PRINT November 1988


The Art of Perestroika

IN THE LAST EIGHTEEN MONTHS, the situation of the Soviet avant-garde has undergone a significant transformation. Perestroika—the political and economic restructuring—has freed Soviet artists to exploit the many ways in which their situation remains unchanged, as they practice their dangerous and humorous elusions not only on the ministry of culture and its official adherents, and on one another, but now on the Western critics, curators, and buyers who are currently invading Moscow as well. What is most impressive is that the art’s change in disguise—from a seeming absence of meaning to a seeming excess of meaning—has drained neither its visual strength nor its political power.

Until recently—the date is vague because the change has been gradual—most of the artists in the self-acknowledging circle of the Soviet avant-garde constructed their artistic activity with the image of the ministry

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