The Soviet Social Realism of Geli Korzhev

Raising the Banner: The Art of Geli Korzhev,” The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis, MN. Through Jan. 5.

Marianne Combs of Minnesota Public Radio reports: “Geli Korzhev’s most critically acclaimed work was painted in the ’50s and ’60s, at the end of Stalin’s reign. As a socialist realist painter, his art was supposed to glorify the common worker, by presenting his or her life and work as admirable, no matter how much they suffered. In one of his most famous paintings, ‘Raising the Banner,’ a determined man picks up the red flag of a fallen soldier and replaces him in battle. In an interview, Korzhev said the painting was not inherently political. ‘I depicted a heroic act common to all mankind, not a specific action of a communist,’ said Korzhev. “Personally I share the ideas of communism, therefore I called the painting the way I did, but the painting itself isn’t about communism, it is about a heroic act. The flag could be any color.'”

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