Deconstructing Perestroika

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January 28th, 2012 - May 6th, 2012
Opening: January 28th, 2012 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Tue - Fri 10-5, Sat & Sun 12-6
Soviet-era political posters
CAFAM Members FREE , Non-Members $10 donation


In collaboration with The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War, the Craft and Folk Art Museum will present Deconstructing Perestroika, the first major exhibition in the United States of hand-painted Soviet-era political posters that were inspired by a new government policy of transparency in the former Soviet Union. Organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the former super power’s demise in December 1991, this exhibition highlights some of the key political and cultural shifts that defined the era and ultimately led to the fall of the Soviet Union.

Curated by Dr. Ljiljana Grubisic, Director of Collections and Public Programs at The Wende Museum, the  exhibition will showcase thirty original, hand-painted poster designs created by thirteen artists as visual responses to Mikhail Gorbachev’s transformative policies of Glasnost and Perestroika of the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Starting in 1985, Gorbachev’s policies of Glasnost, or openness, started to liberalize Soviet society by allowing taboos to be questioned and, in the process, galvanizing people and encouraging them to talk and think freely for the first time. During this period, East-West hostilities started to evaporate and dissidents began to return from labor camps and exile. Gorbachev’s parallel attempts to reform the economy through Perestroika, or re-structuring, perished like all other previous attempts.

Deconstructing Perestroika illustrates the tradition of hand-painted poster design, known in Russian as avtorskii plakat. This art form can be viewed as an outgrowth of the traditional Soviet agitprop. The thirty works of art are unified thematically by a caustic satire that was made possible by Glasnost’s very insistence on freedom of speech. Yet this razor sharp critique also stems from the deeply rooted tendency of the Russian psyche to view political and cultural endeavors through the prism of irony in order to subvert, reject, or give new meaning to an official ideology or previous work of art.

There will be an opening reception at CAFAM for Deconstructing Perestroika on Saturday, January 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Public programs:

Public programs are being organized in conjunction with the exhibition.

Along with a curator-led exhibition walk-through and adult and family workshops, there may be film screenings and additional gallery talks.

Exhibition Walk-Through with Dr. Ljiljana Grubisic

Sunday, March 18 — 3 p.m.


The Wende Museum was founded by Dr. Justinian Jampol in 2002 with a mission to preserve the  ultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. It is a hybrid organization, simultaneously an archive of material and visual culture and educational institution, fusing interdisciplinary scholarship with its programs.

The Museum is independent and facilitates open access to its collection, providing a forum for exploration and engagement, and encouraging diverse interpretations from multiple perspectives.

For more information, visit

The Craft and Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) champions cultural understanding by presenting exhibitions and programs that bridge local and global cultures, and inspire a sense of inquiry and creativity within all people. Located on Los Angeles’ historic Miracle Mile, it is the city’s only institution exclusively dedicated to celebrating craft and folk art. CAFAM works to recognize emerging artists and make art accessible to all audiences, serving as a forum in which art can be presented and described by the artists and communities who create it. All exhibitions and public programs are developed in close collaboration with community cultural groups to ensure authentic expression.

In addition to the exhibitions on view, CAFAM hosts the Shop@CAFAM, an on-site and online shopping experience that purveys fair-trade art and handicrafts from local and global artists and artisans who are rooted in both traditional and contemporary craft.

For current program and exhibition information call 323-937-4230 or visit

This exhibition is sponsored in part by The Antonia and Vladimir Kulaev Cultural Heritage Fund.