Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hanging Romania's Dictator

In thee New York Times: The history behind the new exhibit at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest: “Overcoming Dictatorship.”

"[S]ycophants kept a virtual army of state-approved artists busy painting portraits of [Nicolae] Ceausescu and his wife, thousands of them. These ended up in public buildings and in the various homes of the dictator, who loved to receive as birthday gifts pictures of himself showing how much the Romanian people loved him. Ceausescu constructed a whole building to store these portraits.

Big, brightly colored scenes of Communist kitsch, they showed the dictator and his wife smiling before reverent mobs of workers, receiving flowers from ruddy-cheeked female soldiers, and wearing white 1970s leisure suits that, like the peaked winter hat Ceausescu made de rigeur for all loyal apparatchiks, became the height of Romanian fashion once upon a time."

Photo: Cristian Movila for The New York Times

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