Gustav Klutsis, The USSR is the Stakhanovite brigade of the world’s proletariat, 1931, lithograph. Courtesy private collection.
Nearly twenty years after the end of the Soviet Union, Views and Re-Views: Soviet Political Posters and Cartoons invites a post-Cold War assessment of Soviet graphic arts through posters, cartoons, photomontages, and postcards spanning more than six decades, from the time of the Russian Civil War (1918–21) into the late Soviet period. The exhibition includes well-known Soviet graphic works, by such artists as Viktor Deni, Dmitri Moor, El Lissitsky, and Gustav Klutsis, as well as lesser-known, but equally compelling works by the Kukryniksy (a three-artist collaborative), Alexander Zhitomirsky, and others.
The exhibition suggests that artistic merit may be found in art in the service of political belief and subject to state regulation and that there is a range of stylistic diversity within work that is too often simply (and dismissively) characterized as Socialist Realism. Viewers may also note that with the passage of time it has become possible to see that not all criticisms of the West by Soviet artists are completely spurious or inauthentic.
Drawn from an extensive private collection of Soviet propaganda, the exhibition includes more than 160 images.