Caricatured Tribute to Artists on ‘List’


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“Hitler’s List: An Illustrated Guide to ‘Degenerates'” by John Minnion. (Checkmate, 2004).

In the summer of 1937, the Nazi Party opened an exhibition in Munich titled “Great German Art.”

Much of the show’s art was culled from Hitler’s personal collection — he had amassed a number of works with the proceeds from his autobiography, “Mein Kampf.” The show consisted of pure lines and pure themes, with scenes of immaculate peasants tilling the fields, families sitting down to hearty dinners and soldiers fighting for an Aryan Germany.

More than 420,000 visitors gathered to see this show in the city that was the birthplace of the Nazi Party.

Later that week, the Nazis opened another exhibition across the street. This time the theme was “Degenerate Art.”

Works confiscated from German galleries were badly hung on the walls, labeled with crude hand-scrawled captions. It was a showcase, a freak show of the works of “degenerate” artists, Bolsheviks, homosexuals and Jews, whose work and lives the Nazis hoped to extinguish in the coming years.

More than 2 million people saw that show. It was a blockbuster success.

John Minnion, a British caricaturist, speculates that the large crowds may have come to jeer and mock the works by Jews and other undesirables in the exhibition. But he points out that Hitler did not prevail. So, he says, “we can look back and say that this was the art of the 20th century.”

Minnion has collected 86 stories of this generation of visual artists, as well as writers, scientists, philosophers and musicians, and caricatured them in a new book, “Hitler’s List: An Illustrated Guide to ‘Degenerates,'” which is on sale at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow.

According to Minnion, whose pictures have appeared in the New Statesman, BBC On Air, The Guardian and the Financial Times, the book was the brainchild of Chris Schwarz, an old friend, who runs the Galicia Museum.

Schwarz suggested that for his next project Minnion do a study of notable European figures of the 1930s whose contributions to intellectual and cultural development, abhorrent to the Nazis, landed them on “Hitler’s list.” Minnion, taking up the challenge, researched the period, selected the people he wished to include and brought them to life in drawings based on photos, self-portraits and other images. “The Holocaust is such a serious topic, and caricatures are so frivolous, but Chris convinced me to see that the story of the tragedy would be there all the time,” Minnion said. “We’re talking about a collection of individual stories. These people or their work survived, despite Hitler’s intentions.”

Each capsule biography, limited to one or two pages, delivers the story of a life lived with ambition and artistry.

From such musicians as Alma Rose, a niece of the composer Gustav Mahler who directed and played violin in the orchestra at Auschwitz and died in the camp, to such painters as Marc Chagall, whose personal art focused on images of rabbis, lovers and animals, to Edith Stein, the Jewish woman who became a Catholic nun and died in Auschwitz and later was canonized — a generation of thinkers and doers emerges.

They each challenged the status quo and so attracted the wrath of the Nazis.

“Hitler was a failed artist, but he had a definite aesthetic,” Minnion said, speaking from the Galicia Museum. An exhibition of his drawings opened there Feb. 17. “He felt that art should have no ambiguity, but great art always has ambiguity.”

Minnion has self-published “Uneasy Listening: A Caricature Guide to 20th Century Composers” (2003) and he illustrated “Glued to the Googlebox: 50 Years of British Television” (2003) with text by Lynn Truss. But he says neither book had the wide and immediate appeal of “Hitler’s List,” which Schwarz describes as a book of introductions to the people who shaped the last century.

“The megalomania and fundamentalist stupidity of the Nazi era not only set back German and European culture, but sowed the seeds of the Third Reich’s own destruction,” Schwarz said.

The book seeks to put a human — albeit cartoon — face on some of these cultural innovators. Minnion also wants to highlight that the people Hitler most hated, the ones he thought of as “cultural bolshevists,” he also thought of as being Jews.

In today’s climate in parts of Europe, with anti-Semitism re-emerging, it is becoming increasingly important to remember the great personalities of the last century.

If nothing else, Minnion’s book introduces them to a new generation, who will remember them, their artwork, their stories, their discoveries and their lives.

“If I perish don’t let my paintings die,” Felix Nussbaum, a Jewish painter who kept working even as he hid from the Nazis, once said. “Show them to people.”

Nussbaum died in Auschwitz in 1944.

For information about publishing or buying “Hitler’s List,” e-mail Chris Schwarz at chris@galiciajewishmuseum.org.

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7 Days in the Arts


Saturday, January 15

The Moshav Band be jammin’ locally tonight, thanks to the Happy Minyan and the Breslov Shul. Straight outta Israel, the group will perform a mix of their classics and new songs inspired by Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach. Kabbalah-inspired musician LevYatan opens the show.

8:30 p.m. (doors open), 9 p.m. (concert). $10 (students), $15 (general). Breslov Shul, 1499 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles. ” width=”15″ height=”1″ alt=””>

Sunday, January 16

With Jewish classical music that ranges from the more traditional homage to the Rambam by Avi Eillam Amzallag to a “Surfer’s Guide for the Perplexed” by professor David Lefkowitz, tonight’s “Synergy” concert is well named. The combined energy of these varying parts is bound to make for some serious aural stimulation. The show also features “Spinoza,” a musical exploration of the Jewish thinker, and “The Dybbuk Suite,” based on the classic Anski play, and is brought to you by the folks at the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity.

7:30 p.m. $15-$18. Emanuel Arts Theatre, 8844 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. R.S.V.P., (323) 658-5824.

Monday, January 17

With more gold and platinum than a rapper’s got in his smile, lyricist Marty Panzer is yet another one of those guys you’ve heard, but never heard of. Tonight, hear songs like “Even Now” and “It’s a Miracle” performed by Panzer and his friends in “An Evening With Marty Panzer.”

7:30 p.m. $50. Coronet Theatre, 366 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 960-4410.

Tuesday, January 18

“Oooooooooooklahoma!” comes to SoCal today. A newly conceived national tour of the original Rodgers and Hammerstein musical comes to Los Angeles for two weeks only. It’s cowmen vs. farmers – and Curly vs. Jud in the musical battle over the affection of a certain farm girl named Laury. In short, delicious cheese.

8 p.m. (Tues.-Fri.), 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. (Sat.), 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. (Sun.). $42.50-$67.50. Pantages Theatre, 6233 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles.

Wednesday, January 19

One program, two options. Tune in to KCET for chapter one of “Auschwitz: Inside the Nazi State,” which airs on the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation. Alternately, you can attend the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) special viewing and discussion of an abbreviated one-hour version of the six-hour doc on Thursday.

Wed., 9-11 p.m. on KCET, or Thurs., 6:30-8:30 p.m. with the ADL. For screening location, R.S.V.P., (310) 446-8000, ext. 241.

Thursday, January 20

Judith Hoffman takes the antique store to the next level by moving beyond the cluttered retail showroom to a more inviting salon-type atmosphere. Thus, her gallery for Hungarian modernist antiques doubles as “Szalon,” a gallery now exhibiting Russian avant-garde works from the 1910s and ’20s from the collection of artist Katya Kompaneyets. There will be a discussion of the works in conjunction with today’s opening, and light Russian faire will be served.

Through March 18. 7:30 p.m. 910 N. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. (310) 657-0089.

Friday, January 21

Moved by issues and ideas as disparate as the Holocaust and garbage can dwellers, a dozen choreographers present original dance pieces that incorporate modern dance, ballet and jazz in Santa Barbara Dance Alliance’s “New Works: 12 Santa Barbara Choreographers” this weekend.

8 p.m., Jan. 21-23. $16-$50. Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo, Santa Barbara. (805) 963-0408.

Freud’s Grandson Wields a Wild Brush


Decades after Sigmund Freud probed unconscious human drivesin his case histories, his grandson, Lucian, appeared to do the same on canvas.The 110 works in his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art reveal hissubjects in unflinching, microscopic detail — enough to make grandpa blush.

Human beings slump and sprawl like flayed meat, their bodiesblotchy, skin sagging and genitals revealed. The hefty gay performance artistLeigh Bowery and his friend, “Big Sue,” loll like biological mountains orrejects from a Rubens bacchanal. Other subjects recline, pores and chafe marksexposed, in uncomfortable positions on ramshackle furniture.

In “Painter Working, Reflection (1993),” Freud himselfstands naked and sinewy, feebly wielding a palette knife. Even the queen ofEngland looks bloated and dour in her 2001 portrait.

“Mustn’t be indulgent to the subject matter,” Freud, 80,has said. “I’m only interested in my sitters as animals.”

Like a shrink, Freud — who is routinely called the greatestliving portraitist — doesn’t like to answer personal questions and rarely givesinterviews. But his confidant and biographer, William Feaver, the exhibit’scurator, cheerfully addressed Freud’s pet peeve: comparisons to his famous grandfather.Speaking by telephone from London, Feaver suggested this is why the Jewishartist has never once visited London’s (Sigmund) Freud Museum.

“He doesn’t like that much interpretation placed onpsychoanalysis in his work,” Feaver said. “The parallel people are tempted todraw — that the [sitters] are lying on couches, opening themselves up to thepainter — is just a very convenient coincidence.”

“But Lucian doesn’t see people that way,” Feaver added. “Hesees them as interesting heads and bodies. He is obsessed with painting realpeople in real space, rather than with any thought process, although he doeslook for people who have what you call character.”

Whether or not Freud has absorbed the psychoanalytictradition, he is regarded with the kind of raised eyebrows once elicited by hisgrandfather’s theories. In his adopted home of England, where he has had twowives, umpteen mistresses and nine children, the German-born Jew is as famousas a movie star.

His retrospective earned accolades when it opened atLondon’s Tate Britain on the occasion of his 80th birthday, but hisless-than-flattering portrait of the queen (and the naked pictures he haspainted of his daughters) continue to spark controversy. Last year, Tatlermagazine named Freud the most eligible bachelor (after Prince Harry) and gossipcolumnists tittered over his affair with a 27-year-old journalist.

If he seems to consciously revel in the unconscious sexualappetites his grandfather explored, Feaver begs to differ. He said Freud didn’teven meet the psychiatrist until he was 8, when the father of psychoanalysisbegan trekking to Berlin to undergo treatments for his jaw cancer.

When he visited young Lucian’s apartment near theTiergarten, which sported a maid, nanny and cook, “he was the grand old manwith a little white beard who gave generous tips (cash),” Feaver said. “Heseemed to Lucian very ancient but full of jokes.”

Gifts from grandfather included Bruegel prints and astorybook of “The Arabian Nights” illustrated with Dulac watercolors. WhenLucian visited the elder Freud’s home, he fingered the small artifacts thatmade up the psychiatrist’s beloved antiquities collection.

As he grew older, he didn’t read much of grandpa’spsychoanalytic work, although he adored Sigmund Freud’s controversial “Mosesand Monotheism,” which suggested Moses was an Egyptian. “An outrageous book:His final kick at the Talmud,” Freud has said.

“Like his grandfather, Lucian has this mischievous streak,”Feaver said. “He likes expectations to be upset.”

The Freuds were Jewish but nonpracticing, which didn’tprevent the Nazis from closing the architectural practice of Ernst Freud,Lucian’s father, in 1933. The budding painter witnessed “nasty remarks andbullying,” although his description of the time tends to be blase.

Freud has recounted how, as one of two Jews at his school,he was “ineligible for Hitler Youth but was told he wasn’t missing much, thoughthe sausages were good,” Feaver wrote in the exhibition catalogue. Freud’sbiographer believes this kind of breezy remark demonstrates “how Lucian haslearned the British art of understatement, of making light of things, whichactually connotes strong feeling.”

Nevertheless, Freud “considers himself an emigre, not avictim,” Feaver said. “And he’s always been very, very keen on being a kind ofanarchist and living by his own rules.”

That predilection was evident when the Freuds relocated toEngland in the late summer of 1933, and the budding artist was expelled fromtwo schools, one of them for dropping his trousers in public on a bet. On a tipfrom a girl in a coffee bar, he eventually enrolled in the East Anglian Schoolof Drawing and Painting, where he learned that a portrait could be “revealingin a way that was almost improper,” Feaver said.

After a traumatic stint as a seaman (his convoy was attackedby Germans), Freud was further disturbed by newsreels of concentration camps in1945.

The New Statesman has suggested his painterly “mission has… been to save, in all their ordinary power and imperfect, heartbreakingbeauty, some of the millions of bodies lost and broken in the war.” Feaverdoesn’t think so.

He points out that Freud’s subjects are friends, lovers andacquaintances who sit for up to 150 hours in his shabby studio.

“People say, Lucian’s [subjects] look exhausted andmiserable because they are hunted, but they’re not,” he said. “They’re sleepyand unsmiling because they’ve been posing for so long.

There are, of course, other reasons: In “Hotel Bedroom1954,” Freud’s second wife, Caroline Blackwood, lies in bed like a jaundicedwaif, as her brooding husband looms against closed shutters.

In “Interior in Paddington (1951)” a desiccated-looking manstands next to a wizened potted palm tree that could be his vegetable twin.

When Freud’s mother attempted suicide after her husband’sdeath in 1970, the artist began driving her to his studio to paint her, in partto keep his eye on her. (The painter previously avoided her because she was”the quintessential Freudian, obsessive mother,” Feaver said.) The resultingseries of portraits depicts the former grande dame as passive anddeteriorating.

As to why Freud is preoccupied with sagging flesh, Feaver said,”Because it’s more interesting. People go on and on about the stretch marks,but to Lucian’s mind, bodies are what they are. One of his principals is thatpeople shouldn’t disguise themselves. And once we get past the acne stage, weall sag.”

More than 60 years after the death of his famousgrandfather, Freud continues to earn his own accolades by meticulously paintingfriends, lovers and acquaintances for up to 10 hours a day in his fifth-floorwalk-up studio.

“He wants to paint himself to death,” Feaver said. “He’salways felt he’s trying to beat the clock, and there’s this urgency to keep atit.”

For information about the exhibit, through May 25, call(213) 626-6222. For related programs, call (213) 621-1745.

7 Days In Arts


19/SUNDAY

Isaac Stern’s life has been well-documented. But there are interviews and pictures you haven’t seen. The America-Israel Cultural Foundation, Los Angeles Chapter is hosting "Remembering Isaac," a film retrospective with never-before-seen footage covering his contributions to music and culture, today at 10:30 a.m. Luncheon at the Manhattan Wonton Company follows. $75. Laemmle Music Hall Theater, 9036 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 476-5397.

Hope yesterday’s festival didn’t wear you out too much, ’cause here’s another one you shouldn’t miss. The Venice Art Walk is today, and there’s lots you’ll want to see and buy, from contemporary art to other "steals and deals." There are two auctions as well as studio tours, exhibitions and a food fair. Proceeds benefit the Venice Family Clinic. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Some events also on Friday and Saturday). For event prices and locations, call (310) 392-9255 or visit www.venicefamilyclinic.org.

20/MONDAY

Never underestimate a Jewish mama’s hold on her son. Hank Greenberg accepted an offer to play for the Detroit Tigers when the team’s recruiter attended Shabbat dinner at the Greenberg residence and praised Greenberg’s mother’s gefilte fish. This story is just a portion of one of 16 vignettes about famous Jewish personalities compiled on Florence Markoff’s audio collection, "Famous Jewish Portraits in Sound." Other people featured include Jonas Salk, Golda Meir and Itzhak Perlman. $21.50 (audiocassette), $25 (CD). For more information, visit www.bookmarkproductions.org.

21/TUESDAY

The klezmer revival is in full swing, if you’ll pardon the pun, with three new albums that will have connoisseurs reaffirming their faith in the mighty accordion. April 30 marked Legacy Recordings’ release of "Tanz!," ($11.98) "Abe Schwartz: The Klezmer King" ($11.98) and "From Avenue A to the Great White Way: Yiddish and American Popular Songs 1914-1950" ($19.98). Believers will also be happy to know that all three have been digitally remastered. Can I get an amen? To buy them today, visit www.legacyrecordings.com/klezmermusic.

22/WEDNESDAY

Enrico Donati’s art is inspired by myth and by the stuff of life: mandrakes, fossils and the dust from vacuum bags. In the early years of his career, he joined a New York community of expatriate Surrealist artists displaced by World War II, including André Breton, Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst, who embraced his works. His 1966-1973 "Antimagnetic Series" is on display at galerie yoramgil through June 10. 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. (Tuesday-Saturday ), 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (Sunday). 319 N. Canon Drive, Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 275-8130.

23/THURSDAY

Bernie Berman is a retired Jewish widower who lives alone. His kids don’t visit often, but he does get regular visits by the pretty pre-med student he’s hired to dance for him. Thus begins the tale of family, loneliness, aging, religion and most of the other biggies, in Martin Horsey’s "L’Chaim (To Life)." The play covers all the bases in a lighthearted and affecting manner, and runs through June 23. 8 p.m. (Thursdays through Saturdays), 2 p.m. (Sundays). $20 (Thursdays), $25 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). Senior, student and group discounts available upon request. Odyssey Theatre, 2055 S. Sepulveda Blvd., West Los Angeles. For reservations, call (310) 477-2055.

24/FRIDAY

Alice Meyerlink, a Jewish girl in 1976, and her friend blame their misfortunes on men and seek vengeance on the most available target — the pizza delivery guy. That’s the premise for Darlene Craviotto’s play, "Pizza Man." But men need not fear this comedy because the story has a positive humanistic message. Runs through May 26 at the Actor’s Workout Studio in the NoHo Theater District. 8 p.m. (Fridays and Saturdays), 2 p.m. (Sundays). $11. 4735 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood. For reservations, call (818) 506-3903.

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