Duck Duck Book


61 – soviet textiles
06.10.2009, 12:02 am
Filed under: art & entertainment

Soviet textiles : designing the modern utopia : selected from the Lloyd Cotsen Collection / Pamela Jill Kachurin.
Boston : MFA Publications ; New York : Trade distribution : Distributed Art Publishers/D.A.P., c2006. [MCL call number: 746.0947 K11s 2006; one copy, one hold]

Oh, it’s so easy to understand the pull of the Soviet dream of a workers paradise when looking at the cream of socialist-realist art/propaganda.  Handsome tractors surging across uniformly fruitful fields, little stylized children in geometric smocks playing ball, gracefully belching smokestacks; all are repeated in bright, modern colors across expanses of plain, honest cotton fabric.  The world depicted here is productive and prosperous.  Children have time for play as well as learning, adults find joy in shared work; and no one knows want or cold or psychological despair.

In the brief period from about 1927 to 1933, Soviet designers engaged in a bold experiment — rather than continue to produce the floral patterns that had always been popular, they designed fabrics featuring collective farms and factories and their generous product, and other modern ideals.  The notion was that these assertively socialist textiles, provided for everyday use, would help to radicalize and educate the population at large. Soviet Textiles provides a terse, cogent history of this movement, its origins, and its demise — gracefully illustrated, of course, with images of an idealized art deco cotton utopia on nearly every page.

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