Nearly 20 years after World War II, the people of Germany began to grapple with issues of national identity—and it shows through their art.
Tonight, the Ackland Art Museum is opening its newest exhibitions, both of which explore modern Germany.
“De-Natured: German Art from Joseph Beuys to Martin Kippenberger” and “Romantic Dreams, Rude Awakenings: Northern European Prints and Drawings, 1840-1940” feature mixed medium works from German artists.
Emily Bowles, director of communications at the Ackland, said that all of the artists featured in “De-Natured” grew up during World War II or the Cold War.
“It’s mainly art that comes out of a shared cultural experience,” Bowles said. “They all work with representation, national identity and instability.”
Richard Langston, a professor in UNC’s Germanic languages department who specializes in postwar German literature and media, said that the featured artists focus on the role of art within society.
“All of these artists are very much vetted to what role art can play,” Langston said. “They’re thinking about the place of art in our daily lives.”
The work of Joseph Beuys is the earliest of those that will be featured in the exhibition. Beuys used felt as a medium and many of his pieces have a political tinge.