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Curiouser and Curiouser: Avant-garde Polish Theatre Posters from the 1970s 

When: June 19-Aug. 28 2014
I know it’s hard to believe, but every now and then I’m reminded that sometimes art can change the world. Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery’s new show of Polish posters from the 1970s is the latest example. Curiouser and Curiouser: Avant-garde Polish Theatre Posters from the 1970s is a show about the the impact of this particularly rich period of graphic arts in Poland as much as it’s about the posters themselves. Growing out of pop art and the experimental theater of the 1960s, this era cultivated artists like Jan Sawka, whose work was so politically threatening that it caused him to be expelled from the country in 1979. Posters from this period have also influenced contemporary artists, like the filmmaking Quay Brothers. The exhibition’s history lessons are deepened by the inclusion of a screening of the 2009 film Freedom on the Fence, which chronicles the story of Polish posters from World War II through the fall of Communism. JOE NOLAN


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