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@ Leonard Konopelski 2007
Contemporary Posters,
the Polish Cultural Institute and
the Consulate General of Poland in LA present

Cyrk-Jazz-Jewish Culture-Film-Theater-Opera-Exhibitions

Saturday, February 17, 2007 - Sunday, May 27, 2007


From the collection of contemporary posters

Posters evolved into a highly sophisticated, expressive, and powerful visual art form under the conditions of Communist Poland, and along with avant-garde theater in the same period became one of Poland's most widely admired cultural achievements. In a centralized economy that could subsidize the arts - profits were not key and thus advertising was not geared to selling tickets, and since posters were the main medium through which films, plays, and cultural events were publicized, they became a field of employment for artists and graphic designers in which these could exercise a crafty combination of personal creativity and a visual wit too subtle to be of concern to, or even come to the notice of, the censors.

With state financial support and artistic encouragement, the graphic artists of the golden era of the Polish School of Posters (1950s-1980s) designed strong, original, individualistic images - often intended to surprise or disturb the viewers' assumptions, frequently using commonly understood ironies to communicate surreptitiously and critically about society or even "the system" itself. The best of the posters - created by an extraordinarily large number of brilliantly talented and highly trained artists, among them such world-renowned masters of the art of the poster as Jan Lenica, Henryk Tomaszewski, and Waldemar Swierzy - are visual gems having the compact concision of literature's pithiest epigrams. It is said that the "Polish School" of poster art demonstrated a genius not seen in one country since France's La Belle Époque of the 1890s.

Along with its posters on everything from the circus to legendary stars of American jazz, the Polish Poster Festival, in the longest-running of its several venues, puts the spotlight on Polish-Jewish cultural events that were sponsored by the government after 1000 years of vibrant Jewish culture had been effectively destroyed in the Holocaust. These included productions of the E.R. Kaminski National Jewish Theater, and many films, operas, and exhibitions on Jewish themes or by Jewish artists.

Polish Theater Posters That Provoke, Wall Street Journal European edition, Sep.8, 2006

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Dates and locations

January 2022
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