By the 1960’s and 1970’s, outrageous practices in Soviet bureaucracy flourished. Poor planning, endless paper-pushing, redundancy and shirking, bribery, embezzlement, phony reporting, and cover-ups at all levels of the centralized economy had become the norm. The results included shoddy construction, inefficient farming methods, empty store shelves, environmental pollution, and a decidedly uncivil civil service.
To combat these ills, the government enlisted the help of cartoonists and poets from the Fighting Pencil, a Leningrad-based artists’ collective. Borrowing from the folk tradition of the satirical woodcut (lubók), the artists imaginatively combined image and text to lampoon villainous officialdom with irony and sharp bite.
This exhibition presents a selection of their arresting “public service announcements.”