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Gordon Galleries Salutes NATO as Part of International Azalea Festival

Gordon Galleries Salutes NATO as Part of International Azalea Festival

The Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries will participate in Norfolk's 56th International Azalea Festival's "A Salute to NATO," which this year honors the Czech Republic, by presenting in its atrium an exhibition from the Czech Republic Military Institute in Prague, "World War II Era International Posters," from April 17 to May 5.

The propaganda poster epitomizes a phenomenon of both World Wars, but the prehistory of the poster dates far into the past. From as early as antiquity, mural paintings, engravings or tapestries have reacted to public life. They appeared in public venues and thus, in the broadest sense, satisfied the definition of what a poster is in meaning and function.

Later, a significant advancement in the creation of the poster took place following the invention of the letterpress by Johannes Gutenberg in 1455. The paper poster became an inexpensive and accessible tool of mass communication. The military poster was similar to political propaganda. Of course, it did not propagate simply one party or political figure, but rather an entire nation.

Military posters served three primary objectives:

  • to demonize the enemy, to assign a brutality to him, and to lay blame on him for the war, to label him as the aggressor and oneself as the resisting victim;
  • to boost patriotism in one's own country; and
  • to promise a swift and painless victory provided that everyone does what is expected.

During the two World Wars, the poster was a powerful medium that lasted often longer than radio or press news. In addition, with suggestively depicted scenes, posters had their own psychological effect. During war, the poster strengthened in the individual a feeling of superiority over the enemy and, accordingly, one's self-confidence - that individual actions matter and that victory must and could be achieved.

Admission to the Gordon Galleries, located at 4509 Monarch Way in the University Village, is free. Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information call 683-6271.

This highlight was posted on: April 22, 2009

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