News Release| Department of Art; Cal State L.A.

February 7, 2013


Dreams of the Future from the Collection of The Wende Museum 

Los Angeles, CA -- The Wende Museum will showcase 17 artworks in the exhibition, Politics of Happiness: Dreams of the Future from the Collection of The Wende Museum, which will be on view at the Fine Arts Gallery on the California State University, Los Angeles campus from February 11 through March 2, 2013. 

The opening reception will take place on Thursday, Feb. 14, from 4-7 p.m., in the Fine Arts Gallery in the Fine Arts building on the CSULA campus. 

Viewers will see artworks from the 1960s and 1970s, when the nightmare of Stalinism had ebbed and artists were beginning to experiment with novel styles of representation, and with newfound confidence in the future of socialism and the Soviet Union. While Party leaders interfered continuously in creating ideological criteria for culture, generations of Soviet artists somehow managed to work within Party mandates to create arresting art works that by the postwar period had acquired a recognizable identity in various parts of the world. 

Soviet artists, writers and ideologues successfully created a new grammar of universality, one that promised the world equitable modernization, rapid industrialization, economic equality, the creation of a welfare state, and liberation of women from the patriarchal family. A selection from the collection of The Wende Museum references how these revolutionary ideas became embedded in innovative art forms. 

As part of this exhibition, there will be a portfolio of mixed media artworks composed by students of the CSULA Honors College presenting their own visions of the future. These serve as a postmodern commentary on socialist art, both as critique and as testimonial to the ongoing relevance of the hopes, ambitions, and stylistic repertoires of socialist realism and its vision for a better world.  

This exhibit is curated by CSULA faculty members Choi Chatterjee and Scott Wells, with the assistance of Donna Stein and Cristina Cuevas-Wolf of The Wende Museum and Karin Lanzoni of the CSULA Fine Arts Gallery, as well as the students in the Winter 2013 CSULA Honors College course, “Global Citizenship: Voices and Contexts.”   

The Wende Museum, located in West Covina, was founded in 2002 with a mission to preserve the cultural artifacts and personal histories of Cold War-era Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. The collection is currently housed in three Southern California warehouses with public access limited to one percent of the more than 100,000 holdings of material and visual culture. For more information, call (310) 216-1600 or go to 

The Fine Arts Gallery is located in Building 9 on the CSULA campus, 1st Floor, Fine Arts Building. Permit dispenser parking is available in Structure C or Lot 5. Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday and Saturday, from noon to 5 p.m. For directions, go to For gallery information, call (323) 343-4040.

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