Never before translated into English, The Crisis of Ugliness has long since enjoyed cult status among Russian readers as the most provocative polemic against modernism to emerge from Soviet philosophy and art criticism in the twentieth century.
This collection of essays is the mature work of the aesthetic philosopher and “Marxist conservative” Mikhail Lifshitz, a towering figure in the intellectual culture of the 1930s. Known in the English-speaking world for his Philosophy of Art of Karl Marx (New York, 1938), he survived both terror and war to come back out of relative obscurity in the 1960s with a scathing critique of modernism, whose cultural logic of negation and place in consumerist society Lifshitz attacked using his relatively privileged access to Western scholarship to flesh out aesthetic principles gleaned in a pioneering reading of Marx and Hegel some thirty-five years before.
This publication was funded by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow as part of its Field Research project ‘If our soup can could speak…’, a three-year research project on Mikhail Lifshitz and his role in the Soviet Sixties.
Translated and with an Introduction by David Riff.
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