Author(s): Justin Jampol
Life behind the Iron Curtain: The East German collection of the Wende Museum 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 lovers, friends, and families, coworkers and compatriots.
The Wende Museum in Los Angeles, California, is named after the period of change following the wall's destruction. It was established in 2002 to study the visual and material culture of the former Eastern Bloc, and, with physical and psychic distance, to foster multiple perspectives on this multilayered history that continues to shape our world.
This encyclopedic volume features over 2500 items from its extraordinary collections. 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 funny and the tragic. Packaged in a slick, portable box, the book also comes with a facsimile of a GDR family scrapbook, documenting real and imagined travels both within East Germany, and across the border.
Accompanying these remnants of a now-vanished world are texts from scholars and specialists from across Europe, Canada, and the United States, with themes ranging from the secret police to sexuality, from monuments to mental-mapping.
Justin Jampol, Founder and Executive Director of the Los Angeles-based Wende Museum and Adjunct Professor of History at Claremont Graduate University, focuses on visual cultural studies and the connection between contemporary art and iconography from the Cold War-era. Jampol earned his Doctoral degree in modern history from Oxford University and studied as an undergraduate at UCLA. His work has been featured in The Atlantic, Art, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Macleans, and Humanities. He has produced two documentary films on the subject of the Cold War, as well as several urban art projects including The Wall Project, which received international attention and media coverage. He has curated several exhibitions, partnered with Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Craft & Folk Art Museum, and ESMoA, and has collaborated with artists Shepard Fairey, Retna, D*Face, and Herakut, and, most recently, with Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller.