View of Competing Utopias, Neutra VDL Studio and Residences, 2014, Los Angeles, CA. Courtesy of the Wende Museum of the Cold War.
Competing Utopias is a design collision that should never have happened. But somehow, in 2014 Los Angeles, twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it will. This experimental exhibition is a mash-up in the most provocative sense; its force comes from the clash and fusion of two design cultures, which have been kept apart yet remained visually connected in unexamined ways. Competing Utopias proposes an installation that presents Cold War–era modern design from East and West in one context.
Justin Jampol, executive director, founded The Wende Museum in 2002 when he was 24-years-old and a graduate student at St. Antony's College, Oxford University, England. In 1998, while serving as a researcher and editor at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, he worked under senior scholar Walter Reich, former head of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Jampol completed his MPhil in Russian and Eastern European studies in June 2003 and his DPhil in modern history in June 2011, both from Oxford University. He also attended Moscow State University, and received the Carr and Stahl Fund Grant for research in Europe and Russia. Jampol has lectured widely and published numerous articles and chapters in books about East Germany and the Cold War.
Sarah Lorenzen is the resident director of the Neutra VDL Studio and Residences and is associate professor and chair of the Architecture Department at Cal Poly Pomona. She holds a BFA from Atlanta College of Art/Smith College, an MArch from Georgia Institute of Technology, and an MArch MR+D from Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Donna Stein is associate director of The Wende Museum. Her curatorial experience includes positions at the Hillcrest Foundation; Guild Hall, East Hampton, New York; and the Museum of Modern Art. She has organized exhibitions across all media, primarily on nineteenth- and twentieth-century art for US institutions, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Honolulu Academy of the Arts, the Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts (San Francisco), and the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
Bill Ferehawk is an artist and cofounder of SMIBE (Society for Moving Images about the Built Environment). His recent film Collecting Fragments, commissioned by the Wende Museum, explores the complicated relationship between collecting and history in East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Bill holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MArch from Yale University.
The Wende Museum, founded in 2002, preserves the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War–era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to inform and inspire a broader understanding of the period and its enduring legacy. The Museum is an innovative arts and educational institution with a collection of more than 100,000 holdings of Cold War–era material culture and personal histories. We are dedicated to connecting our audience to the lived experience beneath the ideological and geopolitical battles of the era and to inspiring contemporary comparisons.