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Beyond the Wall: Art and artifacts from the GDR


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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.

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