Events

From Monument to Commodity, Karl Marx in a Post-Cold War World

Two hundred years after Marx’s birth, the Wende Museum and the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles have organized a discussion on the significance of communist monuments today.

Copy of the monumental Marx sculpture in Karl-Marx-Stadt, present-day Chemnitz, Germany (image courtesy the Wende Museum of the Cold War)

Few thinkers have had as much influence on modern economic and intellectual life as Karl Marx. Throughout the 20th century, his writings and bearded countenance were ubiquitous across the globe, as numerous monuments and busts attest. But after the fall of the Soviet Union, thousands of these sculptures were destroyed as new capitalist regimes sought to distance themselves from their countries’ communist past.

Two hundred years after Marx’s birth, the Wende Museum and the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles have organized a panel discussion on the significance of these objects today. What function do the extant monuments serve in a post-Cold War world? Are they historical novelties or vital symbols of resistance against a neoliberal new world order? Parallels will also be drawn to the current debates in the US over monuments dedicated to Columbus or Confederate war heroes. Speakers include writer and translator Sina Rahmani, Cal State LA professor Choi Chatterjee, author of Celebrating Women: Gender, Festival Culture, and Bolshevik Ideology, 1910–1939, and Los Angeles-based artist Farrah Karapetian, whose ongoing Security Studies project grew out of a six-month Fulbright Fellowship in St. Petersburg earlier this year. The event is free but an RSVP is required.

When: Sunday, November 18, 2pm, reception; 3pm, panel discussion
Where: The Wende Museum (10808 Culver Boulevard, Culver City, California)

More info at the Wende Museum.

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