Glimpses of the USA

Eames, Glimpses of America

Charles and Ray Eames’ “famous film installation for the American National Exhibition in Moscow in 1959” was, according to curator David Crowley, “part of a major propaganda exercise designed to inject the elixir of consumerism into the heart of the Soviet empire. This seven-screen presentation, entitled Glimpses of the USA, commissioned by the US Department of State, was projected inside a massive golden geodesic dome through which all visitors had to pass.”

“Edited together from thousands of still and moving images (2,200 in 12 minutes, many of the Eames’ own making), the films presented America as a humane, productive and socially inclusive place, emphasising local and personal relations – and, as such, the opposite of a bombastic display of American supremacy.

The striking impact of the Moscow present­ation lay less in the content of the images than in the dizzying inventiveness of the display. The Eames’s success in the Soviet capital was followed by another in New York which used technology to shake not only the minds but also the bodies of its audience.”[1]Glimpses of the USA was one of several works reconstructed for the exhibition Cold War Modern: Design 1940-1970, curated by Crowley at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, 2008





[1] Text by David Crowley, “Design as a Weapon for the Cold War” Creative Review Blog, 2008.



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