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Janet Wolff

to do so. After the National Socialists took power, Louis Schwarz sponsored the immigration of his nephew, Albert, to New York. Albert, the son of Max’s and Louis’s brother Alfred, arrived in New York in 1938 at the age of fifteen. He was the only one of his immediate family to survive the Holocaust. Louis’s brother Max sponsored his niece, Eri – Leonie’s only child – who arrived in New York on the USS President Roosevelt on 31 July 1937, at the age of twenty-four. She found work as a baby nurse for a family, and in 1940 married William Cohen, another refugee

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

happened to the Jews there after the Nazi accession to power in January 1933. Those Jews who had not already left were, as I already knew from Leonie’s story, expelled into France on 22 October 1940, together with Jews from the Saar and from Baden. Many did not survive the war. The film focuses on particular families, including Leo and Meta Levy. And then their son, Claude Levy, appears on camera, arriving to meet the film’s presenter, Otmar Weber, at Strasbourg station. In his early eighties, he is instantly recognisable as the twenty-three-year-old young man in my

in Austerity baby
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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)
Yulia Karpova

.10 In her review of the Moscow Design Museum’s debut exhibition, the Swedish design historian Margareta Tillberg shifted the focus of her analysis from plagiarism and imitation to the affective power of Soviet objects: Even if Soviet design was often – but far from always – based on originals borrowed from the West, the individual objects exude a personal charm, variation, and quirkiness that makes them well worth preserving, exhibiting, and discussing. Certainly, one might think the Vyatka is merely an unnecessary repetition of the original Vespa, only heavier, of

in Comradely objects
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Soviet things that talk
Yulia Karpova

speakers. However, their ‘speech’ is possible only through the power of human agents – artists. Art infiltrates into everyday life through objects; objects affect everyday life through ‘speech’ composed by artists; artists educate society in aesthetics through objects. The interplay between art and the quotidian, between people and objects, described by Iaglova, has also informed recent developments in the humanities and social sciences. The ‘material-cultural turn’ that emerged in the mid-1980s in archaeology and anthropology converged with critiques in other social

in Comradely objects
Open Access (free)
Janet Wolff

, for my family or for anybody else who may be interested. [ 49 ] He is convinced, he goes on, ‘that the majority of Germans did not really care for Hitler, or for a long time did not take him seriously’, and he acknowledges that he was one of the optimists ‘who took events as they came, always deluding themselves that it wasn’t so bad’. Looking back, I don’t really regret my own optimism in those days, although later events proved me wrong, it was the only way to be reasonably relaxed and to carry on with the job. I was lucky because nobody who had the power took

in Austerity baby
Open Access (free)
Tania Anne Woloshyn

Ultra-violet radiation puts up the general resistance of the body to disease, and promotes good health and sexual power of citizens who by sedentary indoor lives during the winter have become depressed and out of condition […] Marasmic and delicate children may be made better, and mothers who cannot nurse their babies may be made

in Soaking up the rays
Yulia Karpova

-and-vital basis’ that had been no less than the ‘artistic intervention into human habitat’. Exhibited in glass cases, the contemporary objects were alienated, non-belonging and devoid of a consumer, Osmolovskii complained.15 This alienation, however, was explained not as an agency of objects beyond consumer culture – a thing-power, as Jane Bennett would describe it – but by the overgrown artistic ego. The artists now addressed their objects not to consumers but to exhibitions, that is, to themselves for the purposes of self-promotion: ‘Today, looking at a cup, KARPOVA

in Comradely objects
Open Access (free)
Tania Anne Woloshyn

In dealing with the effect of the Sun’s rays on our bodies we have to bear in mind that every good thing in this world, whatever its nature – everything we come to regard as a blessing – contains within itself the power of its own destruction, if misused , that is wrongly used, or abused , that is, used in excess. A drug may

in Soaking up the rays
Open Access (free)
Tania Anne Woloshyn

: Finsen a quarter of a century ago studied the influence of light on the skin. He made few and simple experiments, but they were devised, performed and interpreted with an unerring instinct rightly termed genius. In one of his experiments he exposed his white and unpigmented forearm to the light from a 40,000 candle-power arc-lamp at a distance of 50 centimeters for ten minutes

in Soaking up the rays