Recently unearthed works by Hitler’s favorite sculptor, Arno Breker, are now on show in Berlin. Is there a new readiness to address Nazi-era art in Germany?
The public display of two recently discovered lost works by Hitler’s favorite sculptor, Arno Breker, at Kunsthaus Dahlem is the latest in a line of exhibitions that indicate a new willingness in Germany to address and sensitively display Nazi era art.
Art commissioned by or purchased under the National Socialist regime has long been the dirty secret of many German museum and gallery collections. Institutions have avoided putting this art on display for fear of appearing sympathetic to the Nazi cause, glorifying their ideology or creating a point of assembly for neo-Nazis.
Many of these fears were borne out in 1974, when the Frankfurt am Main exhibition “Art of the Third Reich – Documents of Oppression” was met with protests, petitions and criticism from both ends of the political spectrum before it even opened its doors.
Thousands of artworks kept in storage
Nearly five decades later, the taboo of the Nazi regime’s art lingers as thousands of works still lie in storage, unseen for decades.
Berlin’s Deutsches Historisches Museum, for example, has 340 paintings and more than 7,000 graphic prints produced at the request of the German Wehrmacht during WW2 in long-term storage.
Some can be seen online in a searchable archive of 12,550 artworks that were offered for sale in eight Nazi-sponsored “Great German Art Exhibitions,” held in Munich from 1937 to 1944.
Museums starting to display Nazi era works in context
However, a number of recent exhibitions have started to put these “problematic” works on public display, alongside biographies of the artists, details of their involvement with the Nazi regime and the specific history of the works.
One of the earliest of this new wave was “Tradition and Propaganda – a Review” mounted at the Bavarian Museum im Kulturspeicher Würzburg in 2013. The exhibition addressed the founding of the museum’s collection in 1941 under National Socialism and the numerous artworks still in their holdings from that period, including Nazi favorites Hermann Gradl and Ferdinand Spiegel and many others bought at the “Great German Art Exhibitions.”
Curator Bettina Kess’s proposal to deal with the history of the museum was met with enthusiastic support from Würzburg’s mayor and council, but some caution from the Museum im Kulturspeicher. Fears that the exhibition would attract neo-Nazis did not materialize, however. The museum’s visitor numbers doubled.
Kess, an art historian, museum consultant and author of a book on the subject, told DW she wanted to show that “art was a very important part of this oppressive regime: You can start with the past and draw a direct line to the present with these works.”
Museums reflecting on their Nazi connections
Other institutions have taken a similar approach in addressing the Nazi connections in their own collections: In 2012 the Haus Der Kunst in Munich, which was the venue for the “Great German Art Exhibitions,” mounted “Histories in Conflict: Haus der Kunst and the Ideological Uses of Art, 1937-1955” and in 2016 Hamburger Bahnhof hosted “Neue Galerie: The Black Years, Histories of a Collection 1933-1945.”
On display until November 1 at Kunstmuseum Stuttgart is “The Dream of a Museum ‘Swabian’ Art,” an exhibition focusing on the museum’s origins under National Socialism and the history of its acquisitions.
Hitler’s favorite sculptor’s works dug up by construction workers
The two Arno Breker sculptures currently on display in Berlin were kept buried in the garden of the artist’s state-built studio since World War II.
In 2015 the property became Kunsthaus Dahlem, an institution dedicated to postwar German modernism.
After the two partially carved marble heads were discovered by construction workers laying new pipes this summer, the team at Kunsthaus Dahlem have surmised that the works had lain underground since the American occupying forces vacated the property in 1945.
Generally accepted as Hitler’s favorite sculptor, Breker received the highest number of commissions from the regime, among them sculptures for the entrance to the New Reich Chancellery and the 1936 Olympic Stadium. Despite this and his Nazi party membership, he managed to somewhat revive his career after the war before his death in 1991.
Sculpture of a Roma man created as Roma were deported and murdered
One work on display in Dahlem has been identified as “Romanichel,” a version of an earlier work by Breker. The oversized male head with closed eyes (see picture at the top of article) is a portrait of a young Roma or Sinti man Breker met in Paris in the 1920s, the subject of numerous works by the artist. Breker’s choice to make this version in 1940, the same year thousands of Roma or Sinti people were deported and murdered in concentration camps by the Nazis, is as yet unexplained.
Displayed on the same wooden pallets used during their conservation, Kunsthaus Dahlem’s artistic director Dorothea Schöne told DW she wanted to present them simply as “two found sculptures.” “I do not want this space to become a Breker exhibition space. Breker is controversial. A larger museum might be able to better deal with that past, but we could not do that with only the capacity to show up to 30 works.”
Germany awaits a broader assessment of Nazi-era art
So far, the exploration of Nazi-era art has been limited to museums and galleries exposing the Nazi past of their own collections, rather than as part of a broader, national project in the spirit of “Vergangenheitsbewältigung,” or working through the past.
However, with a new generation of curators, researchers, art historians and gallery directors at the helm there is hope that Germany is ready to finally look at these works and understand more fully how the Nazis weaponized art.
“We are starting to benefit from a younger generation who don’t have such emotional ties to that period,” said Dorothea Schöne. “They have a more neutral approach to the topic.”
The Arno Breker sculptures are on display at the Kunsthaus Dahlem until January 15, 2021.
Source:- DW (English)
Art comes a Crawling – Coast Reporter
Your annual Sunshine Coast Art Crawl is here! Creek studios open this Friday, Saturday and Sunday run the gambit from bonsai to photography, from cedar carvings to the crystal gallery with a selection of pottery work to boot. A scaled down event from years past, you may actually have a chance to get to a majority of the studios this time! With 97 studios participating (17 here in the Creek), 76 are open for drop in, the remainder are virtual or by appointment only. Find your map at Eco Freako, the Rusty Hinge and elsewhere, and get Crawling!
Our little local, the #219, has a temporary covering for the whole front yard that will be up until Halloween. The outdoor licence they hold ends on the 31st so they have decided to go for it, rain or shine! Doors at 4 p.m. except the 25th, last call at 9 p.m. Seating will be limited, and dress for the weather, eh? Where I grew up, the first snow was in the closing weeks of October but that’s another reason why I live here, right?
Oct. 23: The Hook, is this from the “line and sinker” fame? Not sure about that but sure to be entertaining!
Oct. 24: The High Quadra Ramblers are Mack Shields on fiddle and vocals and Kaitlin Chamberlin on banjo, vocals and stepdancing, who recently released their second high-energy album.
Oct. 25: Martini Madness (2 p.m. matinee) where I imagine there will be martinis, perhaps even some madness? Maybe they are talking about the band? Checkerboard Rock FTW!
Oct. 30: Captain Fantasy brings your Ween fix for those who would brave the elements!
Oct. 31: Halloween Party (last night of outdoor stage – details next week).
Open House at WolfPups! Saturday, Oct. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 3186 Hansen Rd. Your chance to sign up for two upcoming Studio Play Dates: printing with hand-cut stencils, and natural dye T-shirt. Ask Sarita for deets!
What is art? It is said that a builder uses their hands, a craftsperson uses their head and their hands and an artist uses their heart, their head and their hands. To me, it’s those things created to bring more beauty into the world (I pledged to do this years ago). A solo show early in my career was entitled, “Objects, Useful and Not,” and that said a lot about what art is. From chocolate to blankets, paintings to music, there are a lot of Creekers using their hearts to give us a more decorated life. I spend between one and three per cent of my annual income on art and have not regretted one purchase. Each piece brings me joy. In these difficult days you deserve to have more of the heart of an artist in your life; it will pay dividends to you, our artists and our community as a whole. This weekend is your chance to make it happen.
As always, I am happy to share your news, event, workshop or what have you. kellybacks@rocket
Interactive art installation in Benny park helps local artist be heard during the pandemic
A new interactive art installation in NDG’s Benny park is making a lot of noise.
Titled the Hexaphone, passersby are invited to see what it feels like to be in a recording studio without ever walking through a door.
Located in the shadow of the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce sports centre, five wooden music stations emit isolated sounds of instruments and vocals from local artists.
Listeners can hear the individual sounds of each musician and instrument but also a complete ensemble when they arrive at the centre of the hexagonal installation.
The sounds are paired with a visual element. Screens give the audience an intimate inside look at a recoding session.
The project was put on by the city of Montreal in partnership with the borough, multiple local artists and the Trouble Makers recording studio.
Up-and-coming local singer Thaïs, whose music is featured in the project, said it was a blessing to have her voice and work heard by a new audience during this hard time for performers.
“It was a cool experience, because I can do a show so it was a great way to show my music to public and new people,” Thaïs said.
Seen playing the piano and singing in the installation, as an emerging artist, Thaïs said she was thankful for the opportunity for this kind work.
“We have to adapt during times like this,” she said.
The installation is apart of a city-funded cultural initiative.
The goal of the project, according to the borough, is to allow people to enjoy local talent in a safe environment during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This gives people some kind of artistic and cultural experience given that the options are limited in this context,” borough councillor Christian Arseneault said.
Arsenault says this gives the public a reason to venture outdoors and experience art in a safe way without leaving their neighborhood.
“It’s perfect for social distancing. There is no need to touch buttons. We feel this is ideal for the situation we find ourselves in right now, ” he said.
The Hexaphone installation operates from 3 to 10 p.m.
The temporary piece will be playing a tune until Nov. 4.
Source: – Global News
Hamilton says thank you to health-care providers through public art – Global News
The City of Hamilton is turning to public art to pay tribute to health-care workers.
With the help of a citizen-led volunteer jury, the city has announced 15 winning designs that will be printed and installed on utility boxes outside four of Hamilton’s hospitals.
The tourism and culture division’s Ken Coit says the winning designs, chosen from 92 submissions, celebrate and support the role of health care providers in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Coit notes that one design depicts people hanging out the windows of a building, “saying thank you, just like we had that tradition of banging pots out the windows” when the pandemic started last spring.
He says other winning submissions are “just fun and say thank you and have happy heart,” while others are “really compelling images of health-care workers.”
Installation of the graffiti-resistant wraps should be completed in the spring on traffic signal boxes outside of Hamilton General Hospital, Juravinski Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton — Charlton and West Fifth locations.
Coit notes that the project is an extension of public art on 35 utility boxes in the downtown core last year, around the theme of “celebrating urban life.”
He says that initiatives help “prevent graffiti,” “reach out to young artists to give them an opportunity to have the stuff displayed” and “create a sense of pride of place.”
Artists will receive $650 for the use of their work.
The project is funded by Hamilton’s transportation, operations and maintenance division and through the contributions of developers to the Downtown Hamilton Public Art Reserve.
The city spends more than $2 million each year to clean up litter and graffiti, which Mayor Fred Eisenberger has described as a “pervasive problem.”
YYZ Why?: Graffiti Alley evolved to become a top Toronto destination
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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