For many Americans, the phrase “Berlin in the 1920s” conjures a single image: that of madcap nightlife, of decadence set against a deteriorating social landscape. In short, it is the Weimar world of Cabaret, as indelibly depicted on film and on stage. But the truth of this time was far more complex. Agonizing political realities set the stage, from the ruinous economy that developed in the wake of Germany’s defeat in World War I to the rise of Nazism toward the decade’s end. The culture that developed in this unique time and place had its share of spectacular moments. Yet Berlin was, and is, more than the sum of these disparate parts.
In presenting “Berlin Metropolis: 1918-1933,” the Neue Galerie New York seeks to move beyond the clichés. Approximately 300 works are on display, organized into five thematic groupings: The Birth of the Republic; A New Utopia; The “Neue Frau,” or New Woman; The Crisis of Modernity; and Into the Abyss. By exploring these important themes we hope to illuminate the true nature of the social transformation that took place in Berlin in just over a decade.
Our esteemed curator for this presentation is Dr. Olaf Peters. He has organized several major exhibitions for the Neue Galerie, including “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937” and “Otto Dix.” Dr. Peters is a remarkable scholar, and he has created an exhibition of impressive scope and depth.
Director, Neue Galerie New York