The George Economou Collection brings “Degenerate Art” to the Hermitage

Anselm Kiefer, Tempelhof, 2011, Oil, acrylic, terracotta, lead and salt on canvas. Photograph: Ben Westoby, Courtesy of White Cube, London

Anselm Kiefer, Tempelhof, 2011, Oil, acrylic, terracotta, lead and salt on canvas.                                                               Photograph: Ben Westoby, Courtesy of White Cube, London

Following the news that the Hermitage’s newly-opened General Staff building will host Manifesta 10 in 2014, the Hermitage has announced that this summer it will continue its contemporary programming (which got off to a rocky start with the Chapman Brothers’ “End of Fun” allegedly offending religious sentiments last fall) with a selection from the Athens-based George Economou Collection.

Gegenlicht. German Art from the George Economou Collection will explore the legacy of German Expressionism and New Objectivity as it influenced German art of the Postwar and Contemporary Period. Deemed “Degenerate” in its own country, this style would prove a powerful tool for communicating the otherwise unspeakable realities left in the wake of the War. Artists range from New Objectivity painters Otto Dix and George Grosz, to German Expressionists Ernst Kirchner and Max Pechstein, to contemporary masters Anselm Kiefer, Georg Baselitz,  and Neo Rauch.

Granted, it certainly sounds like heavy lifting, but we are interested to see how the historical discussion of “Degenerate Art” plays out in present-day Petersburg, where censorship is anything but ancient history.

The exhibition will run from May 24, 2013 through January 19, 2014, providing ample opportunity for interested viewers to get in a trip.

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