Polish Posters on View in New York

Last week saw the opening of an exhibition of Polish posters. While that’s not unusual in itself, as poster art is quite popular in Polish museums (as visitors to the Wilanow Poster Museum can undoubtedly confirm), what’s unusual was the setting of the exhibition: the prestigious Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

The installation, titled “Polish Posters 1945–89”, is curated by Juliet Kinchin, of the museum’s design and architecture department, and a specialist in 19th- and 20th-century art and design. The collection highlights some of the main contradictions of life in a communist society, as even though the posters were commissioned by the state, the artists often found ways to subtly criticize the very institutions that hired them.

The exhibition of 24 posters includes works by Henryk Tomaszewski, Roman Cieślewicz, Jan Lenica, and Franciszek Starowieyski, and are prime examples of the Polish Poster School during the Cold War era. The exhibition takes works from MoMA’s own collection, and it will run from this month until the end of November 2009.

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