Monthly Archive: February 1999

Idea Against Materia: On the Consumption of Post-Soviet Art

No matter how much it wanted to escape into the sanctuary of beauty, art had to serve in the war between communism and capitalism. Both in the former Soviet Union and in the West, the rhetoric of art criticism was laced with ideological animosity.

Soviet art criticism formulated the conflict in terms of the difference between life and death, no more and no less. Since the early 1930s, these tropes were used to defend the virtues of realism against the threat of modernism and abstraction: if “their” art was about expression, individualism, and therefore morbid and decaying, “our” art would … Read more

Behind the Screen: the New Russian Media

Should we be surprised that as the new computer-based media expand throughout the world, intellectual horizons and aesthetic possibilities seem to be narrowing? If one scans Internet-based discussion groups and journals from London to Budapest, New York to Berlin, and Los Angeles to Tokyo, certain themes are obsessively intoned, like mantras: copyright; on-line identity; cyborgs; interactivity; the future of the Internet. This follows from the Microsofting of the planet, which has cast a uniform digital aesthetics over national visual cultures, accelerating the globalization already begun by Hollywood, MTV, and consumer packaging: hyperlinks and cute icons, animated fly-throughs, rainbow color palettes, … Read more