I’ve wanted to write about Pussy Riot for a long time. Actually I’ve just wanted to write the words Pussy Riot. And maybe a long time just means lately.
Outside loving the name of this feminista-punk-activist band, I know very little about them or the controversy they caused when they stormed an orthodox church in Moscow.
|Anti-Putin feminist punks on trial in Moscow|
Which caused me to think about how our society ingests, devours its female artist. Think Amy Winehouse and Whitney Houston just lately.
Which led me to thinking about artists in Weimar Germany. The fourteen years of the Weimar era were marked by crazy explosive intellectual and creative productivity. Found this at Wiki:Kirkus Reviews remarked upon how much Weimar art was political:
fiercely experimental, iconoclastic and left-leaning, spiritually hostile to big business and bourgeois society and at daggers drawn with Prussian militarism and authoritarianism. Not surprisingly, the old autocratic German establishment saw it as 'decadent art', a view shared by Adolf Hitler who became Chancellor of Germany in January 1933. The public burning of 'unGerman books' by Nazi students on Unter den Linden on 10th May 1933 was but a symbolic confirmation of the catastrophe which befell not only Weimar art under Hitler but the whole tradition of enlightenment liberalism in Germany, a tradition whose origins went back to the 18th century city of Weimar, home to both Goethe and Schiller.
I was thinking particularly of Otto Dix which I believe the Art Institute of Chicago has a painting. He enjoyed the Weimar years and then fell out of favor with Hitler. Which isn’t such a bad thing—until you’re put into prison, demoted, lose your job and are forcibly conscripted. Again from wiki:When the Nazis came to power in Germany, they regarded Dix as a degenerate artist and had him sacked from his post as an art teacher at the Dresden Academy. He later moved to Lake Constance in the southwest of Germany. Dix's paintings The Trench and War cripples were exhibited in the state-sponsored Munich 1937 exhibition of degenerate art, Entartete Kunst. They were later burned.
Dix, like all other practicing artists, was forced to join the Nazi government's Reich Chamber of Fine Arts (Reichskammer der bildenden Kuenste), a subdivision of Goebbels' Cultural Ministry (Reichskulturkammer). Membership was mandatory for all artists in the Reich. Dix had to promise to paint only inoffensive landscapes. He still painted an occasional allegorical painting that criticized Nazi ideals.
In 1939 he was arrested on a trumped-up charge of being involved in a plot against Hitler (see Georg Elser), but was later released.
During World War II Dix was conscripted into the Volkssturm.