Vision and Communism at Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago

Vision and Communism at Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago

Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago

Viktor Koretsky, “Africa Fights, Africa Will Win!,” 1971.
Poster. Ne boltai! Collection.

September 14, 2011

Vision and Communism
September 29, 2011–January 22, 2012

Thursday, September 29, 5:30–7:30 pm

Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago
5550 S. Greenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637

The Soviet artist and designer Viktor Koretsky (1909–1998) created aggressive, emotionally charged images that articulated a Communist vision of the world utterly unlike that of conventional propaganda.

In the last thirty years of the Soviet Union, Koretsky’s art sought to ensure world Communism’s moral health. In contrast to more conventional Soviet propaganda—filled with happy workers, glorious leaders, and uplifting slogans—Koretsky created striking scenes of survival and suffering that were designed to create an emotional connection between Soviet citizens and others struggling for civil rights and independence around the globe.

This vision of a multicultural world of shared sacrifice offered a dynamic alternative to the sleek consumerism of Madison Avenue and the West and, according to the exhibition curators, can be thought of “as a kind of Communist advertising for a future that never quite arrived.”

Drawing on an extensive private collection of Soviet art and propaganda, Vision and Communism presents nearly ninety of Koretsky’s posters, photographs, and original maquettes. Together with the October 14 symposium Agitation!, a related book that explores the dissident public culture nurtured in the Soviet bloc, and a screening of films by Aleksandr Medvedkin and Chris Marker, Vision and Communism offers a striking new interpretation of visual communication in the USSR and beyond.

Robert Bird, Associate Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, The University of Chicago; Christopher Heuer, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; Matthew Jesse Jackson, Associate Professor of Art History and the Department of Visual Arts, The University of Chicago; Tumelo Mosaka, Curator of Contemporary Art, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Stephanie Smith, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Smart Museum of Art; with Richard A. Born, Senior Curator, Smart Museum of Art, as coordinating curator.

The Soviet Arts Experience
Vision and Communism is part of The Soviet Arts Experience, a Chicago-wide showcase exploring the art of the Soviet Union. See a calendar of related exhibitions and events and learn more at

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September 14, 2011

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