Angelina Lucento

Humanities Initiative Fellow
Art History
Project Title: 
Realism and the Birth of Socialist Political Media: Art, Politics,and Communication in the Soviet Sphere, 1918-1932
Project Abstract: 

This research project "Realism and the Birth of Socialist Political Media: Art, Politics, and Communication in the Soviet Sphere, 1918-1932" describes the political, historical, and philosophical factors that contributed to the turn to figurative realism in Soviet visual art. Through an analysis of previously unknown archival documents and images, I show that this turn was supported by diverse, and often opposing, factions of politically engaged visual artists, including the members of the avant-garde. I argue that these artists developed radical theories of communication, in which visual images would serve as catalysts to critical thought and the enunciation of ideas by willful political subjects within networked collectives. I demonstrate the crucial role that Ivan Matsa, a Hungarian art historian and political theorist and Béla Uitz, a Hungarian Constructivist, played in the development of these theories. I also elucidate the theories' impact on the development of Soviet official visual culture and early twentieth century socialist politics.

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