“Carefully Wash Fruits and Vegetables Before Eating” (1950s-1960s), poster, Soviet Union (courtesy of the Wende Museum)

Differences in worldview during the Cold War generally found expression in geopolitical doctrine, economic policy, or the words of politicians and pundits. But for the great majority of the population, these differences were reflected in the mundane objects and rituals of everyday life, the most universal of which is food.

Aleksandr Petrovich Utkin, “He Who Doesn’t Work, Doesn’t Eat” (1990), tempera on board, Soviet Union (courtesy of the Wende Museum)

The exhibition Dinner Party Politics: Food Culture in the Eastern Bloc at the Wende Museum brings together paintings, posters, menus, products, and toys from the former Soviet Union and socialist nations, exploring how gastronomic attitudes and traditions could be linked to ideology and propaganda. Take, for example, Aleksandr Petrovich Utkin’s satirical Glasnost-era painting “He Who Doesn’t Work, Doesn’t Eat” (1990), which tackles Soviet-era dogma. Also on view will be home movies from the Hoffman family, a typical East German family, capturing mid-century daily life behind the “Iron Curtain,” including country picnics where they tap trees for sap, and holiday celebrations full of traditional German food and drink.

When: Opens Sunday, April 9, 3–5pm
Where: The Wende Museum (5741 Buckingham Parkway, Suite E, Culver City, California)

More info here.

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, CARLA, Apollo, ARTNews, and other publications.