War of Nerves: Psychological Landscapes of the Cold War


The Wende Museum
The Armory, Culver City, California
September 16, 2018 - January 13, 2019

Click Here to View the Exhibition Catalogue

Walking group BOMB PlateBeyond missiles, bombs and politics, the Cold War was a war of the mind. But as two great powers struggled for the ultimate victory, how were the sciences of the mind deployed, and what were the psychological costs?

War of Nerves: Psychological Landscapes of the Cold War explores these questions through contemporary art and everyday artefacts from both sides of the iron curtain. It takes on the fear of atomic annihilation, the power of propaganda to stereotype an enemy, and the scientific mythology of brainwashing. The influence of the Cold War was everywhere: even in children’s nurseries and playthings. For some, the nuclear stalemate was too great a threat, and they took to the streets to demand an end to armed dĂ©tente.

War of Nerves is a collaboration between Wende Museum, Los Angeles and Wellcome Collection, London, drawing on collections of both museums to illustrate the intersections between psychology, health and the Cold War in east and west. The exhibition includes contemporary artwork by Bruce Conner, Chris Wyrick, Suzanne Treister, Dunne and Raby, Sarah Anne Johnson and Yevegniy Fiks.


Image courtesy of the Las Vegas News Bureau. 


Wellcome Collection