Carren's Pitch

Life by Design


Cold War Culture

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

The Wende Museum is a treasure in LA. Their holdings of cold war design objects are pretty staggering. I'm glad they've finally come out with a tome that attempts to capture the breadth of material culture from this still fraught era. 

A new book exhaustively examines life and design in East Germany.
Text by: Carren Jao
Edited by: Avinash Rajagopal
Published: Feb 2015, Metropolis

Communist East Germany developed a vibrant design culture of its own, with products like this Rema Trabant T6 radio from 1964–1965. The Wende Museum in Los Angeles has the largest collection of such objects in the country. Image courtesy of: Wende Museum/Taschen
History is a tale constantly revised depending on the circumstances of its telling. And no modern tales are as fraught with multiple meanings as those of the Cold War era, which spanned more than four decades from the end of World War II in 1945 to the fall of socialist regimes in Europe from 1989 to 1991.

In an ambitious effort to illuminate this period’s multifaceted nature, Taschen Books published Beyond the Wall: Art and Artifacts from the GDR, a 904-page volume that offers readers over 2,500 objects from the Los Angeles–based Wende Museum’s more than 100,000-piece collection of items from the Eastern Bloc—the largest in the country. Since the museum was founded in 2002, it has become a repository for remnants of a fast-disappearing culture, repudiated by the former Soviet state that’s uncomfortable with its history. [read more]


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