Nazi sculptor exhibition called 'negligent'

29th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

29 August 2006, SCHWERIN - The president of Germany's Academy of Art Monday called the current exhibit of Hitler's favourite sculptor, Arno Breker, negligent and called for serious changes in the display.

29 August 2006

SCHWERIN - The president of Germany's Academy of Art Monday called the current exhibit of Hitler's favourite sculptor, Arno Breker, negligent and called for serious changes in the display.

Klaus Staeck, an artist and president of the academy, made the comments in a heated debate with Hans-Robert Metelmann, education minister in the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in front of 300 people at the Schweriner Volkszeitung newspaper.

"It would be negligent to let the exhibit continues as it is," Staeck said.

Art critics charge that the five-week-old exhibit of works by Arno Breker in this city on the Baltic Sea whitewashes the sculptor's close ties with the Third Reich, glorifies his disputed career and amounts to a publicly financed bid to rehabilitate him.

School children especially need the work to be put in perspective, said Staeck, an artist who has protested by cancelling an exhibition of his own work that was due to be held in Schwerin in 2007.

Metelmann offered to pay for additional guided tours for students, but defended the exhibit in front of a critical audience.

"Breker is not primarily an art exhibit, rather it is an exhibition of political development," Metelmann countered, and the exhibit serves to illustrate how art can be used to serve a criminal ideology.

The show does not serve that goal in its current form, Staeck said.

The exhibit is set to run until October 22, and has drawn 20,000 visitors since it opened.

Among Breker's more notorious Nazi works are his Herculean-sized athletic statues for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium, and his torch and sword-bearer sculptures that decorated the Nazi Chancellery courtyard.

For the most part, the current Breker exhibition focuses on his smaller sculptures and reliefs. The colossal-sized works on which he built his reputation play only a small role, and are represented by bronze miniatures, since they are too big to fit into the modest- sized museum.

Breker (1900-1991) emerged in the 1920s as a promising sculptor, and was named state sculptor by the Nazis in 1936. Attempts to display his work since World War II have been met with protests. A group of German artists has demanded the immediate cancellation of the exhibit.

DPA

Subject: German news

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