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The Years After Stalin, on the Walls of the Williams Tower

courtesy FotoFest

They put Stalin in the ground, mercifully, in 1961, eight years after he’d kicked off; the mustachioed lunatic had lived just long enough to murder, what, about twenty million of his own people? (Some go as high as forty million. Joey Stalin was an ambitious lad.) His wasn’t even a cult of personality, when you get right down to it, more a cult of “do what the f*@k I say or I’ll chop off your f*@!kin’ head”, an entire nation under the iron hand of a Mafia don. But once he was gone, and the Russians could stretch out a little, the wounds were such that it took years for photographers and artists to start really feeling comfortable again. (Khrushchev beginning the de-Stalinization process in 1956 couldn’t have hurt.) Then they started feeling really comfortable. This exhibit at the Williams Tower, then, After Stalin, ‘The Thaw’ , part of the FotoFest 2012 biennial, is a look at a nation essentially rediscovering its soul. (FULL ARTICLE: Kelly Klaasmeyer, Houston Press)