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Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) Presents Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters From Revolutionary Russia, 1910–1940

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) presents Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters From Revolutionary Russia, 1910–1940 an exhibition on view Oct. 8, 2011, the exhibition runs until Jan. 15, 2012..

Using the major AGO exhibition Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris as a departure point, Constructing Utopia examines the era of revolution in the Russian empire as the tsarist autocracy was deposed and replaced by a Communist government that enlisted the people in the construction of a utopian Soviet society. This all-encompassing political and social project is reflected in the striking art and design of the times.

Curated by Medeine Tribinevicius, AGO Gelber Intern, Prints and Drawings, and Donald Rance, AGO Reference Librarian, the exhibition brings into dialogue two exciting branches of graphic design: futurist and constructivist books, which speak to the formative artistic years of the avant-garde; and large-scale, dramatic posters, which demonstrate the impact of this ground-breaking art movement on the everyday visual culture of Soviet Russia.

The AGO’s collection of Russian posters is the finest public compilation of revolutionary posters in North America. The rare books are a recent Gallery acquisition (donated anonymously in 2009), and this marks the collection’s first public showing. Comprising over 100 works, the books and posters focus on portrayals of political figures and momentous events, as well as propaganda supporting the changes to mass education and literacy campaigns in the early years of the Soviet Union.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Tribinevicius discusses the journey of the posters from the Soviet Union and their fate in Canada, during a special talk on Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2011, entitled “The Art of Persuasion: Russian Propaganda Posters”. The talk takes place in the AGO’s Prints and Drawings Study Centre at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students with valid ID, and $17 for AGO members, and may be purchased online at or by telephone at 416.979.6608. For more information please visit

Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters from Revolutionary Russia, 1910–1940 is generously supported by The Gelber Family: Sara & Richard Charney, Nance Gelber & Daniel Bjarnason, Judith Gelber, and Patricia & David Rubin.

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