19 January 2010

Outsider Images in the Soviet Twilight

American visitors to “Four Perspectives Through the Lens: Soviet Art Photography in the 1970s-1980s,” an exhibition at the Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum, may be surprised to discover that photography was not officially considered art in the former Soviet Union. It was regarded as a documentary tool at the service of Communist Party propaganda. 

Oddly, because of its outsider status, photography remained largely unregulated and uncensored, or at least less so than painting and sculpture. Soviet nonconformist artists made extremely clever, inventive use of the medium, crafting images that were formally experimental and socially aware.

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