BY MAUREEN KELLEHER,
(WITH EDWARD LUCIE-SMITH)
This show was curated by Janet Rady (Janet Rady Fine Art, London) and Edward Lucie-Smith (art writer, art historian, critic, and artist). I was asked to write something about the show -- for my newsletter -- as Edward felt there needed to be some distance between curator / show / reviewer.
So, voila! I wrote. See below.
Werkstattgalerie, Berlin, spring 2010.
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There has been discord over this show. There is shilly-shallying; there is a multi-layered message; there is fence straddling.
One ‘revolutionary” Iranian critic reaches back in time, cherry picks a phrase the Nazis coined to dismiss all modern art (and those who made it), and applies it to his unfortunate compatriots. The effect puts “Iranian Bodies” smack dab in the category of “degenerate art.”
The phrase “entartete kunst” was used to discredit, devalue, and destroy modern art in 1930’s Germany. And modern art of the day was made by, as the Nazis called them, “degenerates.” The world knows how extremely, atrociously, viciously the Nazis stomped in their quest to attain All Things Their Way.
The Iranians have recently, in collaboration with the German Ministry of Culture, exhibited Kollwitz and Berlach, who were the embodiment of everything the Nazis hated. Clearly, there has been a 180 degree shift, vis-a-vis the so-called art degenerates.
Germany and the rest of the world continues to sing loud and long that suppression of a group/s in an effort to cleanse, is wrong on every front, and by all means, we vow, this will never happen again.
Fast forward to Berlin, spring 2010.
Say again: what is happening on that art fence? Who’s sitting up there now? The critic, waxing intelligently? The bully, threatening powerfully? The artist, who’s always holding on for dear life, because it’s his/her habit to express the love for life, in ways imaginable/unimaginable, soothing/shocking, comforting/threatening.
Suppression is happening, OK. You’d better believe it. The bully has the choice spot, and, of course, he’s also the biggest one up there. He could use that fence in ugly ways; he has used that fence in ugly ways. Go figure.
How do you say barbed wire in Farsi?
MK, March/April 2010
(with Edward Lucie-Smith)
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Exhibition: 19th February - 12th March 2010