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Caught by Politics: Hitler Exiles and American Visual Culture

Overview

Caught by Politics recalls the exile of German and European visual artists and film practitioners in the United States. The book traces the paths and aesthetic strategies of Hitler exiles in the United States as ones of productive encounters and ironic cultural masquerades. While stressing creative transformations and performative self-reinventions, the accounts don't ignore the hardship of forced displacement. Caught by Politics encourages the reader to revise dominant and one-sided understandings of modernist ...

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Overview

Caught by Politics recalls the exile of German and European visual artists and film practitioners in the United States. The book traces the paths and aesthetic strategies of Hitler exiles in the United States as ones of productive encounters and ironic cultural masquerades. While stressing creative transformations and performative self-reinventions, the accounts don't ignore the hardship of forced displacement. Caught by Politics encourages the reader to revise dominant and one-sided understandings of modernist culture and instead to engage with the various cross-cultural dialogues between European and American artists. Whether discovering the work of visual artists such as Max Beckmann and George Grosz, of designers such as Jakob Detlef Peters, or of directors and popular film practitioners such as Hans Richter, Edgar Ulmer and Peter Lorre, all authors understand their object of study not in isolation from other media of expression, but as part of the effervescent circulation of images typical for modern industrial society.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Eckmann and Koepnick's anthology Caught by Politics is an innovative cross- cultural examination of the multiple paths of European exiles to the United States that offers new readings about the nature of modernism. By bringing together art history, architectural history, film and media studies the book seeks to complicate Adorno's familiar perspective of exile as an experience of loss, mourbaning, and rupture, and proposes instead that the exile's life in America provided the opportunity for new and creative ways to engage with modernist art and culture. Essays on Beckmann, Grosz, the Surrealists in the U.S and the reception of refugee artists reveal exilic art, architecture and film as a hybrid of multiple cultural influences and political agendas. The inclusion of provocative essays on architects Peter and Schneider, the horror films of Edgar Ulmer, and the career of actor Peter Lorre enrich this comparative study of what traditionally is divided as high and low. This book is an essential reading for any student of exile, modernism, and those interested in the complexity and nuances that complicate the canon."—Stephanie Barron, Senior Curator of the Los Angels County Museum of Art and curator of Degenerate Art: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany and Exiles and Emigres: The Flight of European Artists from Hitler
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sabine Eckmann is the director of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis. She is the author and co-editor of Exil und Moderne (2005), Exiles and Emigrés: The Flight of European Artists from Hitler (1997), and Collage und Assemblage als Neue Kunstgattungen Dadas (1995). She has published widely on exile artists including Max Beckmann, John Heartfield, and Felix Nussbaum as well as German Contemporary Art.

Lutz Koepnick is Professor of German, Film and Media Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of Framing Attention: Windows on Modern German Culture (2007), The Dark Mirror: German Cinema between Hitler and Hollywood (2002), Walter Benjamin and the Aesthetics of Power (1999), and Nothungs Modernität: Wagners Ring in die Poesie der Politik im neunzehnten Jahrhundert (1994).

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Table of Contents

Part I: Exile and the Revaluation of High Art * Reflections on Max Beckmann's Experience of His American Exile—Françoise Forster-Hahn
• George Grosz in Dallas—Barbara McCloskey * The American Reception of Surrealism—Angela Miller
• German Exile, Modern Art and National Identity—Sabine Eckmann
Part II: A Guide for Emigrants * "You Know, This Isn't Bad Advice!!"—Renata Stih and Frieder Schnock
Part III: Popular Modernism and the Legacy of the Avant-garde in Exile
• Peters and Schneider: The Drawing Board as Home—Iain Boyd Whyte
• Permanent Vacation: Home and Homelessness in the Films of Edgar G. Ulmer—Noah Isenberg
• Mad Love: Re-Membering Berlin in Hollywood Exile— Lutz Koepnick
• Directing the Archive: Hans Richter and the Legacies of the European Avant-garde—Nora M. Alter

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