Dinner with a Side of Lenin

The Wende Museum’s Communism for Dinner exhibit dishes out a different kind of history lesson in Culver City

How often do you think about Marxism when you sit down for a meal? Not often, we assume/hope, but things might be different if you had your own collection of Communist china patterns.

The Wende Museum in Culver City has such a collection, and its new Communism for Dinner exhibit that runs through May 31 tells the story of the GDR (East Germany, remember?) through its commemorative (commie-morative?) plates. Along with categories for Social Heroes, Historical Events, Political Organizations, and War and Peace, there are plates grouped into Consumption and Leisure, Sports, Agriculture, Industry, and Topography. If you’ve ever wanted to find out more about, say, a cruise ship for vacationing East Germans or the German Hygiene Museum, this is the place.

Also, there’s plenty of communist doctrines here, but the Wende Museum says you should also expect plates that “betray the absurdities of an all-encompassing ideology or the ironic wink of a plate artist.”

Here’s a look at a handful of plates in the diverse collection, with context about a couple designs from the museum’s recently published Taschen book, Beyond the Wall: Art and Artifacts from the GDR.

redarrowThe Wende Museum, 5741 Buckingham Parkway, suite E, Culver City, 310-216-1600