Sunday, December 07, 2008

Updating socialist realism

Back in the dark days of the Soviet Union, realism was the only artistic genre encouraged by the regime, and Nikita Khruschev famously disparaged abstract art during exhibitions of Soviet artists. Which is why this post in Peter Smith's Bike Blog made me laugh.

Socialist Realism is back, revived by the city's bike people! That isn't really surprising, given the political zeal of the bike people, who also see themselves as an oppressed class. (Cyclists of the world, rise up! You have nothing to lose but your bike chains!) Whereas Soviet artists could face actual economic and political penalties from the Soviet regime, the bike artists in SF are voluntarily embracing the politically motivated, philistine genre, though adding decorative touches to representations of their primary fetish that wouldn't have passed muster even in the workers paradise in days of yore.

More Bike Art here.

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At 12:22 AM, Blogger j said...

why the hate Rob? it's just art isn't it? but then art frequently can be a Rorschach test revealing one's irrational fears and hatred. (p.s. that's you) now you're really coming off like a grumpy, out-of-touch, OLD man.

At 10:09 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why do you bike people see criticism as "hate"? Maybe your upbringing included too much self-esteem boosting. "Just art"? Yes, but, as you note, your reaction and/or production of art can be revealing. I admit that I'm out of touch with the great, all-embracing bicycle movement that's sweeping our aesthetically---and graffiti is art!---and intellectually infantile political community.


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