The Billboard Art of Revolutionary Grenada

The dreams of the Grenada Revolution were crushed in October 1983 by a quick succession of dramatic coups, starting with a power struggle between competing factions of the People’s Revolutionary Government. Maurice Bishop, the popular leader of the 1979 socialist revolution and subsequent Prime Minister, was first placed under house arrest, after a takeover by his […]

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Weaving War in Afghanistan

The political instability that has blighted Afghanistan in recent decades was sparked in July 1973, when a coup d’état swept from power Zahir Shah, the last King of Afghanistan. Daoud Khan, the king’s cousin who staged the plot, established himself as the first President of Afghanistan – ruling over the new republic until he, in turn, was overthrown during the Saur Revolution of April 1978. … Continue reading Weaving War in Afghanistan

NATO’s Mystery Sculpture

65 years ago today – on 4 April 1949 – the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded. Over the next 40 years, this intergovernmental military alliance between the Western powers would at times contain and exacerbate the Cold War. At the entrance to the NATO Headquarters in Brussels stands a large, savage-looking sculpture in cast iron. This sculptural rendition of NATO’s logo is a familiar sight … Continue reading NATO’s Mystery Sculpture

Secret Operation 610

Last September a groundbreaking new design project was unveiled at Soesterberg Air Base in the Netherlands – Secret Operation 610. Intended as both a sculptural art piece and mobile research laboratory, this object was created over the course of 18 years in a collaboration between Dutch architects and artists at Rietveld Landscape and Studio Frank Havermans. Described by its creators as a ‘monstrous black behemoth’, its … Continue reading Secret Operation 610

Polish Cold War Neon

In 2007 British-Polish photographer Ilona Karwińska launched a pioneering project to record the disappearing world of Poland’s Cold War neon signs. Over the last 6 years the initiative has grown ever larger as Karwińska’s work has tapped into the zeitgeist for Cold War culture. Her photographs recount post-war Polish city streets bathed in the light of dazzling socialist messages and whimsical illustrations. Under Poland’s Communist regime, … Continue reading Polish Cold War Neon

Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970

David Crowley and Jane Pavitt (eds.). Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970. London: V&A Publishing, 2008. The V&A’s outstanding exhibition Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970 may be a thing of the past, but the exhibition catalogue lives on! In this glossy tome, design historians David Crowley and Jane Pavitt chronicle the effect of the Cold War on culture, from architecture and film to cars and kitchens. It’s a … Continue reading Recommended Read: Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970