Rare-These-Days Quote #61

“Constructivism demanded that every work speak plainly, and not mystify anyone. This was true of architecture, too: the building as declaration. Here is a design for the offices of the party newspaper Pravda. The problem was Lenin wasn’t interested in the avant-garde. He wanted a mass art. After him, Stalin, the terrible simplifier, made anything that wasn’t mass art a political crime. The Constructivists were, from his point of view, bourgeois formalists, little specks of useless free imagination in the great ocean of his new Russia. Some he killed, some he starved, and all of them he degraded, and state art went back to its original job – the narcissism of power.”

– Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New, Episode 2.

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