The Wende Museum Presents Undercurrents I: Stories, Symbols, and Sounds

Claus Weidensdorfer, Untitled, Jazz and Improvisation, 1986, lithograph, German Democratic Republic
Collection Wende Museum

Culver City, CA (Apr. 25, 2024) – On Saturday, April 27, the Wende Museum celebrates the opening of their latest exhibition, Undercurrents I: Stories, Symbols, and Sounds, highlighting the vibrant and often hidden art of Cold War countercultures.

Undercurrents focuses on artwork that doesn’t follow the beaten track of art production and political messaging. Through appropriation and subversion of official imagery or by creating an alternative aesthetic universe, the artworks in this exhibition explored new perspectives and unconventional, alternative readings of reality.

The exhibition features East German, Polish, and Hungarian artwork and artist books from the Wende Museum and the Getty Research Institute, as well as countercultural photographs from Hungary and Czechoslovakia courtesy of the Archive of Modern Conflict. Additionally, the Corita Art Center has provided significant works by Corita Kent, a renowned U.S. artist and advocate for social justice. This exhibition was co-curated with Isotta Poggi, associate curator of photographs at the Getty Research Institute.

In tandem with Undercurrents, the Wende Museum is pleased to introduce new works to the extended exhibition Visions of Transcendence: Creating Space in East and West. This exhibition highlights art by currently and formerly incarcerated and unhoused individuals. Newly added pieces by Pussy Riot founder Nadya Tolokonnikova, 2024 Frieze Los Angeles Impact Prize winner Gary Tyler, and the incarcerated artist Travis Hoffmeister all serve to emphasize the power of art as a form of resistance against restrictive circumstances.

The museum is also unveiling a new installation in the East German guardhouse by artist Saun Santipreecha, titled [0-I-RI-R]. This installation uses composer Arnold Schoenberg’s twelve-tone technique to explore themes of myth, power, and sound, creating a unique auditory and visual experience that reflects historical and contemporary struggles against systemic oppression.

Additionally, the Wende Museum is launching two new open storage displays. One is artist Jenny Yurshansky’s Rinsing the Bones, which examines the intergenerational impact of displacement through family heirlooms and personal stories. Another new display, The Cold War Nuclear Threat, focuses on the anxiety produced by the danger of atomic war, presenting artifacts that reveal how people on both sides of the Iron Curtain coped with the fear of mutual destruction.

On Saturday there will be a special opening event featuring public tours at 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., followed by a brief program with remarks by curators and artists at 2 p.m., and a complimentary reception.

Undercurrents I will be followed in the fall by Undercurrents II: Archives and Counterculture and by the PST Art exhibition Counter/Surveillance: Control, Privacy, Agency.

For additional images and information, please reach out to the Wende Museum Head of Communications Andrew Hartwell at

The Wende is an art museum, cultural center, and archive of the Cold War that preserves history and brings it to life through exhibitions, scholarship, education, and community engagement. Founded in 2002, the Wende Museum holds an unparalleled collection of art and artifacts from the Cold War era, which serves as a foundation for programs that illuminate political and cultural changes of the past, offer opportunities to make sense of a changing present, and inspire active participation in personal and social change for a better future.

The Wende Museum is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit or follow the Wende on social media: @wendemuseum.


Media Contact
Andrew Hartwell
310-216-1600 x305

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