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Kokoschka at the Leopold

Post #1835 • April 25, 2019, 6:30 PM • 3 Comments

[Image: Oskar Kokoschka, Dresden, Augustus Bridge with Figure from Behind, 1923, oil on canvas, Oskar Kokoschka Foundation]

Oskar Kokoschka, Dresden, Augustus Bridge with Figure from Behind, 1923, oil on canvas, Oskar Kokoschka Foundation

My review of "Oskar Kokoschka: Expressionist, Migrant, European" at the Leopold Museum in Vienna is up at The New Criterion.

Comment

1.

Doug Bowker

April 26, 2019, 4:32 PM

Fascinating review and history. Seeing the title of his painting Self-Portrait of a Degenerate Artist brought back to mind a phenomenal show that was put together at the Hirshorn Museum in Washington, DC in 1991 (and later at other museums around the country) entitled "Degenerate Art." The show was a facsimile of the same show organized by the Nazis, meant to cast a negative and disparaging light upon the avant-garde artists of the time. Thus the one in 1991 even had the condescending titles on the walls (translated to English) that the Nazis had used, like "Absurd at any price!" and things like that. Unfortunately a number of the original works ended up being destroyed and went missing in the meantime, but a great deal were still around to bring together. Many of the disparaging comments or titles were not all the different than the way Sen. Jesse Helms viewed what he considered "degenerate" art back then actually. The show also had additional historic commentary and materials to give it context and how things played out.

The catalogue from the show is still available if you missed it: Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant Garde in Nazi Germany.

2.

Franklin

April 28, 2019, 9:08 PM

Many of the disparaging comments or titles were not all the different than the way Sen. Jesse Helms viewed what he considered "degenerate" art back then actually.

For that matter, consider the kind of talk that surrounds contemporary beefs regarding the oeuvre of Woody Allen, Michael Jackson, Kevin Spacey, et cetera, or all the historical work now found to be impermissible by the standards of social justice circa ten minutes ago.

3.

Franklin

April 29, 2019, 9:17 AM

Additionally, consider the "Nature's Nation" exhibition in your proverbial back yard, which I reviewed. They put art on the walls so they could classify the artist by race and discuss the vices (in the case of the white artists) or the virtues (for everybody else) supposedly associated with their ethnic stock. Some people have the fascinating idea that you can fight racism by imitating racists, which raises the question of why they're so good at imitating racists and so eager to do so. I'm sure the curators weren't thinking of "Entartete Kunst" but their show is a direct descendant.

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