Symposium 75/20 Tag 2: Benjamin H. D. Buchloh — Keynote Lecture

10.06.12

Watch Symposium 75/20 Tag 2: Benjamin H. D. Buchloh — Keynote Lecture

About Symposium 75/20 Tag 2: Benjamin H. D. Buchloh — Keynote Lecture%

Benjamin H. D. Buchloh – Designs and dialectics of annihilation The Degenerate Art Exhibition and the international Surrealist Art Exhibition in 1937 and 1938

Within less than a year, two major exhibitions signaled the imminent end of avant-garde culture in Europe in 1937-1938. The first was a violent campaign of destruction serving National Socialist propaganda goals; a fascist purge of Weimar Germany's progressive museum culture and collections. The second was staged by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp on the premises of Georges Wildenstein's gallery in Paris. In both exhibitions, the newly discovered genre of exhibition design played a major role even if the shows' goals were diametrically opposed. Both shared features in which the avant-garde culture of the previous decades was annihilated. If in the first case the exhibition was about propagating fascist and racist ideology, the second (to the sounds of German military marches) illuminated the fusion of the heretofore utopian Surrealist object with the violence of fashion, and consumer culture's transition to war.

Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Harvard University, Cambridge