Celebrating Suprematism throws vital new light on Kazimir Malevich’s abstract style and the philosophical, scientific, aesthetic, and ideological context within which it emerged and developed. The essays in the collection, which have been produced by established specialists as well as new scholars in the field, tackle a wide range of issues and establish a profound and nuanced appreciation of Suprematism’s place in twentieth-century visual and intellectual culture. Complementing detailed analyses of The Black Square (1915), Malevich’s theories and statements, various developments at Unovis, Suprematism’s relationship to ether physics, and the impact that Malevich’s style had on the design of textiles, porcelain and architecture, there are also discussions of Suprematism’s relationship to Russian Constructivism and avant-garde groups in Poland and Hungary.
Mikhail Lifshitz is a major forgotten figure in the tradition of Marxist philosophy and art history. A significant influence on Lukács, and the dedicatee of his The Young Hegel, as well as an unsurpassed scholar of Marx and Engels’s writings on art and a lifelong controversialist, Lifshitz’s work dealt with topics as various as the philosophy of Marx and the pop aesthetics of Andy Warhol. The Crisis of Ugliness (originally published in Russian by Iskusstvo, 1968), published here in English for the first time, and with a detailed introduction by its translator David Riff, is a compact broadside against modernism in the visual arts that nevertheless resists the dogmatic complacencies of Stalinist aesthetics. Its reentry into English debates on the history of Soviet aesthetics promises to re-orient our sense of the basic coordinates of a Marxist art theory.