A View for the People – Art for All
Exhibition 14.06 – 03.09.06
"Volk" (people), "Gesundheit" (health) and "Rasse" (race) are among the most fatal keywords in German art history. These terms gained sad notoriety through Hitler's so-called "cultural speeches". They had, however, already been popular in the late 19th century, when a new medium emerged: photographic reproductions of paintings in art journals, art prints and art postcards.
In 1885 the Munich publishing house Bruckmann brought out the first issue of "Die Kunst für Alle", one of the most widely circulated and influential art journals of its time, which made consistent use of photographic reproductions. The aim of its editors was not only to reproduce art, but to comment and pass judgement on it. The programme indicated in the title was to be fulfilled in the political dimension of the "people" and provided messages which were later taken up by the National Socialists.
The exhibition "A View for the People – Art for All" confronts visitors with the phenomena of continuity and change in the decisive period from 1885 to 1944, during which the journal "Die Kunst für Alle" appeared. The main focus of the exhibition is on works with similar, recurring motifs which were linked with the promulgation of a new "modern" art that instead of being elitist, avant-garde and incomprehensible, was to belong to the people. Such an exhibition is really only conceivable at a venue that represented the crystallisation point of a National Socialist art propaganda which availed itself of the blueprint of "Kunst für Alle": the former "Haus der Deutschen Kunst" in Munich.
The exhibition covers the period from the Empire via the Weimar Republic to the Third Reich. It brings together paintings, prints and postcards by artists such as Franz von Stuck, Hans Thoma and the artists represented in the "Große Deutsche Kunstausstellungen", as well as citations from the Kunst für Alle journal, and presents a view for the people. The exhibition simultaneously functions as a mirror on history, thus facilitating critical reflection on current forms of populist cultural policy.
The exhibition offers viewers a combination of commentary and pictorial and textual reproductions. This synthesis of art criticism, art reproduction, art market and artwork contained in the term "Kunststadt" (art city), which is repeatedly cited in Munich publications with reference to Thomas Mann's short story "Gladius Dei", concentrates on three areas: Both the painted image and the printed image are confronted with various linguistic messages which are taken from the art journal and make a connection between the people (Volk) and art (Kunst).
The complete collection of issues of "Die Kunst für Alle' is on loan for the exhibition from the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte. Furthermore, the complete tables of contents, indexes and selected texts and illustrations made available in digital form by the library of the Zentralinstitut mean that visitors to the exhibition have online access to these data.
More information on the exhibition "Ein Blick für das Volk" [A View for the People] as well as the downloadable digital catalogue and a digital register of the magazine "Die Kunst für Alle" [Art for All] are available at www.arthistoricum.net
Stretch your view
Stretch your view