“Cold War Modern: Design 1945–1970,” an exhibition about the competition between Western and Communist design, is based on the falsehood of equivalence.[1] It sidelines the reality of the contrast between our flawed but good world and the tyranny of the evil empire. This point has not been lost on the more modish critics. Tom Dyckhoff wrote in The Times of London after seeing it “But who won? Neither side, of course. Both were morally bankrupt. But by God we had the prettier table lamps.” How can he declare the Soviet Union morally bankrupt, when, like Nazi Germany, it never had any moral assets in the first place? By contrast a free society is not a single moral entity like the former Soviet Union but a complex mass of individuals and institutions—us. How can Dyckhoff argue that all of us are morally bankrupt? The V & A is...


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