Exhibition of Soviet political art opening June 5 at Jule Collins Smith Museum

AUBURN – An exhibition spanning six decades of Soviet graphic art will open June 5 at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. “Views and Re-Views: Soviet Political Posters and Cartoons” is a collection of more than 100 posters, drawings, photomontages and postcards from the time of the Russian Civil War, 1918-1921, through the late Soviet period. The exhibition will be displayed through Aug. 14.

Organized by the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University, “Views and Re-Views” was assembled nearly 20 years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The exhibition challenges viewers to “view and re-view the relationship between the art of the high Soviet Union and that of the West” and “invites a post-Cold War reassessment of Soviet graphic arts.”

The organizers of “Views and Re-Views” describe the images as demonstrating the artists’ surprising stylistic diversity, and evoking a perceived world of enemies and heroes set against the historical backdrop of brutality and human yearning. They say the exhibition also exposes uncomfortable truths in Soviet impressions of the United States that can be evaluated anew, thanks to calmer political relations and a longer historical perspective.

Drawn from an extensive private collection of Soviet propaganda, the exhibition includes well-known graphic works by artists such as Viktor Deni, Dmitri Moor and El Lissitsky as well as lesser-known images by Kukryniksy, Alexander Zhitomirsky and others.

In conjunction with the exhibition, “Views and Re-Views” co-curator and Brown University professor, Abbott Gleason, will give a talk on “The Art of Political Persuasion Reconsidered” on June 17 at 5 p.m. His talk will offer new ways of seeing and understanding this art from the past in the context of the present.

Gleason is a member of the administration and faculty of Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University. His academic specialties include Russian history and Cold War studies.

For more information about the exhibition or the museum, go to www.jcsm.auburn.edu or call (334) 844-1484.

Contact: Colleen Bourdeau, (334) 844-7075 (cbourdeau@auburn.edu), or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (clardch@auburn.edu)