May 30, 2013 at 9:01 am
Today's New York Times devotes more than two full pages of newsprint in its Home section, including 16 photographs, to covering an apartment in Russia that has been decorated in what the newspaper calls "Stalin Empire Style."
There's some attempt made to acknowledge that Stalin wasn't exactly an admirable figure, including this passage:
He is quick to clarify that he is no Stalin sympathizer. "Stalinism is repulsive, like Fascism," said Mr. Bobovnikov, who decided to use the apartment as a place to show off his art and meet with clients, as well as a space for overnight guests, instead of as his primary residence. "But Italian Fascist design, for example, is very popular now, and I understand why, as I like it myself. I didn't know when I started that Stalinism would be a trend, too."
As it happens, Stalin Empire style, which draws on Art Deco and the clean lines of Mussolini-era Italian design, is enjoying something of a mini-revival in Russia, said Xenia Adjoubei, a lecturer in architectural history and theory at the British Higher School of Art and Design who also has a design practice in Moscow.
Stalinist-era interiors are now widely appreciated for their beautiful and minimalist look, she said. But recreating one of those interiors from scratch, she acknowledged, might strike some as odd — even a little creepy.
"But it is only unnerving if you see this person as wanting to recreate the lifestyle of a member of the NKVD," Ms. Adjoubei said, referring to the secret police of the 1930s. "He's probably just appreciating the aesthetic value."
Mark me down in the camp that finds this more than just "a little creepy." Stalin was, with Hitler, one of the two most blood-drenched murderers of the 20th century. And we're supposed to put that aside and just appreciate the "trend," "clean lines," and "aesthetic value"?
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