Iron Curtain

iron curtain cartoon

V. Fomichev, Cowshed, 1961.Gouache on paper.

After former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin passed away in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev rose to power as the first Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

But while Stalin was infamous for his brutal regime and censorship, Khrushchev led a period of de-Stalinization, allowing a somewhat more relaxed political climate with plenty of propaganda, but less censorship.This period in Soviet history is known as “Khrushchev’s Thaw.”

The exhibition, “Laughing Matters: Soviet Propaganda in Khrushchev’s Thaw, 1956-1964,” which opens at the Arthur Ross Gallery on April 10, offers a unique and thematically coherent sample of propaganda posters from the historic era.

The show illuminates the changes in political rhetoric and iconography at a time when the Soviet Union encouraged an unprecedented “warming-up” in all social and cultural spheres and struggled to define a new imagery of Soviet collective purpose.

Exhibition curators Liliana Milkova and Masha Kowell discuss their exhibit at a Gallery Talk on April 10 at the Arthur Ross Gallery. The event begins at 2 p.m.

Richard Hodges, director of the Penn Museum, holds a Gallery Talk on April 28 at the Arthur Ross Gallery. The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

The Arthur Ross Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

For more information, call 215-898-2083 or visit The gallery is free and open to the public. Corrupt and Local author and historian Thomas H. Keels discusses in the City of Brotherly Love,” on April 15 at the most scintillating scandals and corrupt characters. 898-7595 or visit Learn how to roll your own sushi V

Originally published on April 8, 2010