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Studies in East European Thought

, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 261–280 | Cite as

Totalitarianism and the problem of Soviet art evaluation: the Lithuanian case

  • Skaidra Trilupaityte
Article

Abstract

By taking into account dissident/political and art historical interpretations of Soviet art, I analyze how polemics about totalitarianism in the West, which generally corresponded with Cold War debates and Eastern European dissident thought, shaped the post-Soviet evaluations of national artistic legacies. It is argued that the political relationship with the totalitarian past, like in many post-socialist areas where the immediate past was subjected to radical re-evaluation, affected Lithuanian artists’ and critics’ attitude towards local Soviet art. Because of an obvious lack of underground art in Soviet Lithuania, however, the retrospective usage of political categories here became problematic. Especially in international representations, the complexities of artists’ relationship with officialdom came to be routinely assigned to the phenomenon of non-conformism; this eventually obfuscated the differences between the Lithuanian Soviet art context as somewhat different from the Russian case.

Keywords

Totalitarianism and art Evaluation of the Soviet legacy Art and morals National art under socialism Artistic freedom Artistic resistance Art market 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Culture, Philosophy and Arts Research InstituteVilniusLithuania

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