Anastasia S. KURLYANDTSEVA
State Tretyakov Gallery
10, Krymsky Val, Moscow, Russia, 117049
Research Fellow, Department of the Contemporary Art
ORCID: 0000-0002-9052-6780USA and USSR: the History of an Amazing Exhibition ExchangeAbstract:
The reciprocal close focus of the Soviet Union and the United States and the mutual interest of the two superpowers to each other in the 1950s – 1970s were conditioned by the realities of the Cold War, intense competition and counter-propaganda. Nevertheless, against the background of periodic escalation of conflicts associated with political divisions, between 1958 and 1979, agreements on cultural exchange were in force between the countries. They had been re-signing every two years until 1973. Both countries welcomed writers and poets, artists, scientists, athletes, students, ballet troupes, dozens of performance groups and orchestras, including the Bolshoi and Kirov Theaters, Sergei Obraztsov Puppet Theater, New York City Ballet, Benny Goodman Orchestra, Philadelphia and the New York Symphony Orchestras and many others. In the situation of the Cold War, the official cultural sphere was undoubtedly a testing ground for mutual propaganda, closely intertwined with political decisions taken at one time or another.
This article is focused on the history of Soviet-American art contacts in the 1950s – 1970s, built both within the framework of official cultural diplomacy of those years, and privately, through personal communication channels, namely, its specific aspect related to the history of exhibition practices in the 1970s.
From 1972 to 1979, an unprecedented exhibition exchange took place between the Soviet Union and the United States of America. Then, in seven years, seven large exhibitions from American and Soviet private and museum collections were shown in the museums of the USSR and the USA. So, for example, in the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and other Soviet museums were shown three exhibitions brought by personal agreement with the American businessman Armand Hammer, and four more – under a parity agreement with the Metropolitan Museum, the largest art museum in New York.
The article presents a brief chronology of cultural diplomacy and the Soviet-American exhibition exchange in the 1950s-1960s, as well as highlights the history of the 1970s in more detail.
cultural diplomacy, the Lacy–Zarubin agreement, exchange of exhibitions, Cold War, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Armand Hammer, United States Information Agency, socialist realism, avant-garde, unofficial art, era of stagnation.References:
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Kurlyandtseva, A. (2021). USA and USSR: the History of an Amazing Exhibition Exchange. International Journal of Cultural Research, 2 (43), 127–142. DOI: 10.52173/2079-1100_2021_2_127