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Photo by Leisa Thompson

Soviet Constructivist Posters: Branding the New Order

September 25, 2015 - February 21, 2016
The Jan and David Brandon Family Bridge

During the 1920s the Soviet Union emerged on the world stage. The first decade was full of hope for a new social order that would reject the values and traditions of Tsarist rule. Centered in Moscow, a group of young artists, spearheaded in part by Vladimir (1899-1982) and Georgy Stenberg (1900-1933), championed an art that promoted the egalitarian ideals of the New Order and contributed to the growth of the Soviet Union. Known as the Constructivists, they advocated for utilitarian art that was easily accessible and spoke to the masses. Among their most provocative and visionary works were posters advertising Soviet films.

UMMA’s exhibition, Soviet Constructivist Posters: Branding the New Order features a selection of posters by the Stenbergs and other Constructivists for some of early cinema’s most inventive films including, Sergei Eisenstein’s October and Dziga Vertov’s Man with a Movie Camera.

Using dynamic compositions, bold colors, and emblematic images, these posters announced that the Soviet Union was a progressive nation that could propel society into a utopian future. Their revolutionary aesthetic became associated with the workers’ movement and helped to shape how it was understood both at home and abroad. Though Constructivism went out of favor in the 1930s with the rise of Joseph Stalin (1878–1953), Constructivist designs continued to have an influence abroad. Today, their legacy can be seen in advertisements and other promotional materials made for the public eye.


Lead support for the exhibition Soviet Constructivist Posters: Branding the New Order is provided by the University of Michigan Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies and the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies.