In collaboration with Berlin and Los Angeles artists Sonya Schönberger and Friedrich Kunath, acclaimed conceptual artist Christof Zwiener appropriated an architecturally typical guardhouse from the parking lot of the East German news agency, known by the acronym ADN. In response to imminent destruction of the ADN headquarters and guardhouse in the wake of a frantic rush to get rid of a dark past, Zwiener rescued the guardhouse and transformed it into mobile site-specific installations, exploring themes of media, surveillance, propaganda, and the military.
Friedrich Kunath was born in Karl-Marx-Stadt, a town in former East Germany. His work for the ADN guardhouse entitled some power, that hardly looked like power, said I’m only perfect in an empty room (from the song ‘The Wild Kindness’ (1998) by David Berman) symbolizes the collision between different times and cultures. With the ADN guardhouse from East Berlin as its exhibition venue, one might also speak about the collision between dream and nightmare. Friedrich Kunath lives and works in Los Angeles.
The 12th annual Home Movie Day takes place this fall in dozens of international cities including Los Angeles on Saturday, October 18th 2014. This free event invites Angelenos to share family and amateur films of all kinds in an afternoon open screening. Later that same evening, the program FROM THE EAST: Home Movies in the Collection of the Wende Museum offers a glimpse through the Iron Curtain at amateur filmmaking in Cold-War era Eastern Europe. Both events will be held for the first time at the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, located on Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile.
Sonya Schönberger’s work KEY DELIVERY for the ADN Pförtnerhaus symbolically reflects the power and influence of the gatekeeper within a system of absolute control. Simultaneously, her installation visualizes the loss of power and control following the disintegration of a political system. Placed in the East German ADN Guardhouse in Los Angeles at 5900 Wilshire Boulevard, the work consists of some 2,000 keys from the barracks of the People`s Police (Volkspolizei). There is no one left to handle them. As decontextualized as their container, the keys are remnants of a past they are not able to disclose.
The Goethe-Institut presents a screening of Freedom Rocks vignettes to mark the opening of an exhibition of wall pieces and souvenirs in the Goethe-Institut lobby on view through November 7, 2014.
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, East Bloc*Busters presented evenings of 16mm and 8mm films from East Germany and the Soviet Union, projected in their original formats.
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.