Cover n. 24, 1962. Source: Samizdat Collections, University of Toronto.

“Iskusstvo kommuny” [The art of the commune]

Dates: 15 September 1962-16 March 1963

Place of publicaton: Moscow

Editorial board: Vitalii Gribkov, Iurii Freidin, Vladimir Petrov, Lev Melamid

Total number of issues: 14

Founded by a group of Moscow students (Vitalii Gribkov, Vladimir Petrov – later both editors of “Metki” – and Lev Melamid), the periodical, published almost fortnightly mainly contained essays of a theoretical-literary nature written, though often unsigned, by Petrov and Iurii Freidin (also a writer for “Metki”).
The title “Iskusstvo kommuny”, was borrowed from the magazine edited by Osip Brik, Nikolai Punin and Natan Al’tman, published by the Narkompros figurative arts section in Petrograd between 1918 and 1919 in 19 issues; the logo on the cover was a reference to copies of the original “Iskusstvo kommuny” from the late 1910s. In homage to the original, the first issue of the new Iskusstvo kommuny” was numbered no. 20 (dated 15 September 1962).
The aims of the magazine were to reflect on the meaning of ‘new art’ and to determine new instruments and methodologies for the study of poetry and prose, especially contemporary works, taking into consideration Soviet artistic experiences, but also Western ones, especially the beat culture, which had become part of Russian cultural society (the article Pust’! (Russkie bitniki) in issue 30, February 1963 talks, in fact, of ‘Russian beatniks’; cf. Parisi 2013: 179).
In the anonymously written articles, Poeziya segodnyashnego dnya (Today’s Poetry) in the first issue of 15 September 1962 and Neobkhodimosti teorii (The Need for Theory) in the third and fourth issues of 13 and 27 October 1962, the author – probably Petrov or Freidin – considers why art needs to be studied from a theoretical point of view (in reply to an article by V. Meilakh’s article published in “Literaturnaia gazeta” in October 1962) and why there is a need for the analysis of contemporary poetry with reference to the young writer Andrei Voznesenskii. The author argues that, through Voznesenskii’s poetry, it is possible to understand the formal and aesthetic characteristics of the new generation of poets, eager to recover and renew tradition (cf. ibid.).
Articles were published without an index (only on the last page of issue 27 of 1962 and issue 33 of 1963 are the complete indexes of nos. 20-27 and 28-33 given) and were presented and discussed on Saturday evenings, when meetings took place between various guests invited by Petrov and Freidin.

Notes: The journal can be consulted online at the Samizdat Collection of the University of Toronto. Original copies are kept at the Research Centre for East European Studies at the University of Bremen.

Giuseppina Larocca
[30th June 2021]

Translation by Iris Karafillidis


  • Parisi P., Il lettore eccedente. Edizioni periodiche del samizdat sovietico. 1956-1990, Il Mulino, Bologna 2013: 175-181.

To cite this article:
Giuseppina Larocca, Iskusstvo kommuny, in Voci libere in URSS. Letteratura, pensiero, arti indipendenti in Unione Sovietica e gli echi in Occidente (1953-1991), a cura di C. Pieralli, M. Sabbatini, Firenze University Press, Firenze 2021-, <>.
eISBN 978-88-5518-463-2
© 2021 Author(s)
Content license: CC BY 4.0