“Russian Samizdat Art 1960–1982”

Franklin Furnace

Samizdat means “self-published” in the Soviet Union, and Samizdat art consists mainly of books and magazines published and distributed by the same artists and/or poets who made them. This exhibition, showing over a hundred works by about thirty artists, was curated and designed by artists Rimma and Valery Gerlovin; it successfully revealed the strikingly intellectual, imaginative, and serious, but simultaneously playful, character of this important and vital expression of contemporary Russian art.

It is helpful to consider this material in the peculiar publishing context of the Soviet Union. The government, after all, is the official publisher there. And Samizdat art offers an excitingly free, individualistic, and, oh yes, elitist alternative to the mass-produced, uniform, government-sanctioned run of publications. Samizdat art has sources in the innovative books and magazines turned out

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