Saint Petersburg State University, Russia
The exhibition “Life and Being of the People of the USSR” organized by the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia was opened on May, the 3rd 1926 and appeared to be one of the largest Soviet expositions of the1920s. It became the extensive review of artworks created during target trips to different regions of the USRR and the demonstration of the first achievements in the art field after the October Revolution as well. The public criticism of the exhibition took place in Soviet periodicals in May and continued till November 1926. The opinions varied from the definition of AKhRR as “Russian painting Renaissance” to regarding it as an extreme “artistic conservatism”.
Consideration of the exhibition gradually turned into a discussion and then into polemic about more complicated problems connected with the path of development of the Soviet art and the AKhRR’s place in formulating the contemporary style of painting. The discussion revealed controversy in the state arts policy and opposite views of the People’s Commissar of Enlightenment and the Head of the Art Department of the same Commissariat was a perfect example.
The polemic about the 8th AKhRR Exhibition “Life and Being of the People of the USSR” gives opportunity to analyze the complex of problems connected with the necessity for reorganization in the field of Soviet art in the1920s and to answer the question about definition of the art of AKhRR as “Soviet Renaissance”.