Based on ethnographic research with contemporary artists and galleries in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Nauruzbayeva traces the ways in which the Soviet-era notions of art as a public good are transforming into art as a private commodity. In the process of renegotiating the loss of the former state sponsorship and recruiting private consumers for their art, Kazakhstani visual artists challenge the notion of the market as an inevitable force that emerges out of the self-interest of market players.
After independence the Uzbek government maintained a monopoly over ideology, exploiting the remaining Soviet institutional and cultural legacies. The state expressed national identity through tightly controlled mass spectacles, including theatrical and musical performances. Adams focuses on these events, particularly the massive outdoor concerts the government staged on the two biggest national holidays, Navro’z, the spring equinox celebration, and Independence Day. Her analysis of the content, form, and production of these ceremonies shows how Uzbekistan’s cultural and political elites engaged in a highly directed, largely successful program of nation building through culture.
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