Christina Kiaer, associate professor of art history, Northwestern University. Sponsors: Avant-Garde Interest Group, Department of History of Art, CREES.
The works of the Soviet painter Aleksandr Deineka made between 1935 and 1938 offer a focused case study of the development of Soviet Socialist Realism. In spite of the extreme repressions of this period of the Great Terror, Deineka and other official cultural producers repeatedly stated, and revealed through their works and actions, their conviction that they were engaged in a revolutionary, even avant-garde cultural project: the chronicling and producing of a non-capitalist form of modernity. This paper addresses the tensions in the notion of “totalitarian art” and the nature of the pictures that fall under its designation.
Christina Kiaer is the author of Imagine No Possessions: The Socialist Objects of Russian Constructivism (MIT Press, 2005). She also co-edited with Eric Naiman Everyday Life in Early Soviet Russia: Taking the Revolution Inside (Indiana University Press, 2005), in which her essay “Delivered From Capitalism: Nostalgia, Alienation and the Future of Reproduction in Tret’iakov’s I Want a Child! ” appeared. She served as consultant curator on the 2009 exhibition “Rodchenko and Popova: Defining Constructivism” at the Tate Modern Museum in London. Her current research focuses on the problem of Soviet Socialist Realism within the history of modern art, and she teaches twentieth-century art, specializing in Russian and Soviet art, the politics of the avant-garde, and feminist theory and art. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1995.