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A cultural organization founded in Soviet Russia in 1917 shortly after the October Revolution; the word is an abbreviation of Narodny Komissariat Prosveshcheniya (People's Commissariat for Enlightenment). Narkompros was directed by the writer and politician Anatoly Lunacharsky (1875–1933) and was in charge of general cultural and educational policy. It contained several sections, including a Visual Arts Section called IZO Narkompros; this was headed by the painter David Shterenberg (1881–1948), who was based in Petrograd (St Petersburg), assisted by Tatlin in Moscow. IZO organized a series of state exhibitions (twenty‐one between 1918 and 1921), administered the new art schools (Svomas/*Vkhutemas) and research institutes (Inkhuk), and was involved in public commissions. Many avant-garde artists and critics were involved with IZO Narkompros in one way or another. In 1918–19 it published its own journal, Iskusstvo kommuny (Art of the Commune), the contributors including Altman, Malevich, Pougny, and Punin. Narkompros also contained sections devoted to the cinema (FOTO-KINO), literature (LITO), music (MUSO) and the theatre (TEO). In the early years, partly because of Lunacharsky's tolerance and liberalism, Narkompros maintained a fairly independent stance, but by the late 1920s (especially after Lunacharsky's departure in 1929) it had become part of the Communist apparatus.

Subjects: Art.

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