Kirill Chunikhin | Journal of Cold War Studies
After World War II, Soviet institutions organized many exhibitions of the American artist Rockwell Kent that bypassed the U.S. government. Promotion of Kent’s work in the USSR was an exclusively Soviet enterprise. This article sheds new light on the Soviet approach to the representation of U.S. visual art during the Cold War. Drawing on U.S. and Russian archives, the article provides a comprehensive analysis of the political and aesthetic factors that resulted in Kent’s immense popularity in the Soviet Union. Contextualizing the Soviet representation of Kent within relevant Cold War contexts, the article shows that his art occupied a specific symbolic position in Soviet culture. Soviet propaganda reconceptualized his biography and established the “Myth of Rockwell Kent”—a myth that helped to legitimate Soviet ideology and anti-American propaganda.