Openness and Idealism: Soviet Posters 1985-1991

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This publication looks back at the history of Soviet art from the USSR’s final chapter: the colourful and radical posters of glasnost. Ushered in by Mikhail Gorbachev, glasnost (translating as “openness” or “transparency”) was a movement that allowed for artistic and open-minded alternatives to the state-endorsed Social Realism. Within this movement, posters became the primary vehicles for confronting the history of the USSR from the vantage of its impending dissolution.

The book features approximately 212 reproductions of posters from the Martha H. and J. Speed Carroll Collection and three interviews with Russian artists who produced some of the posters pictured, conducted by Russian translator Bela Shayevich. Also featured are essays by Russian history scholar Andy Willimott and art historian Pepe Karmel, and an introduction by J. Speed Carroll, Willimott and Karmel that contextualises these works in light of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine and acknowledges glasnost as a project that belonged to all former Soviet states and republics, not just Russia.