Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum opens Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon
In 2018, the Doomsday Clock was set to two minutes to midnight, the closest it has ever been to striking midnight since the height of the Cold War in 1953 when both the United States and the Soviet Union tested thermonuclear weapons for the first time within ten months of each other. Today, while the Cold War’s lessons and fears have largely faded from our collective memory, it is critical to view a decidedly uncertain present through the lens of the past. Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon on display from April 6 – May 25, 2021.
Through two photographic essays, photographers Jeanine Michna-Bales and Adam Reynolds offer a calculated look at the “Architecture of Armageddon,” both the offensive and defensive implications of nuclear war. These quiet architectural spaces, devoid of people, allow viewers to come face to face with present nuclear realities while also offering a look into the collective psyche of the American people during the Cold War.
Reynolds’s project, No Lone Zone, documents the offensive side of the Cold War through nuclear missile silos in the United States. It provides a contemplated look at the nuts and bolts of Mutually Assured Destruction, the MAD logic behind nuclear deterrence. Michna-Bales’s project, Fallout, delivers typological documentation of the defensive side through various shelters and propaganda across the United States, both private and public. These fallout shelters, endorsed through Civil Defense programs, in reality, offered little more than a government-sponsored placebo to the American people, convincing them that something tangible was being done in the event of a nuclear holocaust.
This exhibition is aimed to spark curiosity and encourage discourse among audiences of all backgrounds as the works seek out places that are often hidden in plain sight. Two Minutes to Midnight and the Architecture of Armageddon is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.