We’re well into programming for THE HAMPTON YEARS and I’m pleased to share some thoughts and updates.
Last night we had a late-in-the-game programming addition:
The Art and Artists of Pre-War Vienna
- Ori Z Soltes teaches theology and art history at Georgetown University. He is the former Director and Curator of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum.
Ori was fantastic, providing context for the art scene that Viktor Lowenfeld was leaving behind in Austria. He described the Lowenfeld’s as “refugees from an extreme example of people drawing a particular kind of boundary around a particular kind of people”; reflecting on the play itself as it speaks to the human tendency to want to do just that–put metaphorical, and sometimes even literal, boxes around people.
Ori spoke of “degenerate art”, the English translation of the German Entartete Kunst, a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe art that was banned because it was “un-German”. Or as Ori put it, because it was “too Jewish”. Thus by the 1930s, the only acceptable art in Germany (and Austria) was likely to be of “classical inspiration…heroic figures…smiling faces”.
In 1937, Nazi officials purged German museums of works the Party considered to be degenerate. Of the thousands of works removed, 650 were chosen for a special exhibit that opened in Munich and traveled to eleven other cities in Germany and Austria. In each installation, the works were poorly hung and surrounded by graffiti mocking the artists and their creations. Over three million visitors attended the exhibition.
Soltes also pointed out the irony that “not a single member of the Nazi Party leadership actually looked (like the people they wanted portrayed in these paintings) — the Aryan ideal.”
On Sunday, June 9 we hosted:
A Conversation with Julian Bond: Civil Right Activist and former NAACP chairman, with Tanya Bowers, Director for Diversity, Office of the President, National Trust for Historic Preservation