I’m not sure how I came across Nudes: The Art of the Soviet Union. But what interested me about the book was the curiosity to see if there was a difference between art created in a communist society versus a capitalist system. Can you tell if people are from from behind the iron curtain once they are stripped bare?
Selling goods and services by using images of women is a casual thought in the West. So much so that an air conditioning company had no problem with using an image with the phrase “your wife is hot“.
So, is it true that art created in the Soviet Union was more egalitarian than what was being created over here?
Turning the pages of the book shows how wrong that assumption would be. There are plenty of women in this collection of works that show women in very submissive, seductive poses. Having said that, there are also pieces which depict women exercising. Men too are shown exercising. I don’t know enough about the history to say for sure that the imagery of the physically fit men and women are part of the propaganda during that time.
Having one book on the subject doesn’t make me an expert and drawing firm conclusions from this single source would be very foolish indeed.