Sots Art is the invented result of the combination of two words: Socialism and Art. This movement was cofounded in 1972 by two Russian artists, Komar and Melamid, as a reaction to Socialist Realism and is often referred to as "Soviet Pop Art". Alexander Kosolapov is one of the leading protagonists of Sots Art. Born in Russia, he joined this group in 1973 and had his fist exhibition in 1974 at the Kuznetsky Most art salon. The wave of Jewish emigration in the second half of the 70s took him to New York in 1975, where he started applying Socialist realist artistic techniques to American capitalist iconographies, enabling him to critique the ideological basis of communism and question its cultural implications, twisting art into the form of a parody of iconic messages.
The symbol of caviar first appeared in Kosolapov's work in 1985 and became a recurrent theme in his paintings. Just as Andy Warhol used the visual language of mass consumerism, Kosolapov's caviar paintings adopt a cliched symbol of excess to powerfully critical effect. These works are explicitly based on American Pop Art but, even though both movements reappropiated popular symbols, the frame of reference in Sots Art is an ideological image, manipulated into a new context of negation.
With the new political situation initiated by Gorbachev during the 1980s, Sots Art became fashionable and was seen as the visual translation of Perestroika. It became the artistic symbol of Soviet transformation and the first original art movement in Russia since the avant-gardes of the 1920s.