Sandwiched between Germany’s 1918 defeat at the end of World War I and the rise of Nazism in 1933, Weimar Germany was a period of vibrant artistic, cultural, social, and political experimentation. From literature to music, art, theater, and cinema, movements including German Expressionism, Neue Sachlichkeit, and the Bauhaus reflected a radical new society, one that offered a hopeful, if tumultuous, vision for the future. Although it began over a century ago, and lasted little more than a decade, the Weimar Era has a poignant relevance for our current times.
“Eras of rationality, optimism, and growth can give way, quite quickly, to the opposite,” says conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. “Progress is not inevitable, and perhaps we are living through something that is very similar to the Weimar Republic without knowing it.”
Beginning this Thursday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic will kick off a month-long festival of music, art, and theater celebrating the Weimar Era. The series will be anchored by two musical programs conducted by Salonen featuring music by influential German composer Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weil, along with Weil’s frequent collaborator, the playwright Bertolt Brecht. Alongside these two performances, Nana Bahlmann and LACMA’s Stephanie Barron have curated Weimar Variations, a series of events, exhibitions, and installations that expand on the explosive creativity of the period. These include a reading of Kurt Schwitters’ 1932 sound poem Ursonate; an exhibition focused on Oskar Schlemmer’s costumes for the Bauhaus Triadic Ballet, with exhibition design by Frank Gehry; and a contemporary sound installation by Susan Philipsz based on Hanns Eisler’s 12-tone composition for Walter Ruttman’s 1926 animated film Opus III. This Friday and Sunday, there will be a public chorus on the street in front of the Walt Disney Concert Hall singing popular protest and labor songs of the period.
Opening on February 15, Hauser & Wirth will be presenting an exhibition of August Sander’s photographs titled New Women, New Men, and New Identities, that examines queer identities in Weimar Germany. The festival’s closing event will be a screening of “Pandora’s Box,” G.W. Pabst’s 1929 silent film starring Louise Brooks as a dancer turned prostitute, that captures the era’s social upheavals and transgressive freedoms that would be lost a few years later.
When: Thursday, February 6–Saturday, February 29
Where: Walt Disney Concert Hall (111 S. Grand Ave., Downtown, Los Angeles), and other venues.
More info at LA Phil.
Bobby Wilson Combats Indigenous Stereotypes Through Humor
The artist-performer’s career undulates, ever so gracefully, across multiple mediums and registers of generational pain, healing laughter, and Indigenous joy.
Rare 19th-Century Silhouette Album’s Secrets Unlocked
Traveling portrait artist William Bache’s album depicts famous figures like Thomas Jefferson as well as people whose identity was previously unknown.
Nevada Museum of Art Presents Adaline Kent: The Click of Authenticity
For the first time in nearly 60 years, the innovative yet under-recognized artist is the subject of a retrospective exhibition. On view in Reno, Nevada.
Artists Show What They Can Do With a Google Phone’s Camera
Works by 20 photographers are now on view in Manhattan for the seventh season and 100th project coming out of the Google Creator Labs.
Met Museum Kicked Me Out for Praying to My Ancestral Gods
My danced prayer to looted Cambodian antiquities was too much for the New York museum.
The Public Theater in NYC Presents Plays for the Plague Year
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks’s theatrical concert chronicles the 2020 lockdown and the hope and perseverance that emerged from it.
A Museum Guard’s Ode to the Healing Power of Art
In All the Beauty in the World, Patrick Bringley revisits the many ways that art meets life, and life art, and how death is often the bridge between them.
UK Extends Export Ban on Coveted “Portrait of Omai”
London’s National Portrait Gallery was given a few months to acquire the work, which depicts the first Polynesian visitor to the UK.
Mondays at Pratt Institute: Weekly Openings of Work by Graduating Artists
Free and open to the public, Pratt Shows celebrate the school’s graduating students. MFA and BFA work on view this spring in Brooklyn, New York.
The Sculptor Making Art With Loved Ones’ Ashes
Inspired by the three-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, Julian Stair’s exhibition honors the lives of eight people with cinerary jars.
Art Institute of Chicago Under Scrutiny Over Sacred Nepali Necklace
The 17th-century object remains on display at the Chicago museum despite Nepal’s calls for repatriation.
LSU School of Art Grants Highest MFA Stipends in the Southern US
With funded assistantships, full tuition waivers, and generous stipends, Louisiana State University helps students lay the groundwork for a successful lifelong art practice.
Art Problems: How Do I Get a Public Art Commission?
Want to leave a mark on your city or town, but don’t know where to start? Paddy Johnson has some tips.
Rose B. Simpson Embeds Ancestral Histories in Clay
She has taken clay and used it to recall its ancestral roots in Pueblo culture and address the present history of postcolonial recovery and ongoing trauma.