The Frye Art Museum’s newest exhibition, Agitation and Propaganda, features reproductions of posters created in Russia beginning in 1918, a year after the Tsarist autocracy was overthrown and the control of the government was seized by Vladimir Lenin’s Bolshevik party. These political propaganda posters were created to inspire and communicate political messages to the largely illiterate peasant population.
The 11 years of posters represented in this exhibition show the works of many well known and unknown Russian artists. Even though the Soviet state government commissioned these posters, some artists were afraid to sign their artwork during this time of political uncertainty.
A wide range of artist styles are represented in this exhibition, from realistic, folk-heroic styles to the more modernist style used in Alexander Rodchenko’s Books (Please)! In All Branches of Knowledge. Interestingly, Rodchenko was “opting for strictly utilitarian and industrial methods of art production such as photography and photo montage which he believed more closely aligned with the ideals and aims of the Soviet Union.”
While most of these posters use strong black, white and red (the color of the worker) colors, a few, like Sergei Ivanov’s Long Live the Third Communist International, use a more colorful palette.
I really enjoyed seeing these posters and learning about the political conditions these Russian artists were working under. These iconic posters influenced Soviet society politically and artistically influenced the work of other artists around the world.
Exhibition runs from February 6 – April 3, 2016 at the Frye Art Museum — FREE.Tags:Graphic Design, Museums, Posters