Co-curated by design historian and SVA MFA Design Department Co-chair Steven Heller and Abbeville Press Art Director Misha Beletsky, Russia Rising: Votes for Freedom exhibition responds to recent political turmoil in Russia through the language of the poster.
"SVA has a long tradition of supporting freedom of speech and voting rights through its exhibition program," said Heller. "It is important for Russia to have elections, but it is also necessary for Americans to understand the political context in which they are held. This exhibition asks the question 'Does my vote count?,' which opens doors that are too often shut."
"Although some of the most effective political agitation of the 20th century took place in Russia, and perhaps precisely because of it, the Russian public is weary of revolutions and revolutionary rhetoric," stated exhibition co-curator Misha Beletsky. "This leaves the would-be revolutionaries of today in a precarious position of opposition to the regime with no clear means of dissent."
Designers who responded to the call for entries for "Russia Rising" faced a similar challenge. Today's Russia doesn't fit into any visual cliches like the red banner or hammer and sickle.
Pre-1917 czarist symbols such as the two-headed eagle and the tricolor, once viewed as "radical," have come to symbolize the current regime. The often depicted Russian bear is now a mascot of Putin's United Russia party.
Russia Rising: Votes for Freedom will on view at the School of Visual Arts (SVA) Westside Gallery from September 4 through 22, 2012.
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