Thursday, October 25, 2012

Did the Nazis Inadvertently Globalize Modern Art?

For all the ugliness of Nazism in thought and deed, it’s striking to consider just how much they contemplated the arts. From the failed painter Adolf Hitler to the failed architect Albert Speer to the failed art collector Herman Göring, the Nazis spent an inordinate amount of time focused on what art was good and what art was bad. But “bad” wasn’t strong enough a term. “Degenerate art” irked them so much they actually staged an entire art exhibit around art they deemed a sign of degenerate morals, mental illness, and, of course, Judaism. The exhibit, titled Entartete Kunst in German, marked the end of Europe as the center of modern art and spread both the artists and their ideas around the world in a cultural diaspora of unprecedented proportions, thus accelerating a process that might have taken decades otherwise (if at all). Did the Nazis inadvertently globalize modern art? Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Did the Nazis Inadvertently Globalize ModernArt?"

[Image: Nazi Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels views the Degenerate Art exhibition in Munich, Germany, in 1937. Image source.]

1 comment:

Hels said...

The Nazis did nothing by accident. Their policies on art and music were carefully thought out, well funded and well supported. Even when the Degenerate paintings were culled from the walls of all public galleries in Germany and its allies, those paintings could have been destroyed, had the Nazis wanted. Some were destroyed, to be sure, but the majority were:

a. taken into the private collections of Nazi taste makers or
b. sold on the open auction market in Switzerland to any buyer who loved the paintings. The Nazis didn't care who bought the Degenerate works - they wanted to cash in on what they saw as dangerous rubbish.