München – Hofgarten

Art was something that had a prominent position in the Third Reich, where mainly the peasant and the working-class culture were hailed. But it was equally important to show what the Nazis called degenerate art (Entartete kunst). On the orders of Hitler, Josef Goebbels, as head of the Chamber of Culture, was ordered to compile an exhibition of degenerate art. Goebbels, in turn, commissioned the president of the National Chamber of visual art, Adolf Ziegler, to compile an exhibition of art objects that were considered harmful to the German soul. Ziegler’s team collected about 5,000 objects from different parts of Germany and from this, about 650 objects were selected, representing cubism, dadaism, futurism, surrealism, expressionism and impressionism.

The exhibition was called Entartete kunst and ran from 19 July to 30 November 1937 in a building in Hofgarten. The exhibition hall was not suited for art exhibitions, but this was a conscious choice to enhance the ”degenerated” impression for the visitor. The objects were hanged up randomly to give the visitor a bad impression and to reinforce the degenerated. The exhibition ran in parallel with Grosse Deutsche Kunstaustellung in Haus der Kunst, Munich, where the Nazis exhibited what the considered to be good art. Entartete Kunstellung became a major success and was visited by about two million while Deutsche Kunstausstellung was visited only by about 400,000. If the large number of visitors indicates that people liked the degenerated art more than Nazi art or if they were curious to see degenerated (dangerous) art, I don’t know. After Munich, the exhibition was sent on tour to other cities in Germany.

Current status: Preserved (2014).

Address: Galeriestrasse 4, 805 39 München.

Get there: Metro to Odeonplatz Station.

My comment:

Exactly to what extent the interior of the premises has changed since 1937, I do not know, but in 2014 there were exhibitions in the building. Externally, the building has undergone minor changes.

Follow up in books: Petropoulus, Jonathan: Art As politics in the Third Reich (2007).