“Russ Chief Secretly Fancies Art”

“Russ chief secretly fancies art”! So screamed a headline in the Milwaukee Sentinel on 29 January 1983. The “Russ chief” in question was Soviet politician Yuri Andropov, who on 12 November 1982 succeeded Leonid Brezhnev to become the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union – and therefore leader of the USSR. According to the newspaper report, which quoted the Times of London, Andropov … Continue reading “Russ Chief Secretly Fancies Art”

Recommended: Zimmerli Art Museum

New Jersey is the unlikely home of the world’s largest collection of Nonconformist Soviet art. Since 1991 the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, has hosted Norton T. Dodge’s incomparable collection of underground art, smuggled out of the USSR between the Khrushchev Thaw and Glasnost. The incredible story of the economics professor who became the saviour of unofficial Soviet art is the subject … Continue reading Recommended: Zimmerli Art Museum

Exhibitions of the Month: From Germany to Lenin

This month sees the closure of the British Museum’s chronicle of Germany, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Germany: Memories of a Nation is an ambitious retrospective, attempting to tell 600 years of history through objects in a single room. The country’s difficult Cold War history, divided between the Soviet-backed German Democratic Republic and the Westernised Federal … Continue reading Exhibitions of the Month: From Germany to Lenin

The CIA Comic Book Airdropped Over Grenada

Operation Urgent Fury, the controversial US-led invasion of Grenada, concluded with a decisive victory for the United States on 15 December 1983. The Reagan administration claimed that this action, the country’s first major military operation since the end of the Vietnam War, was launched in response to appeals for help by Grenada’s neighbouring islands. However, it has also been widely argued that the campaign was … Continue reading The CIA Comic Book Airdropped Over Grenada

Recommended: Cold War Bunkers – East and West

Recently the public got its first glance inside Albania’s most important Cold War era bunker, located just outside the Albanian capital of Tirana. Built 100m below ground between 1972 and 1978, the top secret complex boasts 106 rooms over five storeys. It also features a bedroom with red satin sheets for former communist dictator Enver Hoxha, as the bunker was intended to house the government … Continue reading Recommended: Cold War Bunkers – East and West

Exhibition of the Month: Post Pop: East Meets West

The Saatchi Gallery in London seeks to build on its successful exhibitions of recent Russian and Chinese art – including 2008’s The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art and 2012’s Breaking the Ice: Moscow Art, 1960–80s – with a show that combines the two. While the title of Post Pop: East Meets West suggests the two sides of the former iron curtain joining in a shared … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Post Pop: East Meets West

Recommended: Moscow’s Graveyard for Soviet Monuments

The so-called New Tretyakov, the Krymsky Val branch of Moscow’s premier art museum, is a treat in itself for the Cold War enthusiast. Housing the gallery’s collection of 20th century art, it contains many iconic Russian paintings and sculptures, from revolutionary abstraction to Socialist Realism. But for something altogether more quirky, visitors should venture outside. The fact you are there invited to connect to the … Continue reading Recommended: Moscow’s Graveyard for Soviet Monuments

Exhibition of the Month: Beyond Zero

For the rest of this month, the dreams of the Soviet space programme are alive in London. In the exhibition Beyond Zero the Calvert 22 gallery explores how Russian artists have been inspired by man’s evolving engagement with the cosmos. The works featured in the exhibition date from the 1930s to the present day, showing how artists have continued to challenge the conventions of time … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Beyond Zero

Featured Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

A worthy analysis of the impact of the Cold War on Robert Rauschenberg warrants more than a single post. The American pop artist frequently chronicled major geopolitical events resulting from the clash between competing superpowers, as well as commenting on the daily tensions of life in the shadow of the mushroom cloud. Perhaps the most obvious is his series of prints entitled Soviet/American Array, produced … Continue reading Featured Artist: Robert Rauschenberg

Exhibition of the Month: Monument to Cold War Victory

Although the most sustained and influential conflict of the twentieth century, the Cold War has no publicly-commissioned commemoration in the United States. Two years ago, one artist took that fact as inspiration for a fascinating conceptual project. In November 2012 Yevgeniy Fiks, along with curator Stamatina Gregory, formed the Committee for Tacit History. In a nod to the 1952 competition for a Monument to the … Continue reading Exhibition of the Month: Monument to Cold War Victory