Life behind the Iron Curtain. Art and artifacts from East Germany. The history book to make history.
This groundbreaking volume features hundreds of GDR political artifacts, design pieces, and everyday objects from the Wende Museum, Los Angeles, established in 2002 to study the culture of the former Eastern Bloc. From high fashion photography to secret police surveillance equipment, this extraordinary collection reveals the full scope of human experience and potential in a now-vanished world. For 40 years, the Cold War dominated the world stage. East and West Germany stood at the frontlines of the global confrontation, symbolized by the infamous Berlin Wall, which separated friends, families, and countrymen.
But while the world teetered on the edge, life went on in the communist East, as it did in the capitalist West. From the outside, it seemed that life behind the Iron Curtain was gray and dull, but beneath the surface of its faded buildings, it was filled with color, texture and deeply-held convictions. The Wende Museum in Los Angeles, California, named after the period of change following the destruction of the Berlin Wall, was created in 2002 to study the visual and material culture of the former Eastern Bloc. With physical and psychic distance from political trauma and personal attachment, it aims to foster multiple perspectives and interpretations of a pivotal and multilayered history that has continues to shape our world.
To commemorate the Museum's 10-year anniversary, this unprecedented and encyclopedic volume features thousands of items from its extraordinary collections, including icons of East German design and political advertisement as well as everyday objects and images from a now-vanished world. Never before has a book included this full a spectrum of art, archives, and artifacts from socialist East Germany: official symbols and dissident expressions, the spectacular and the routine, the mass-produced and the handmade, the beautiful and the ugly, and the funny and the tragic.
Accompanying the featured collections are illuminating and provocative texts from scholars and specialists from Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States (Paul Betts, Andreas Ludwig, Josie McLellan, Katherine Pence, Eli Rubin, Jana Scholze, Joes Segal, Edith Sheffer, David Thomson), with themes ranging from the secret police to sexuality, space flight to flight across the border, and from monuments to mental-mapping.