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Objects as History in Twentieth-Century German Art

Objects as History in Twentieth-Century German Art

Objects as History in Twentieth-Century German Art

By Peter Chametzky

“Chametzky’s book offers an interesting theoretical analysis of German art. Its sources and documentation are abundant. Chametzky’s knowledge of German art is impressive.”—Yves Laberge, German Studies Review

“Compelling. . . . [Chametzky includes] appropriate critical/theoretical and cultural/historical background throughout.”—Shelley Cordulack, Millikin University European Legacy

"This engaging book asks fundamental questions about the object in history and how meaning in art is produced and altered over time. Seamlessly weaving together discourses on gender, the body, ethnicity, film, mass media, and art history, Chametzky deftly explores German art from modernism to post-modernism through cogent case studies drawn from the Wilhelmine, Weimar, Nazi, Cold War, and Reunification eras. His perceptive ventures into such areas as Dada, the machine, and hitherto overlooked Jewish utopian thought provide fresh insights on German art and culture."—Timothy O. Benson, author of Raoul Hausmann and Berlin Dada

This book provides a stimulating overview of twentieth-century German art, focusing on some of the period's key works by Max Beckmann, George Grosz, Hannah Höch, Willi Baumeister, Arno Breker, Joseph Beuys, and Gerhard Richter. In Peter Chametzky's innovative approach, these works become representatives rather than representations of twentieth-century history. That is, the art here does not simply illustrate an argument, the art is the argument. Chametzky draws on both scholarly and popular sources to demonstrate how the works (and in some cases, the artists themselves) interacted with, and even enacted, historical events, processes, and ideas. He asserts the continued historical role of material art works in an era when less material forms—photography, film, television, video, digital images—have assumed the function of visually depicting contemporary history.

286 pages
University of California Press, 2010
10 x 6.8 x 1.1 inches
ISBN 9780520260429
Art History, German History 

$85.00 $85.00