The Secret History of Totalitarian ArtIssue: Fall 1991
Igor Golomstock, Totalitarian Art in the Soviet Union, the Third Reich, Fascist Italy, and the People's Republic of China (London: Collins Harvill, 1991). 416 pp., L(pound symbol)30.
Art, its practitioners are wont to remind us, prefigures the future. As they watch their works disappear from museums and their state collapse into the rubble of communism, the official artists of Eastern Europe must be asking themselves what happened to their future, and where they went wrong. Since to a man and a woman they were zealous opponents of abstraction and "bourgeois formalism," they would be surprised to learn that part of the answer lies in the links between avant-garde painting and totalitarian art.