Pinakothek in Munich: Dispute over Nazi art: Baselitz demands suspension

The artist Georg Baselitz demands that the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich take down a painting by the Nazi artist Adolf Ziegler.

Pinakothek in Munich: Dispute over Nazi art: Baselitz demands suspension

The artist Georg Baselitz demands that the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich take down a painting by the Nazi artist Adolf Ziegler. It is about the three-part work "Four Elements" with blonde naked women as allegories of fire, water, air and earth.

"The triptych insults those around it! It's shocking that Nazi propaganda is possible in this dingy way in a Munich museum," Baselitz wrote to the general director of the State Painting Collections, Bernhard Maaz, and to Bavaria's Minister of Art, Markus Blume (CSU). The "Süddeutsche Zeitung" had previously reported on the letter, which is also available to the German Press Agency.

Baselitz calls Ziegler a henchman of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels and one of the first representatives of Nazi art policy. The 84-year-old describes it as unbearable that works by artists who were persecuted by the Nazis are hanging near the "Four Elements". In addition, the work dominates the room due to its size and has a Nazi propaganda effect. Baselitz' demand: "Hang him off".

Museum wants a critical examination of Nazi art

Collection manager Maaz and curator Oliver Kase rejected the accusation that the picture, which was a popular postcard motif during the Nazi era and which Adolf Hitler had hung up in the NSDAP headquarters in Munich, had a propaganda effect. In the rearranged permanent exhibition "Mix

Maaz and Kase respect Baselitz's point of view. "We consider critical reactions and discussions to be important and essential in the context of Nazi art," they explained. "This exchange presupposes that Nazi art can be seen in the original. The ongoing hiding of problematic art never leads to critical discourse, but only to the continuation of the taboo."

Maaz and Kase look to the future: "Our generation must find its way to a historically objective engagement with Nazi art beyond moralizing accusations, as has happily begun a few years ago and is appreciated by experts and large sections of the public," write you. Especially in Munich, 1937 first station of the Feme exhibition "Degenerate Art", it is necessary for younger generations to deal with this difficult chapter of German art history beyond taboos and demonizations.

Art Minister Blume also responded to the letter. "The words of Georg Baselitz, one of the most important contemporary artists, carry weight, of course," said the minister. "I asked the Bavarian State Painting Collections to get in touch with Georg Baselitz and to deal with his arguments."

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