Power To The People

Power to the People

Power To The People does not reprise the mantra of the Sixties, at least not in this post. It is the title of a remarkable book of early Soviet propaganda posters from The Israel Museum in Jerusalem and edited by Alex Ward of the Merrill C. Berman Collection. Specifically, these are the stenciled ROSTA (Russian Telegraph Agency) window posters that hung in the telegraph storefronts from 1919 to 1921, just after the Russian Revolution of 1917. They owe a debt to American comics, but rather than strictly entertainment, the posters told stories that both cautioned and roused the populace about everyday concerns: “agitprop.” One of the principal authors of ROSTA posters was the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.

For those interested in political graphics, the Russian Revolution, or just the origins of stencil art (not related to hip-hop or skateboarding), this splendidly produced book collects more of these limited and fragile ROSTAs in one place than anywhere else.

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About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes frequently for Wired and Design Observer. He is also the author of over 170 books on design and visual culture. He received the 1999 AIGA Medal and is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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