Enduring Interest

Art and Totalitarianism, with Clare Cavanagh, Jacob Howland, Perry Link and James Pontuso

October 15, 2021

In this episode I speak with four previous guests on the podcast (Clare Cavanagh, Jacob Howland, Perry Link, and James Pontuso) and take up the question of the relationship between art and totalitarianism. We consider the fate of artistic inquiry and expression under totalitarian regimes both past and present. Why and how have totalitarian regimes sought to control all forms of art. How successful were and are such regimes in this effort? How have artists both past and present managed to elude their totalitarian masters and produce enduring works of art? In answering these and other questions, my guests draw on a range of examples from regimes such as the Soviet Union, Communist Poland and Czechoslovakia, and the People’s Republic of China. We conclude with some recommendations for authors and books—especially for those who might be taking up this subject for the first time.

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