Robert Rauschenberg's exhibition in Moscow in 1989--the first one-man show by a modern American artist in the Soviet Union--was touted in both the United States and the Soviet Union as emblematic of the radical reforms under way in the USSR and even of the end of the Cold War. This article assesses the role of the 1989 exhibition in the cultural Cold War waged by the two superpowers: Rauschenberg's ultimate success in Moscow was prefaced by the heavy promotion of his work in the 1960s and early 1970s by the U.S. Information Agency. An analysis of the political and cultural context in which the exhibition was negotiated and carried out reveals that the choice of Rauschenberg and his project affirmed a fundamentally conservative vision of glasnost and "new thinking" in the Soviet art world. Thus the official embrace of Rauschenberg in the Soviet Union should be understood as a compromise. Individuals within the Soviet cultural hierarchy recognized that an exhibition of his work could potentially satisfy ideological demands being made on both sides of the Iron Curtain.


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pp. 27-43
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