“You might not expect much drama from “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Germany 1937,” a succinct historical show at the Neue Galerie. The subject—the propagandistic “Degenerate Art” exhibition, which presented modernist works for popular vilification—is familiar, and it ranks as scarcely a footnote in the annals of Third Reich infamy. But the nuanced treatment of the event, by the German curator Olaf Peters, shocks anew, even at a distance of seventy-seven years. Peters has done a lot with a little: only about twenty works that appeared in the show, along with others by the same artists. Apposite photographs and films accompany the works. One room features empty frames that once held large paintings—probably destroyed—by the likes of Max Beckmann, Paul Klee, Otto Dix, George Grosz, and Oskar Kokoschka. The show decants an essence of Nazism’s malice and the mass hysteria on which it fed. Is the target only art? Art was no incidental matter for Adolf Hitler, whose designs on the world, keyed to the rightful dominance of a purified master race, were aesthetic at their twisted root."
—The New Yorker
President: Ronald S. Lauder
Director: Renée Price
Deputy Director: Scott Gutterman
Curator: Olaf Peters
Assistant Curator: Janis Staggs
Creative Director: Richard Pandiscio
Art Director: William Loccisano
Photographer: Hulya Kolabas
In response to record-breaking attendance, the exhibition was extended two months. Originally scheduled to close June 30, the exhibition was on view from March 13 until September 1, 2014.