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Design and material culture in Soviet Russia, 1960s–80s
Author: Yulia Karpova

The major part of this book project was funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 700913.

This book is about two distinct but related professional cultures in late Soviet Russia that were concerned with material objects: industrial design and decorative art. The Russian avant-garde of the 1920s is broadly recognised to have been Russia’s first truly original contribution to world culture. In contrast, Soviet design of the post-war period is often dismissed as hackwork and plagiarism that resulted in a shabby world of commodities. This book identifies the second historical attempt at creating a powerful alternative to capitalist commodities in the Cold War era. It offers a new perspective on the history of Soviet material culture by focusing on the notion of the ‘comradely object’ as an agent of progressive social relations that state-sponsored Soviet design inherited from the avant-garde. It introduces a shared history of domestic objects, handmade as well as machine-made, mass-produced as well as unique, utilitarian as well as challenging the conventional notion of utility. Situated at the intersection of intellectual history, social history and material culture studies, this book elucidates the complexities and contradictions of Soviet design that echoed international tendencies of the late twentieth century. The book is addressed to design historians, art historians, scholars of material culture, historians of Russia and the USSR, as well as museum and gallery curators, artists and designers, and the broader public interested in modern aesthetics, art and design, and/or the legacy of socialist regimes.

Open Access (free)
Tania Anne Woloshyn

Prime Minister David Lloyd George that ‘You cannot maintain an A1 Empire with a C3 nation’, military terms of fitness (A1) and unfitness (C3) for combat were extended to the public realm. 6 Raising the standard of health became a national imperative, exacerbated by the catastrophic losses of the First World War. The public were encouraged to build up a ‘healthy tan’ progressively, avoiding sunburn, as a protective measure in popular

in Soaking up the rays
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

grandparents’ house in Fraulautern. Like its neighbours in France, Alsace and Lorraine, the Saarland has had a complicated history of national affiliation, before and during the twentieth century. Through the nineteenth century the region was divided between France, Bavaria and Prussia, before being incorporated into the German empire in 1871. After the First World War French troops occupied the Saar. From an online encyclopaedia: The Saar Territory came into existence as a political unit when the Treaty of Versailles (1919) made it an autonomous territory, administered by

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

the Austro-Hungarian Empire. In fact Gertler was born in London, in 1891, but the family returned to Galicia before he was one year old, returning to London, this time for good, in 1896. Probably the idea of a family connection is a myth. In any case, I recall reluctance even to discuss it, because of Mark Gertler’s perceived bohemianism and his association with those immoral members of the Bloomsbury Group. By all accounts, my grandmother, who was quite beautiful, was rather spoiled, first by her parents, then by her two younger sisters, Mary and Rosie, and later

in Austerity baby
Yulia Karpova

); Ghislane Hermanuz, ‘Outgrowing the Corner of the Kitchen Table’, in Joan Rothschild and Alethea Cheng (eds), Design and Feminism: Re-Visioning Spaces, Places, and Everyday Things (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999), pp. 67–84; Victoria de Grazia, Irresistible Empire: America’s Advance through Twentieth-Century Europe (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006); Susan E. Reid, ‘The Khrushchev Kitchen: Domesticating the Scientific-Technological Revolution’, Journal of Contemporary History 40.2 (2005), 289–316. Ruth Oldenziel and Karen

in Comradely objects
Yulia Karpova

Fragments (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 94–136; Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (New York: Zone Books, 1995). Kristin Roth-Ey, Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire That Lost the Cultural Cold War (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011), p. 2. Stephen Lovell, The Russian Reading Revolution: Print Culture in the Soviet and Post-Soviet Eras (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 15–21. Bourdieu, Distinction, p. 56. Osip Brik, ‘V Proizvodstvo!’, LEF 1 (1923), 105. Komsomol’skaia Pravda, 4 November 1928, quoted in

in Comradely objects