Bust collection inside the Wende Museum vault (all images courtesy of the Wende Museum)

Sun-dappled, palm-tree lined Los Angeles may seem to have little in common with gray, gloomy Cold War-era Eastern Europe, but LA is actually home to one of the most impressive collections of artifacts from that period. Founded in 2002 by Justinian Jampol to preserve and document the material culture of the Soviet Bloc, the Wende Museum now boasts a collection of over 100,000 objects, including photography, artwork, and consumer products — even a piece of the Berlin Wall that sits opposite LACMA on Wilshire Boulevard.

Border Troops of the German Democratic Republic, “Map with Berlin Wall and West Berlin Invasion Plans, labeled ‘Top Secret’”(1970s–1980s), East German

After 15 years of acquisitions, they have outgrown their modest original location, and this weekend marks the opening of their new home in the remodeled National Guard Armory Building in Culver City. The one-acre campus features 13,000 square feet of exhibition and storage space as well as an outdoor sculpture garden.

Nathan Farb, “Mother and Daughter”

The new location will open with three exhibitions: Cold War Spaces, which envisions the conflict between East and West through different notions of space; The Russians, Nathan Farb’s candid portraits of the residents of Novosibirsk shot in 1977; and Vessel of Change, a video installation by Bill Ferehawk and David Hartwell that revisits the 1989 Malta Summit during which George H.W. Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev declared the end of the Cold War. Opening weekend events include a free Community Open House on Sunday afternoon, and a ticketed Preview Celebration on Saturday evening with DJ set by Shepard Fairey.

When: Opens Sunday, November 19, 12–5pm
Where: Wende Museum (10808 Culver Blvd., 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.