Since 1978, Anders Åman has been researching, photographing, and documenting the architectural style known as Socialist Realism. In the midst of the current statue toppling, this book records in over 200 illustrations the government-planned buildings, cities, parks, and monuments from the Stalinist postwar period in Eastern Europe, providing a valuable record and analysis of the relation between architecture and the state in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and former East Germany.
Very little has been written on architecture and politics during the Cold War period for any country, and next to nothing is known about the architecture, or about state policies reflected in the architecture, of Eastern Europe. Åman not only illuminates these issues but also reveals the influence they had on the course of architectural history in the West.
Following an overview of the Stalinist era and the ideological spread of Socialist Realism, Åman investigates several buildings in detail monumental structures such as the Palace of Culture in Warsaw and Stalinallee in East Berlin - and the socialist cities of Stalinstadt, Nowa Huta, Sztálinváros, and Dimitrovgrad. Sketching the lives of eight selected architects, he illuminates how their profession was affected by Socialist Realism. Åman also takes up such
political works of art as the influential Polish painting "Pass me a brick!" and the Stalin monuments in Budapest and Prague, noting that even as history is being obliterated, Socialist Realism remains a key to understanding pictorial art and the built environment in Eastern Europe. He concludes with a discussion of how architecture is related to political ideologies.
Anders Åman is Professor of the History and Theory of Art at Umeá University, Sweden.
An Architectural History Foundation Book
About Anders Åman
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Published December 22, 1992
by The MIT Press.
History, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography, Professional & Technical.