"for him Stalinism succeeds the avant-garde just as a guest accepts an invitation. Far from betraying the avant-garde, Stalin merely scuttled a transitional movement in order to fulfil on the grandest scale that movement’s goal of unifying art and politics. Much of the classical avant-garde, Russian and otherwise, had after all demanded, in reaction against the sterile autonomy of l’art pour l’art, ‘that art move from representing to transforming the world’: ‘Under Stalin the dream of the avant-garde was in fact fulfilled and the life of a society was organised in monolithic artistic forms.’ These forms, Groys concedes, were ‘of course not those the avant-garde itself had favoured’. Throughout he writes about Stalinist cultural policy with a hair-raising mixture of political neutrality and aesthetic appreciation."
Sunday Reading: Critics on the Classics
16 minutes ago