German art dealer Hildebrand Gurlitt liked modern art. But after the Nazis rose to power and banned art they considered "degenerate" - mainly innovative, Modern pieces - he mixed politics with business. The Nazis confiscated the art they condemned, or bought it at rock-bottom prices. In 1938, they recognized the financial potential of these masterpieces and, instead of simply exhibiting them in the name of propaganda, they decided to sell them abroad and fill their pockets with the revenues. How Gurlitt decided to work for Hitler Skilled art dealers were sought for the Nazis' newly founded business. Hildebrand Gurlitt applied for a job in what was advertised as Department IX of the Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. He became one of four art dealers to work for the Nazi regime. By 1944, Gurlitt had closed thousands of art deals for the Nazis and collected numerous artworks for the museum Hitler himself was planning to found in the small city of Linz on the Rhine … [Read more...] about Hitler’s art dealer: Why a Jewish avant-gardist worked for the Nazis
One of the most spectacular art litigation cases in recent history is unfolding as descendants of Jewish art dealers sue the German government over Guelph Treasure ("Welfenschatz") items they claim were illegally appropriated by the Nazis. The former have successfully filed a case in a US court that calls for the treasure, some of which is displayed in a Berlin museum, to be returned the legitimate heirs. But the German government intends to appeal before the April 21 deadline. Jonathan Freiman, a lawyer of the German government, told the "Washington Post" that Germany would defend itself for the first time before a US court. According to the German government, the disputed treasure is lawfully owned by the state-supported Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), which manages the Berlin Museum of Decorative Arts in which the items are held, and must remain in the German capital. After the adoption of the lawsuit by the US court on March 31, 2017, Hermann Parzinger, President … [Read more...] about Nazi-looted art claim sets new test for Germany
Harry Truman and Richard Nixon played piano, Bill Clinton saxophone. John F. Kennedy asked the poet Robert Frost to speak at his inauguration and hosted a number of classical music ensembles at the White House. Jimmy Carter began many mornings of his presidency listening to half an hour of Mozart, absorbed hours of Richard Wagner in the evening and was an avid theater-goer. Theodor Roosevelt invited the pianists and composers Ferruccio Busoni and Ignacy Paderewski to perform at the White House. During the administration of Ronald Reagan, a noted opera singer was slated to appear there. Somewhat uncertain, First Lady Nancy Reagan suggested to her husband that they ask their friend Frank Sinatra for advice. George H.W. Bush preferred country music. In his youth, Barack Obama's idol was Stevie Wonder; his Spotify playlist includes numbers by Marvin Gaye, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Kanye West. What does history reveal about presidents' interest in the arts and how it … [Read more...] about Trump, Clinton and the arts: What would their presidencies mean for culture?
The "Golden Mask" is the most important award in Russian theater. During this year's ceremony on April 18, when Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinski went up on stage to hand out the prestigious prize, he was booed by the audience. "We want 'Tannhäuser'!" people shouted. This was the first public protest in the cultural field in years. The 'Tannhäuser' case The latest production of Richard Wagner's opera "Tannhäuser" provides an example of the current restrictions on artistic freedom in Russia. The case also demonstrates how the state is steering the growing influence of the Church in the public space. Here is a short version of the story that stirred the country a few weeks ago: The opera "Tannhäuser" was presented in the Novosibirsk State Opera just before Christmas in December 2014. The young director, Timofey Kulyabin, reinterpreted the Venus grotto scene as an erotic "Temptation of Christ," freely inspired by Pasolini's reading and in line with the … [Read more...] about Tight restrictions on freedom of art in Russia
Anything can be art, no mater how bizarre it is. The Briton Damien Hirst, for example, knows how to create art from the most remarkable things. He once decorated a human skull with diamonds and exhibited it. The German-Swiss artist Meret Oppenheim was once celebrated for a fur-trimmed cup. Regarding material in art, there is a complete liberty. That also goes for the lesser-known Italian artist Maurizio Savini. Art made of chewing gum Savini's sculptures are formed out of a material that is usually found on sidewalks, if not in your mouth: chewing gum. He needs an average of 10 kilograms (around 22 pounds) for his sculptures, which can easily mean thousands of pieces of gum. But Savini doesn't chew all of them himself. Instead, two assistants unpack the gum, heat the pieces with a hair dryer and knead them into a mass. The artist sticks them on a plaster base. Savini has been working with the material for more than 10 years, and it has a special cultural significance for … [Read more...] about 5 things you probably didn’t know could be made into art