FINE ARTS

Designed in the USSR: 1950–1989

Phaidon. Apr. 2018. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9780714875576. $39.95. FINE ARTS
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This volume does not explore in depth the political dimension of art and graphic design, but instead, through attractive photographs and illustrations that make up most of the book, looks closely at Soviet commercial and graphic design objects themselves. Editor Sankova (Moscow Design Museum) intends the title to promote a greater understanding of the visual history of the Soviet Union, and indeed it is a fine overview of the range and style of Soviet-era graphic design and consumer items produced from midcentury to the end of the USSR. The title also briefly explores the culture war between East and West, as fought out over consumer choice and product quality.
VERDICT Will appeal equally to serious students of Soviet-era consumer products and of the design profession in the USSR, as well as to readers who enjoy browsing photos of design from this period of Soviet history.

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