On the night of November 9th, 1989, the Berlin Wall fell, opening the border between East and West Germany. As The Wende Museum marks the passage of 25 years since this monumentous event, we’re also highlighting the anniversary of a lesser-known milestone that occurred on the very same night: the debut at East Berlin’s Kino International of Coming Out, the first and last queer feature film produced in East Germany.We hope you’ll join us as we co-present Outfest’s special screening of this groundbreaking piece of Cold War LGBTQ cinematic history on October 1st in West Hollywood.
The exhibition Competing Utopias communicates the ideal futures imagined and realized in the East and West through architecture, furniture, decorative arts, film, and music. The Wende Museum’s East German design collection will be installed at the mid-1960s era VDL Neutra House, the personal residence and office of famed mid-century architect Richard Neutra, and an icon of Western architecture.
In conjunction with the exhibition Competing Utopias, join us for two Friday evenings of
16mm and 8mm films from East Germany and the Soviet Union, projected in their original
This exhibition explores the evolution of Joseph Stalin’s public persona and the power of visual propaganda through a selection of works from The Wende’s Collection and the Tom and Jeri Ferris’s collection at the Institute of Russian Culture at USC.
Canadian artists Vid Ingelevics and Blake Fitzpatrick recorded stories of how people acquired a piece or pieces of the Berlin Wall. Their oral history project, Freedom Rocks: the Everyday Life of the Wall, involves collecting stories about the Wall from people who own Wall sections and souvenirs in Los Angeles and California.
Musical theatre actress Lola Fisher, Institute of the American Musical executive director Miles Kreuger, and University of California Irvine professor Kiril Tomoff engaged in a lively discussion of American musical theatre presented from 1946-89 in the USSR, East Germany and other Soviet bloc countries.
The unprecedented sport spectacular, known as Leipzig 1977, combined for the first time the VI. Sports and Gymnastics Festival (VI.Turn und Sportfest) with the VI.Spartakiade, the children’s and youth’s athletic competition. For athletes and public, it was considered the most unforgettable experience. Because East German government leaders understood that sporting events furthered socialist aims, they commissioned and produced souvenirs to promote athletic accomplishment in unison with socialist ideals and to sustain a memory of the collective experience. The objects from the Wende collection illustrate the popular iconography and speak to the political, social and economic importance of athletics in the GDR.
Justinian Jampol led an engaging discussion in the ongoing series “Collectors in Conversation” at The Allendale Branch Library.
The topic of escaping to the West was taboo in the GDR, consequently The Flight is an exception in East German film history. Winner of the Grand Prix at the Karoly Vary International Film Festival in 1978, this was the last film Armin Mueller-Stahl made at the East German DEFA studios.
The Wende presented the Director’s Cut of a new documentary about the Soviet Jewish immigrant experience in Los Angeles. The film, directed by Mark Hayes, follows several Jewish families who left the former Soviet Union to settle in Los Angeles during the 1970s and 1980s.
The Wende Museum partnered with ESMoA in Experience 05: FAME, an exhibition that explores the ambivalent soul of Los Angeles.
Jazz music was among the most controversial and hotly-debated cultural aspects of East German (GDR) society. It celebrated its American origins, and therefore considered imperialist, capitalist, and decadent across the Eastern Bloc countries. However, the music was immensely popular, despite the official censors. These artifacts from the Wende Collection capture the liberating effect that jazz afforded the citizens of the GDR and Eastern Europe, as well as the government’s ever-changing position on how to best control the unstoppable musical force.
Justinian Jampol, The Wende’s Executive Director, and Chris Wyrick, of the Hollywood Reporter, discussed the impact of Fame on the Arts, as it relates to such topics as Prestige, Infamy, Defamation, and Forgetting.
Cristina Cuevas-Wolf, The Wende’s Manager of Collection Development, led a lively discussion about Political Icons in Experience 05 FAME.
In collaboration with the Thompson Gallery, The Wende Museum and Archive of the Cold War presented Deconstructing Perestroika, the first major exhibition in the United States of hand-painted Soviet-era political posters that were inspired by a new government policy of transparency in the former Soviet Union. Organized to mark the 20th anniversary of the former super power’s demise in December 1991, this exhibition highlighted some of the key political and cultural shifts that defined the era and ultimately led to the fall of the Soviet Union.