At the height of the Cold War, the phrase “winning hearts and minds” was used to promote America’s cultural and political sensibility abroad. The spirit of that era is captured in Make-Believe America: U.S. Cultural Exhibitions in the Cold War, where curator Andrew Wulf reveals how designers and politicians used the International Trade Fair as a theater for ideological propaganda. The exhibition contains artifacts, graphics, and film footage from different World’s Fairs to illustrate America’s efforts to stop communism.
At one exhibition, a geodesic dome designed by R. Buckminster Fuller encases a gray spaceship station, with star-spangled parachutes and paper planes hanging from the ceiling. In another exhibition, dangling astronauts surround a stained capsule designed by David Brody—a pointed reference to Neil Armstrong’s conquests on the moon. Overall the show presents the public with an opportunity to look into a period in history dominated by fear, optimism, and innovation.
Make-Believe America: U.S. Cultural Exhibitions in the Cold War will be at the Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA), 1315 Peachtree St. Atlanta, Georgia, from until June 12, 2016.