20 March 2013

Socialist Realism

Do not search for social realism - that's a completely different genre.  Socialist realism is a school of art that emphasizes the positive aspects of communism while blatantly ignoring the harsh reality.  If it wasn't propaganda, it would probably be called realism, but that's why it's called socialist realism.  Applebaum touches on the role of socialist realism (when will I stop referencing that book? idk) in the 1940s and 50s and how Stalin's preference for straightforward representations (i.e. not abstract) that glorified the struggle of peasants and the forward motion of socialism.  Similar to the "entartete Kunst" movement of Nazi past, socialist realism refused to recognize negativity of any kind.  Sad feelings do not a comrade make.  This applied across music, paintings/art of any kind, and writing.  The Soviet propaganda posters of WWII helped start the school of art and it progressed until it ossified during Stalin's reign of terror. (This is a great resource to search for posters and get a sense of the artistry.)

This website was the best example of socialist realism that I found (minus doing a general Google image search).  Take a gander and explore the wonder that is unrealistic socialist realism.  Smiling peasants, machinery, and agriculture.