Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Degenerate Art

In 1927, the Nazis created a society that would control art. They said they were trying to prevent it from becoming dirty or corrupted. The Nazis wanted to create a society in which everyone looked alike and had like ideas and opinions. What better way to control thinking than to control art?

Imagine if the government decided to destroy any record of any music that wasn’t classical. And then they did it. Suddenly you couldn’t listen to anything with lyrics. There would be no more rock or hip hop or country or anything else. These music styles have helped to shape our culture and our ideas and after awhile I believe that our thinking would begin to change in their absence. This is what the Nazis were trying to do.

Anyway, they took more than 20,000 works of art, including paintings, drawings, and sculpture, by about 200 artists and chose 650 or so for their exhibit of “Degenerate Art.” The exhibit traveled around Germany, making 12 stops in large cities, before many of the works of art were destroyed.

The exhibit was set up to poke fun at the displayed works of art. The walls were often covered with graffiti, and the artists’ names and titles of paintings were sloppily handwritten on note cards next to the works. Click here to watch a short video clip of people looking at paintings in the Degenerate Art exhibit.

Several artists about whom you have already read, were included in the Degenerate Art exhibit, including Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, and Piet Mondrian.

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