Friday, 2 May 2014

New York and "Degenerate Art"

Nazi art and "degenerate" art: which is which?
Image: Neue Galerie, New York.

Today in Hell's Kitchen: the guy in front of me crossed the street while chatting on his phone. He got hit by a car (loud thump and he was thrown to the ground). Everyone including me ran to him and asked if he was ok. He just got up, phone in hand, waved us away and continued down the street, while *still chatting into his phone*.

In other news, the "Degenerate Art" exhibition at Neue Galerie is excellent. They show (modernist) paintings that were banned by the Nazis as well as paintings that were endorsed by them (naked blondes, naked athlete, glorified soldier, peasant with cow etc etc). When I went, half the visitors were German and the other half seemed a bit unsure which were the Nazi paintings and which were the anti-Nazi ones. To be fair, unless you're familiar with the topic, you wouldn't necessarily know. It's not as if all artists promoted by the Nazis painted soldiers and swastikas. Some simply painted ordinary subjects in a stiff and stuffy kind of realism. I couldn't help but eavesdrop on the other visitors, it was fascinating to hear what they made of it all.

One sweet and slightly befuddled American lady, standing in front of one of the Nazi-endorsed paintings ("The Art Newspaper"): "You know... I kinda like this one."

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