As we recognize the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the USSR, it is worth remembering the rich history of Soviet art that came from that period: the colorful and radical posters of Glasnost.
Confronted with a failing economy and the twilight of the Communist mode of governance, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev rolled back many of the core tenets of the Soviet Union. In this era of Perestroika (Restructuring), the Soviet Union opened itself to foreign investment, inaugurated a process of decentralization, promised transparency, and accepted previously prohibited critiques of the government. The second development, Glasnost (Openness), brought with it artistic alternatives to the state-endorsed Social Realism, with posters becoming vehicles for confronting the history of the USSR from the vantage of its impending dissolution. As a result, Glasnost became a movement that began a new chapter in the visual culture of Russia that preserved the fiery polemics of resistance and socialist ideology.
The book will feature approx. 212 reproductions of posters from the Martha H. and J. Speed Carroll Collection, and will comprise insightful essays from Russian history scholar Andy Willimott and art historian Pepe Karmel, with an introduction from J. Speed Carroll. Additionally, three interviews with Russian artists who produced some of the posters during this time, conducted by Russian translator Bela Shayevich, will be included.