The Work of Art and the Problem of Politics in Berlin Dada

11 Dec

George Grosz and John Heartfield wrote the “Art Scoundrel” in a Berlin Journal called “the Opponent” basically stating the politics of how someone would want to save a painting more than a person.

The article written, began making me think of the degenerate art show in which many people from around the world came to the auction to “protect the artwork”. The Nazi’s at this time had labeled the artwork as less than art and not hardly representational. They preferred artwork that represented the third Reich the best and sold off the ones they deemed less than worthy for their shows. In many instances, people were willing to go much higher than they had originally paid for the pieces.

When thinking of this, it began making me think that those people knew that the Nazi’s were going to be using it for other purposes other than what they said. However, if these people knew what exactly their money was going towards, would they still have bought them? They were told in the beginning what it was for, even though they knew it wouldn’t be for those purposes, but they chose to go to the auction anyways. While many famous works were indeed saved was it worth knowing that these people using their money to benefit the Nazis?

Frankly, it all comes around and the Dadaists seemed to bring up a moral implication saying, “Is it really worth it?” The Expressionists said yes, the Dadaists and Modernists say no. However, from an artist’s stand point we are taught to put our work above ourselves. The work is an extension of the artist and represents everything we are; it is our portfolio for a commission or a job and is saying, this is who I am. The Expressionists may have been thinking, if you lose the piece you lose the person behind the work. When thinking this way, I could see the how the Expressionists feel, but their motives are entirely selfish in that stance. They are taking something and projecting their own feelings into a piece and making it into essentially a person.

It truly brings up a moral dilemma in how we perceive things and whether or not that object is considered valuable to us by whether or not we can project ourselves into that piece or a certain association with an emotion. The pieces are just oil on canvas, but people tend to over extend their emotions when they feel inspiration or attachment to it.

L. Engle


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