“Darker Shade Of Red” To Open At Atomic Testing Museum

Details
What:  Darker Shades of Red

When:  Opens Saturday, April 4, 2009 through June 7, 2009

Where:  Atomic Testing Museum Auditorium, 755 E. Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89119.

Media:  Previews of the exhibit are available from April 1, 2009 through April 3, 2009.

Las Vegas, Nevada, March 23, 2009 – A striking collection of propaganda posters and assorted Soviet artifacts from the Cold War period in the USSR (1940’s – 1991) will be on display at the Atomic Testing Museum from April 4, 2009 through June 7, 2009.
Darker Shades of Red provides a rare opportunity to revisit the Cold War era through the exploration of the Soviet Union’s official imagery.  Strikingly graphic in its socialist imagery, the collection reveals the economic, social and political ideology of the Soviet Union from the 1940’s to 1991.

When the Russian Revolution began to take shape at the end of the 19th century, religious icons were already a well-established part of daily life.  Since Russia’s conversion to Christianity in 988AD, icons were believed by both the rich and poor alike to provide access to God, like “windows into heaven.”  The communist leaders recognized these images as a powerful tool; so they adapted them to create “gods” and heroes for the new world they envisioned.  After World War I, the Revolution and the following civil war had crippled Russia, leaders realized that it would be necessary to enlist the strong support of the people to achieve rebuilding efforts and the restructuring of society.  However, since religion and religious images were deemed incompatible with revolutionary thinking they were quickly eliminated and replaced with the new iconography- that of the Communist Party.

From the time of the Bolshevik Revolution and after, the poster was used as a persuasive source of Soviet ideology.  Leaders placed a high priority on communicating the ideas of revolution, socialism, and social responsibility to its citizenry.  Posters were used to shape and direct mass consciousness in accordance with Communist Party objectives.  Symbolic images of Soviet leaders, soldiers, workers, and peasants were common heroic motifs.  Images of machinery symbolized productivity in industry and farming while locomotives, sputniks and rockets suggested progress and achievement.  This patriotic information was communicated to the public through dynamic compositions that combined figures with text (often poetry) and geometric blocks of color.

Post WWII tensions between the Soviet Union and the West led to the beginning of the Cold War era.  Fear of nuclear proliferation and anti-West sentiments were often reflected in Soviet posters during the decades that followed.  Civil defense posters illustrated how to prepare for a nuclear attack.  Caricatures of American and British leaders depicted the West and its political structure as the enemy of the Soviet people.

Propaganda images also filtered down in to the homes and daily lives of people. Schools, shops, factories, apartment buildings and public spaces were splashed with Soviet images.  In this closed society, there were no competing images; people were exposed ONLY to what was seen as fulfilling the goals of the Party.  Common objects such as postcards and even children’s books had to reinforce the Communist objectives.  By looking at these official images, we are given an insider’s perspective into life in a totalitarian society.

Details
What:  Darker Shades of Red

When:  Opens Saturday, April 4, 2009 through June 7, 2009

Where:  Atomic Testing Museum Auditorium, 755 E. Flamingo Road Las Vegas, NV 89119.

Media:  Previews of the exhibit are available from April 1, 2009 through April 3, 2009.

About the Atomic Testing Museum
The Atomic Testing Museum is open 7 days a week, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., last tickets are sold at 4:30p.m., to allow time to tour the Museum.

The Atomic Testing Museum is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution & the American Association of Museums.  We are located at 755 E. Flamingo Road between Paradise and Swenson on the south side of the street.  We have ample parking and are ADA accessible.  For more information please call (702)794-5161.