How the documenta invented the “Zero Hour” in art after 1945

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“documenta. Politics and Art” from 18 June 2021 to 9 January 2022


The documenta owes its increase to the most productive German art exhibition not minimum to its political dimension: its disassociation from Countrywide Socialism and the bloc building of the Cold War. It was educated on the one hand by the intended endeavor to distance alone radically from Nazi cultural politics though at the similar time refusing to offer brazenly with the Nazi past. On the other hand, its politically enthusiastic orientation on the West provided a determined aloofness towards and denigration of the socialist art of the “Eastern bloc”.


With “documenta. Politics and Art” the Deutsches Historisches Museum takes up the case in point of the well-known exhibition in Kassel to shed light on the manifold interactions between politics and artwork in the modern society of the Federal Republic following 1945. Parallel to this, the exhibition “‘Divinely Gifted’. Countrywide Socialism’s favoured artists in the Federal Republic” (27.8.21 – 6.2.22) provides for the initially time an evaluation of the article-war professions of so-named “divinely gifted” visual artists whom the Nazi authorities, from 1944 on, experienced considered to be “indispensable” and had been therefore exempt from front-line army services or other operate for the war effort.


Raphael Gross, President of the Deutsches Historisches Museum: “With these exhibitions we want to carry to gentle a new standpoint on the record of the Federal Republic in its intercontinental context. Both of those of them appropriate the notion of a radical aesthetic new commencing, which has generally been attributed to the documenta and of which the early documenta framers designed in depth use. There have been, in simple fact, unbroken strains major back again to Countrywide Socialism. Works by murdered Jewish artists discovered no area in the early editions of the documenta. And in our exhibition on the formerly practically unresearched ‘Divinely Gifted’, we are demonstrating, conversely, the degree to which this group of visible artists who had been energetic in the Nazi cultural sector dominated the public room after 1945 and continue on to dominate it to this day.”


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