Other Art

Independent, unofficial, non-conformists, art dissidents, the artists of the 60s - the representatives of the oppositional trend of postwar artists were called like that. First of all, they were the representatives of the artistic environment that did not share the principles of socialist realism in art. They tried to find their way in art and were passionately experimenting with form and technique. Hence, the “stigma” of this kind of art from the authorities sounded like “conventionality” and “formalism”.


Yes, it was unofficial and independent, original, “other art”. However, the time frame of this artistic phenomenon was much broader than the concept of the “sixties”. Because, already in the 50s Ernest Neizvestny, Oscar Rabin, successfully worked with new forms. And brilliant works were created by A. Zverev during the years of Stalin’s rule.

In the sixties there was a total surge of talents of the Soviet underground. This amazing time is marked by a general rise of a culture. Artists with their creative researches were far from alone. On public stages, the poems by Yevtushenko and Voznesensky sounded, brilliant performances by G. Tovstonogov were performed at the Bolshoi Theater, Lyubimov worked on Taganka and the theater “Sovremennik” was at the peak of its glory. A. Tarkovsky’s art excited a viewer and did not leave anyone indifferent. Unofficial artists expressed themselves and new phenomena of life in non-traditional subjects for a painting and interpretations. They were looking for ways to display reality in non-standard and innovative techniques of painting, drawing and sculpture.

The time of “thaw” was completed by the beginning of the 1970’s, but in the movement of non-conformism occurred its own events. In 1974, the first exhibition in Izmailovo was held, permitted by the authorities. For the first time, this unusual and brave “other art” became available to a mass audience. In the 1970s such a phenomenon as social art appeared, associated with the names of a young and audacious duet (A. Melamid and V. Komar). They challenge the authorities, ideology and liberal values ​​at the same time.

In the late 70's and early 80's, it’s difficult to imagen an event in the art world without unofficial art represented by the names known and completely new.

Thus, “the time of the artists of the sixties” was noticeably stretched. It would be more correct to define the period of non-conformism with a conditional framework from the early 1950s to the mid-1980s.

In the first years of 1980s, this phenomenon in art became generally accepted, widely propagandized and in demand. And the very name of “non-conformism” lost the meaning, the “relevance of confrontation” disappeared.

At the same time, interest to the specified period did not disappear. In these years a large number of personal exhibitions were held in Russia and abroad. In the light of current events and changes, the attention of the public to individual ideas and historical interpretations increased the demand for the acquisition of “artifacts of the outgoing era”. Prices rose noticeably at the exhibitions-auctions, many new art works appeared. Art of the sixties begins to be perceived on the art market as a promising investment. The laws of market economy and the rules of the art market come into force.

The epoch of not official art was a time of hope and accomplishments, and a challenge. Ambitious search in many ways justified themselves and created a biography of a whole generation, proudly calling themselves   the representatives of “other art”!

The author of the article - Elena Sidorova (culturologist and art-coach)