On November 12, 2022, all the lights were on at the Wende Museum to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the largest collection of Cold War artifacts outside Europe, and the opening of their newest exhibits. Founder and Executive Director Justin Jampol offered his thanks to the Board of Directors, the many donors and foundations, and the community of Culver City for creating the space for this unique institution to thrive.
The Wende started out in Culver City in an office complex off of Buckingham Parkway, and moved to its current location on Culver Boulevard in 2017.
“Can we even believe it’s been twenty years?” Jampol spoke from a stage at the back of the Wende’s garden, “When I think of all the great people who have given us so much…I’m going to try to thank everyone, but I’m sure I’ll miss a few. Know that we are deeply grateful for all your support.”
Don Wildmon was the official Master of Ceremonies for the evening, introducing a roster of speakers as varied as Wende supporter Benedikt Taschen of Taschen Publishing, Victoria Gomez of Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s office, Fiona Chalom of Pepperdine University, and Glorya Kaufman, whose name will be on the new community center and performance space currently under construction next door.
The new exhibits, “(De)Constructing Ideology,” featuring artifacts from the People’s Republic of China created during the Cultural Revolution, and “For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles.”
To those unfamiliar with China’s Cultural Revolution, the excellent exhibit at the Wende offers a vivid snapshot of a moment in time where one of the world’s oldest civilizations went through huge philosophical crisis, and the after-effects are still being felt. Photographs, flags, ceramics and other artifacts all have intriguing, hopeful and sometimes enigmatic tales to tell.
The graphics exhibited in “For Ruth …” Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz shared a unique correspondence in the style of Mail Art – a way for artists in repressive countries (like Ruth in East Germany) to collaborate with artists in more open countries (like David in the US.) The catalogue notes “Both artists are divided by generations and worlds, yet their wit, poetry, and conception of art reach toward the same horizon.”
There’s plenty to celebrate at the Wende Museum, as the first twenty years have already shown us.