Soviet Space Graphics: the ultimate cosmic escapism

Phaidon’s new book showcases Cold War art on a mission to win the space race

From Youth, issue 4, 1979, illustration by V Golotyenko
From Youth, issue 4, 1979, illustration by V Golotyenko

At the height of their popularity during the Cold War, there were 200 popular science magazines being published in the Soviet Union. Featuring the latest science-fiction stories, posters, graphics, art reviews and articles, they were a tool used by the Russian state to drum up public support for the space race and, ultimately, for their mission of global technological supremacy. 

From Youth, issue 4, 1979, illustration by V Golotyenko
From Youth, issue 4, 1979, illustration by V Golotyenko

Alexandra Sankova, director and founder of the Moscow Design Museum, has collected over 250 of these graphics into a new book, Soviet Space Graphics: Cosmic Visions from the USSR. She writes: “In reviewing the[se magazines] today, we are transported back to a time of great optimism and boundless discovery, while still being humbled by the vast amount of as yet uncharted territory – both on Earth and beyond”.

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