AboutThe decades after the Second World War saw an intense rivalry between the world's two superpowers: the Soviet Union and America. In the âcold war' that ensued, the two powers engaged in aggressive contests to build their own spheres of influence. They accelerated the development of new technologies to produce weapons, launched ambitious space programmes and waged propaganda campaigns across the world.
Vying to outdo one another, each deployed displays of modern living, signs of progress and images of future utopias. Art, architecture and design were drawn into this Cold War competition to demonstrate a superior vision of modernity.
Modern life after 1945 seemed to promise both utopia and catastrophe. By 1949, both of the world's superpowers had acquired the capacity to annihilate one another with nuclear weapons. Twenty years later, man had walked on the moon.
Modernist artists and designers responded to this dual vision, searching for ways to build a new and hopeful future and deal with the anxieties of the present.
This exhibition explores modern art, architecture, design and film in the period 1945-70, highlighting the ways in which artists and designers responded to the conditions of the Cold War.