Esthetic Resistance - Nonconformist Art in Leningrad: Interview with Georgy Sokolov

June 29, 2022, 12 p.m. PDT


Aleksandr Arefiev,  Shelling, 1953, Gouache and watercolor on paper.

Since 1932, Soviet culture was under strict state control and determined by the rigid dogma of “socialist realism.” Art, culture, and other public expressions were heavily censored. But there were always artists who refused to comply and created in freedom. Tatyana Nikolskaya, a researcher of the Georgian and Russian literary avant-garde, coined the term “esthetic resistance,” referring to artists who did not adhere to the cultural norms and rules of the day. This resistance was not political, it was realized through artistic means. Sokolov will speak with the Wende's Chief Curator and Director of Programming about the esthetic resistance in Leningrad (present-day Saint-Petersburg) between the 1940s and the 1980s. 

Georgy Sokolov is an art historian who worked as a curator at the State Hermitage Museum, Saint-Petersburg, between 2013 and 2022. He wrote Unofficial Leningrad Art. Circle of Freedom (2021).

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