Now celebrating its 80th anniversary, Manhattan’s Galerie St. Etienne brings a scholarly approach to a uniquely diverse lineup.
London 1938: Defending “Degenerate” German Art tells the story of a monumental British exhibition of artists persecuted by the Nazis.
Der Sturm, the title of the arts magazine that served as the mouthpiece for German Expressionism during the Weimar Republic, translates to “the storm.”
My favorite shelf in the home library is where Raymond Roussel, the Comte de Lautréamont, E.T. A. Hoffmann, Leonora Carrington and other writers form a brilliant phalanx of eccentricity and marvel. I turn to it like a five-hour energy drink, sampling a few pages of, say, Raymond Queneau or Heinrich von Kleist when in need of a shot of alternative reality (I’m waiting for cable to start producing surreality shows in which men and women practice automatic writing while in trances).
So what fun to add Paul Scheerbart and his perpetual motion machine to the line-up, an altogether delightful addition to the foule folle. A German writer who was born in the Prussian port of Danzig and lived in Berlin for much of his life, Scheerbart (1863-1915) was a jack of all genres — art critic, playwright, novelist, poet, etc. — with many muses.
After a decade epitomized by airbrushed photographs that cast the face as a smooth, even and perfect plane of color, these artists are rebelling with wickedly raw and vibrantly colored skin. It was a welcome surprise … Matisse is back from the dead and training artists at an underground tattoo parlor in Bushwick.