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Museum Mondays: Re-examining the Wright’s Russian political posters

March 25, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Russian political posters from the Wright Museum of Art's permanent collection will be on display in the North Gallery in conjunction with the Weissberg Program conference "Russia after the Collapse of Communism: Prospects for Liberalization".

Curated by Dr. Donna Oliver, professor of Russian in the modern languages and literatures department, and Russian major Ligia Costa, this show examines how the original intention of these posters and other Soviet symbols shifted after the fall of the Soviet Union. Once powerful tools of communist propaganda, in the post-Soviet context many iconic Soviet  images have been reappropriated and reduced to mass-produced kitsch, often with ironic intent.

Oliver describes the theme of the exhibit further:  “The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 brought with it not only the embrace of private enterprise and the formerly disdained concept of ‘capital,’ but also a revaluing and refashioning of the products of communism as cultural commodities in and of themselves. Over the past twenty years, in venues throughout Moscow and other cities, Russians and foreign tourists alike can purchase from budding capitalists original pieces of Soviet ‘memorabilia’—from busts of Lenin and Stalin to Red Army hats to Soviet propaganda posters.  At the same time, these examples of ‘authentic’ Soviet commodities share the market not only with reproductions of such items, but also with items that ‘repurpose’ those iconic images of Soviet culture into objects of consumer desire—capitalizing on the image both as a piece of history and as an object open for ironic reinterpretation.”

The opening reception will take place Friday, March 30 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Wright Museum courtyard. Ligia Costa will give a gallery talk at 6 p.m.