Degenerated anti Nazi art

Art attacking the totalitarian propaganda art of the NSDAP by using their own tools of seduction. Mix media Painting on canvas and prints on metal based on new photo montage. 2015

Read more

Anti-Propaganda Art dealing with the totalitarian horror regime of the “Third Reich“ 1933-1945.

I have for the last 30 years worked in the tradition of my childhood idol John Heartfield, who had the courage to mock Hitler and the Nazis with his art at an early time of the growing NSDAP movement.

My art is the antidote, a counter art attack on the attack on the free art by the Nazis.

If any art vision was ever “Degenerated “ if any ideology was ever totally distorted and dangerously sick, it was the one of the National Socialist movement. My art do not glorify any of its propagandistic expressions, to the contrary. It dismantle the banal, and the seductive “Folklich” approach to glorify the factory worker, the farmer, the mother of many children, the soldier, the hero etc. In the same way as the Stalinist Soviet Union did at the same time. My art makes fun of what actually was the “excepted normal standards” of the day.

By using the symbols and images of Nazi propaganda machinery, in my anti totalitarian art, I reverse its seductive powers it represented and reveal its brutal banality.

John Heartfield (19 June 1891, Berlin – 26 April 1968, East Berlin) is the anglicized name of the German photomontage artist Helmut Herzfeld. He chose to call himself Heartfield in 1916, to criticize the rabid nationalism and anti-British sentiment prevalent in Germany during World War I. In 1933, after the National Socialists came to power in Germany, Heartfield relocated to Czechoslovakia, where he continued his photomontage work for the AIZ (which was published in exile); in 1938, fearing a German takeover of his host country, he left for England. His photomontages satirizing Adolf Hitler and the Nazis often subverted Nazi symbols such as the swastika in order to undermine their propaganda message.

One of his most famous pieces, made in 1935 entitled Hurrah, die Butter ist Alle! (English: Hurray, the butter is gone!) was published on the front page of the AIZ in 1935. A parody of the aesthetics of propaganda, the photomontage shows a family at a kitchen table, where a nearby portrait of Hitler hangs and the wallpaper is emblazoned with swastikas. The family — mother, father, old woman, young man, baby, and dog — are attempting to eat pieces of metal, such as chains, bicycle handlebars, and rifles. Below, the title is written in large letters, in addition to a quote by Hermann Göring during food shortage. Translated, the quote reads: "Iron has always made a nation strong, butter and lard have only made the people fat".

Degenerate art is the English translation of the German Entartete Kunst, a term adopted by the Nazi regime in Germany to describe virtually all modern art. Such art was banned on the grounds that it was un-German or Jewish Bolshevist in nature, and those identified as degenerate artists were subjected to sanctions. These included being dismissed from teaching positions, being forbidden to exhibit or to sell their art, and in some cases being forbidden to produce art entirely.

Degenerate Art was also the title of an exhibition, mounted by the Nazis in Munich in 1937, consisting of modernist artworks chaotically hung and accompanied by text labels deriding the art. Designed to inflame public opinion against modernism, the exhibition subsequently traveled to several other cities in Germany and Austria.

While modern styles of art were prohibited, the Nazis promoted paintings and sculptures that were traditional in manner and that exalted the "blood and soil" values of racial purity, militarism, and obedience. Similarly, music was expected to be tonal and free of any jazz influences; films and plays were censored.

Artistic movements condemned as degenerate: Bauhaus, Cubism, Dada, Expressionism, Fauvism, Impressionism, New Objectivity, Surrealism. Some of the many artists labeled as degenerated in the 1937 Munich show: Max Beckmann, Marc Chagall, Otto Dix, Max Ernst, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann, Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, El Lissitzky, László Moholy-Nagy, Piet Mondrian, Emil Nolde, Otto Pankok, Max Pechstein, Max Peiffer-Watenphul, Hans Purrmann, Max Rauh, Hans Richter, Emy Röder, Christian Rohlfs, Edwin Scharff, Oskar Schlemmer, Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Werner Scholz, Lothar Schreyer, Otto Schubert, Kurt Schwitters, Lasar Segall, Friedrich Skade, Friedrich (Fritz) Stuckenberg, Paul Thalheimer, Johannes Tietz, Arnold Topp, Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, Karl Völker, Christoph Voll, William Wauer, Gert Heinrich Wollheim.