Spring 2016

Visual Art of the Cold War

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-246  |  European Studies, as EUST-256  |  Russian, as RUSS-246


Michelle Maydanchik (Section 01)


(Offered as RUSS 246, ARHA 246, and EUST 256.)  This course will offer a comparative overview of how visual art developed in the Soviet Union, the United States, and the “two Germanys” within the intellectual and political climate that defined the Cold War (1947-1991). By considering how the conditions of artistic production and reception differed—and also sometimes converged—under democratic capitalism in the West and state socialism in the East, we will gain new perspectives on the intersection of art and ideology in the postwar period. Special attention will be given to debates concerning the relationships between collectivity and individuality; avant-gardism and kitsch; abstraction and realism; technology and the body; art and mass media; propaganda and activism; and consumption and leisure. We will conclude by discussing how the acceleration of globalization following the end of the Cold War has impacted recent art practice. Movements and paradigms to be covered include Socialist Realism, Abstract Expressionism, Pop Art, Sots Art, Fluxus, Situationism, Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Body Art, and Institutional Critique.

Spring semester. Visiting Professor Maydanchik.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016