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A documentary exhibition that investigates the inner workings of propaganda through the lens of 20th century Italian politics. Its focus is on fascism, with works from the two decades of Mussolini’s dictatorial government (1922-1943, followed by two additional years at the helm of the Italian Social Republic, a Nazi puppet-state in northern Italy), plus select pieces from the edges of this period that help contextualize the exhibition.

In sum, these years constitute the most problematic period in modern Italian history, and the fascist use of propaganda—which enlisted prominent artists in the service of its bankrupt ideology—is a case study in the tools of oppressive politics.

The exhibition illustrates how fascist political propaganda coopted modernist aesthetics, mass communication, marketing techniques, and popular culture to manipulate society and muster support for its totalitarian endeavors. Considered together, the propaganda emerging from fascism, as well as from the particularly tense democratic times surrounding the fascist period, provide an opportunity to deconstruct the rhetoric of political communication in its entirety, and represent a call to engage critically with the multitude of competing political narratives that surround us today.