Weimar and Now: Suggested Reading for the LACMA and the Neue Galerie Exhibitions

Germany’s Weimar Republic, established in 1919 and positioned squarely between the first World War and the rise of the Nazi Party, was not only a time of dramatic social, economic, and political transformation. The Weimar period was host to an iconic scene of complex, experimental new art.

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“Few modern urban settings have exerted a stronger grip on the popular imagination than Weimar Berlin,” writes Martin Filler in the New York Review of Books, “typically presented as a nonstop freak show of grotesque transvestites and mutilated war vets, lumpen Brechtian beggars and top-hatted industrialists, Charleston-crazed floozies, effete gigolos, and brazen rent boys. To be sure, this cartoonish image originated in the period’s corrosively satirical art, especially that of George Grosz, Otto Dix, and Max Beckmann.”

This “creative maelstrom” that Filler describes is captured in two Weimar art exhibitions, open now: Berlin Metropolis: 1918–1933 at Neue Galerie in NY, which runs through January 4th, 2016, and New Objectivity: Modern German Art in the Weimar Republic, 1919–1933 at LACMA in Los Angeles, which runs through January 18, 2016.

To learn more about the revolutionary modern artists featured in these exhibits, check UC Press’ recent titles about Weimar artists, Revolutionary Beauty: The Radical Photomontages of John Heartfield and The Exile of George Grosz: Modernism, America, and the One World Order, as well as many other titles in our Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism series. The full series list can be found on the series page.

For more on these exhibitions and the fascinating history behind them, we also recommend this podcast with Modern Art Notes, featuring Tyler Green, a forthcoming UC Press author.