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March 19, 2023
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, photojournalist Arthur Grace travelled extensively behind the Iron Curtain working primarily for news magazines. One of only a small corps of Western photographers with ongoing access to the area, he was able to take the time to delve into the most ordinary corners of people’s daily lives while also covering significant events which unfolded while on assignment.
Communism(s): A Cold War Album published by Damiani presents over one hundred and twenty black and white photographs – nearly all previously unpublished. Shot in the USSR, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the German Democratic Republic, Grace’s images reveal an ongoing cat and mouse struggle between State sponsored forces seeking obedience by regimenting mind and body, and their every-day citizens seeking connection to universal humanity in small moments.
His book includes portraits of factory workers, farmers, churchgoers, holiday-makers and loitering teens juxtaposed with the GDR’s imposing Social-Realist designed apartment blocks, propagandistic annual May Day Parades, Poland’s Solidarity movement and the subsequent imposition of martial law, and the vastness of Moscow’s Red Square contrasted with ever-present public propaganda, communal mineral water vending machines, and endless lines of citizens hoping for an opportunity to buy a cut of meat.
“Arthur Grace reminds us all of the reality of life in the Soviet bloc: haunting, human and heroic. This book offers an urgent, clear-eyed view of the autocratic past, and perhaps the future.” Massimo Calabresi, former Eastern Europe Bureau Chief TIME, currently Washington BC.
The introduction is written by former Time magazine Warsaw bureau chief Richard Hornik, edited and designed by The Deadbeat Club’s Clint Woodside, and coedited by Arcana: Books on the Arts’ Lee Kaplan.
“‘The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.’ This famous quotation from The Go-Between by LP Hartley fits perfectly with the work by Arthur Grace titled Communism(s): A Cold War Album… His black and white images document the life of a world that no longer exists. Before the collapse of Communism, the Soviet-dominated part of Europe was, in many regards, like an alien planet for citizens of the free, democratic world, but today it is like a remote foreign country also for generations born after 1989 in states formerly belonging to the Soviet Bloc. The album provides a bunch of Grace’s impressions from times when he had the opportunity for taking pictures in Communist countries. Obviously, we see them with his eyes. Anyway, this subjectivity does not change the fact that his album is yet another source of knowledge about the strange and hostile realm stretching its territory, during the Cold War, from the Elbe River in Germany to Moscow and beyond. Interesting, inspiring and remarkable.” Prof Jarosław Suchoples, Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Arthur Grace has covered stories around the globe for both Time and Newsweek magazines. His photographs have appeared in leading publications worldwide including on the covers of Life, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine, Paris Match and Stern. Grace has published five acclaimed photographic books; his work has been exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States and abroad; his photographs are in the permanent collections of numerous museums, including the J. Paul Getty Museum, the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian, among others.
Communism(s): A Cold War Album
Hardback 192 pp 121 B&W