If life was hard for all under the Soviet regime, how much more difficult was it to be a dissident artist? For those who did not belong to the dominant school of Socialist Realism, it could be a life of great risk. Often forced to scavenge for materials to use in paintings and sculptures, these artists led both a sometimes dangerous, illicit underground life, as well as an acceptable public life. In Soviet Dissident Artists, Renee Baigell and Matthew Baigell interview nearly fifty former dissident artists to better understand their struggles under Soviet rule and their desires to maintain their sense of inner freedom.
In these probing interviews, the artists chronicle their hardships and their friendships under the old Communist regime from the 1950s to the 1980s. They relate their confrontations with the KGB and other government organizations––sometimes with tragic consequences––and how they managed to survive and create subversive work in their spare time. Recording experiences largely unknown to Western artists, these interviews describe one of the great heroic stories of the last half of the twentieth century.