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Cold War ModernistsArt, Literature, and American Cultural Diplomacy$
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Greg Barnhisel

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231162302

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231162302.001.0001

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Freedom, Individualism, Modernism

Freedom, Individualism, Modernism

(p.25) 1 Freedom, Individualism, Modernism
Cold War Modernists

Greg Barnhisel

Columbia University Press

This chapter traces the evolution of modernism's public image—how the American public understood it from the early twentieth century until World War II—with the aim of showing that as late as the 1940s the broad American public saw modernism as a threatening, foreign, and fundamentally antibourgeois movement. It then describes the cultural resonances and meanings of the key terms in the domestication of Cold War modernism—freedom and individualism—and sketches out the broad outlines of Cold War modernism's “other,” the officially mandated Soviet style known as “socialist realism”. Socialist realism was everything modernism was not, opposing experimentation and formalism and downplaying the individual artist, stressing instead art's role in helping the state and party achieve political and social goals.

Keywords:   Cold War modernism, American public, public image, freedom, individualism, Soviet Union, socialist realism

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