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More Strange Doings on the German Art Front:

Last week it was the Deutsche Opera's announcement that it was cancelling future performances of Mozart's "Idomeneo" because one of the scenes in the production involves showing the decapitated head of Mohammed (and Jesus, Poseidon, and Buddha as well) and because of post-Danish-cartoon-imbroglio fears of a violent reaction.
This week, another brouhaha is afoot. The American artist Jonathon Hexner was commissioned by the German publication SLEEK to create a video installation as part of its EAST/WEST exhibition (sponsored by German publisher Axel Springer); the piece was to have been displayed on the screen atop the Axel Springer building in Berlin.
The piece Hexner submitted, entitled "I Like America and America Likes Me," (the phrase comes from an art "action" performed by the German artis Joseph Beuys in 1974 in New York), can be viewed here. It's a pretty neat piece — but Axel Springer has determined, oddly enough, that it is too "Anti-American" to be displayed, and they've pulled it from the exhibition. [The BBC's "World" radio program ran a story today about the controversy, which can be heard at their website.] It does seem like there's more than the usual amount of fear and loathing at the moment in Germany regarding the power of art to make people mad, and even violent, and their expressive culture is likely to be the worse for it.

JT Wenting (mail):
A German calling something too ANTI-American?
That's frontpage news, why wasn't it published in every newspaper and TV show on the continent?
10.5.2006 12:16am
Christopher M (mail):
It does seem like there's more than the usual amount of fear and loathing at the moment in Germany regarding the power of art to make people mad, and even violent, and their expressive culture is likely to be the worse for it.

Sure, but at the same time, if art is having that kind of impact on people, doesn't it also say something good about their expressive culture? Or "receptive culture," or something?
10.5.2006 12:40am
Lev:
It isn't having that kind of impact on people if, as the Idomeneo was, the production is cancelled in fear of the reactions of thugs.
10.5.2006 1:19am
ForestGirl:
I don't really get it, but any blatant Anti-Americanism is hard to see.

JTWenting: Axel Springer, publisher of the much-beloved tabloid "newspaper" Die Bild (half-naked woman below the fold every day), is definitely the most conservative and pro-American publication in Germany.
10.5.2006 3:53am
Kevin P. (mail):
Link

Excerpts:


The title of the work is filled with irony. Beuys opposed American military actions in Vietnam, and his work as an artist was a challenge to the hegemony of American art.

...

In addition, fifty new copies of the Wall Street Journal were introduced each day, which the coyote acknowledged by urinating on them.

...

Beuys saw the debasement of the coyote as a symbol of the damage done by white men to the American continent and its native cultures.


Basically, another gassy piece of "art" by another gassy European leftist, from the continent that gave us the words Colonialism, Holocaust, Genocide, World War, Cold War ...
10.5.2006 9:47am
Hoosier:
Couldn't they ban it simply because it's . . . you know . . . kinda stupid? As in "I don't want stupid stuff on top of my building."
10.5.2006 11:31am