Sots art was a rebellion against the totalitarian approach to art in the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin and his autocratic successors sponsored “socialist realism” in art, which idolized state leaders and idealized life in the USSR. Artists like Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid ridiculed this state-sponsored art form and critiqued the state. They borrowed from American Pop Art and adapted it to Soviet mass culture.
As the best known Sots artists, Komar and Melamid deal in absurdity. They emigrated from the USSR, taught elephants in Thailand to paint, and offered the first-ever elephant paintings at auction.
Image: Komar and Melamid, Girl and Stalin (c. 1992). Lithograph. 77 x 76 cm. (30.3 x 29.9 in.)