of that magnitude but to shake one's head and laugh. Or maybe our sense of humor borders on perverse.

Komar and Meland were apparently arrested for a sculpture they produced featuring both Lenin and Stalin while they still lived in the Soviet Union, apparently because the Soviet authorities of the time claimed the sculptures involved "ridicule." I have no idea whether the sculptures were destroyed. Probably. One of their works in the West had apparently been slashed - I forget which work and where it took place - by a Trotskyite. They refused to have the work repaired, calling the slasher a "collaborator" in the work.

Both artists, apparently, live in New Jersey now, although they no longer collaborate on works, but work independently. This work was the only one that was at the Zimmerli, but apparently they have works at the Modern in New York and other great museums. The next time I'm at the Modern, I'll look out for their stuff if it's on display.

They are very interesting artists in any case, and Russia's loss is America's gain.

I will post "In the Studio" in the future. I have to run to the library to do some research today, but I'll try to get it up soon.

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