Blog

What we really mean when we copy Soviet constructivism from Alexander Rodchenko

October 18, 2013
Alexander Rodchenko and constructivism - famous 1925 poster

I was writing a post about how the internet is keeping the USSR alive – or at least, its “stuff,” like posters and old medals – but I got distracted by this poster, so instead you get to read about Alexander Rodchenko and constructivism. Question: Was this poster as familiar to its original, Soviet audience, as…

Keep Reading »

Soviet Propaganda Porcelain: Inside the Imperial Porcelain Factory

July 18, 2013
Soviet Propaganda Porcelain - Lenin plate

While we were in St. Petersburg, we went on a private tour of the Imperial Porcelain Factory, and got to see some Soviet propaganda porcelain for the first time. I didn’t know such a thing even existed – I always thought propaganda was largely “limited” to media. That is, posters, movies, radio and TV. But…

Keep Reading »

Live, in the kitchen, from Moscow

September 26, 2011
The Kitchen Debate - Nixon and Kruschev in Moscow at the American National Exhibition, 1959

It took the Kremlin until 1959 to realize how starved for things the nation was. In July of that year, Moscow’s Sokolniki Park hosted the American National Exhibition. …In just two week two million Russians had had their faces mashed into a perfect tableau of Yankee wealth. The Cadillacs, the TV dinners, the cosmetics, the…

Keep Reading »

On Russian tchotchkes and Soviet design

June 6, 2011
Unsung Icons of Soviet Design book cover

A very long time ago (in internet years), I had a Twitter conversation with blogger and general funny girl Vicki Boykis (@vboykis) about our attitudes towards Russian tchotchkes. The original link is dead, but it was probably something along these lines. Her response was an unequivocal “yea,” while I was firmly on the “ugh, why?”…

Keep Reading »

Go Soviet at the CNE

September 9, 2010
Soviet military souvenirs at the CNE in Toronto

There is a buyer for everything. Like these Soviet military souvenirs (ok, let’s call a tchotchke a tchotchke), which we spotted at a Russia booth in the international pavilion at the CNE. Best of all, they’re not even originals. There are enough customers to warrant reproductions. Some of the items looked genuine, but most were…

Keep Reading »