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	Image: Ludwig Meidner Apocalyptic landscape 1913. Private collection, courtesy Richard Nagy, London. Photo © Sotheby’s Picture Library © Ludwig Meidner-Archiv. Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Apocalyptic visions lectures

Creativity to catastrophe in the Weimar Republic

The Weimar Republic, established in Germany after World War I in place of the Imperial government, was a politically unstable period but also one of artistic transformation.

During this era of intense creativity and artistic freedom, an explosion of avant-garde movements changed the nature of artistic expression and the notion of what art could be.

Political instability and social upheaval would eventually see the rise of Nazism, leading Germany – and the world – to the brink of apocalypse.

To coincide with the Gallery’s major exhibition The mad square: modernity in German art 1910–1937, the Art Gallery Society presents an eight-part lecture series that explores the political, artistic and social convulsions that would ultimately paralyse the German nation.

The course brings together experts from across various fields in the arts, with introductory and final lectures by curator of The mad square, Jacqueline Strecker.

Image: Ludwig Meidner Apocalyptic landscape 1913. Private collection, courtesy Richard Nagy, London. Photo © Sotheby’s Picture Library © Ludwig Meidner-Archiv. Jüdisches Museum der Stadt Frankfurt am Main

Various Sundays as listed, 10.30am – 1pm
3 July – 25 September 2011

Non-member subscription $320
Non-member single session $45

Member subscription $240
Member single session $35

Bookings and enquiries: 02 9225 1878


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The link above is for subscription bookings

Three full working days (Mon–Fri) notice is required to qualify for a refund. All refunds attract an administration charge of 25% of the ticket price(s) with a minimum charge of $5. With subscription tickets there are no refunds for single sessions, unless a session is cancelled. Not negotiable.

Duration 2 hours, 30 minutes
Location: Domain Theatre

Related exhibition: The mad square: modernity in German art 1910–37

Proudly sponsored by
Arab Bank Australia

The mad square – an overview
Jacqueline Strecker
Curator of The mad square: modernity in German art 1910–37, Jacqueline Strecker, discusses the works in the exhibition and puts them into context.

The ‘Fauves of Germany’ and the ‘French Expressionists’
Terence Maloon
In the first exhibitions of their kind held in Germany, Fauvism and Expressionism were considered to be one and the same. Subsequently, the influence of nationalism and the mutual antagonism of France and Germany created a distinction. This lecture revisits the heady days of ‘German Fauvism’ and examines the persuasive logic of nationalism in driving them apart.


Sunday 3 July 2011 10:30am – 1pm

The world according to Dada
Lorraine Kypiotis
Dada had only one rule: don’t follow the rules. Mocking all established notions of art and good taste, Dada artists produced works in unconventional forms that reflected a cynical attitude. Was it all just nonsense?

Lecture cancellation: Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, Jon Spence’s lecture, What the camera saw: Christopher Isherwood in Berlin, 1929–1933, will not be going ahead and will be replaced by a film screening, Art and Power 1937. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.


Sunday 17 July 2011 10:30am – 1pm

Thoroughly modern opera
Robert Gibson
Forget notions of an antiquated artform playing to a fusty and conservative audience, opera in Weimar Republic Germany was lively, fresh and thoroughly up-to-date. New operas embraced the rhythm of modern life and attempted to close the gap between highbrow art and everyday entertainment, while repertory operas – even those by Wagner – were given a contemporary makeover. But was tinkering with Wagner a step too far for the republic’s disgruntled anti-democrats?

Dance and Weimar republic
Lee Christofis
Pina Bausch, the great German choreographer noted for her violent productions saturated in sexual politics, is rightly claimed as the world’s most radical expressionist choreographer of the late 20th century. Yet the roots of her aesthetic lie in the Dance Theatre and Expressionist Dance that emerged during the Weimar Republic.


Sunday 31 July 2011 10:30am – 1pm

Weimar cinema and the psycho-pathology of images
Christopher Hartney
Kracauer’s standout essay From Caligari to Hitler suggests that the rise of Nazism can be found tightly woven into the deep emotional landscapes of Weimar cinema. The manner in which intensities of desire, hatred, passion and anger are captured on screen reaches new artistic heights and visually we will examine how this great battle is played out in some of the most arresting and spectacular gestures ever captured on film.

Craig Judd
The Constructivists were an international group of artists that embraced the new with an evangelical relish. The quasi-spiritual tone that characterised their pre-war activities becomes focused around the hygiene and clarity of geometry, mathematics and science. The heritage of the Constructivists’ utopian projects is still an important energy operating in contemporary art practice.


Sunday 14 August 2011 10:30am – 1pm

Night mirror: theatre and aesthetics in the Weimar Republic
Tom Wright
The Weimar Era still hangs over the world of art and performance as a period of dynamic invention and powerful dramaturgy. The stage was a place where a society purged itself, and the theatre held a profound fascination for artists who created in the shadowy space between civilised and barbaric, dream and real, night and day.

Oriental authenticity
Julian Droogan
After the horrors of World War I, while much European culture was searching for new intellectual and artistic foundations, some turned their eyes to the Orient in search of a new authenticity. Author Herman Hesse and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung drew heavily on German Orientalism and Romantic ideas to find a higher solace in these turbulent decades. Similar forces shaped a deepening interest in Germany in Eastern religions and symbols, a fascination that would lead to the Nazi’s adoption and distortion of the Indian concepts of ‘Aryan’ and ‘Swastika’.


Sunday 21 August 2011 10:30am – 1pm

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome…
Antony Ernst
Born of a fusion of modernism, jazz, satire, lieder, the French demimonde, Jewish vaudeville and innumerable other influences, the cabarets of Berlin epitomised the frenetic artistic fertility and social instability of the time.

August Sander and the Utopian vision in Weimar photography
Judy Annear
August Sander remains one of the most compelling and influential photographers of the human face. This lecture will examine Sander’s ideas and work in the context of the creative ferment of Weimar Germany.


Sunday 4 September 2011 10:30am – 1pm

Thomas Mann
Robert Spillane
Thomas Mann (1875–1955) was the author of the major classics of modern European fiction, including Death in Venice, The Magic Mountain and Doctor Faustus. His political journey began with nationalistic conservatism, passed through vigorous anti-Nazism and ended with an ambiguous humanism.

The German occult revival
Julian Droogan
The occult revival in Austria and Germany of the early 20th century inspired by Germanic Paganism, Wodanism, and a fascination with all things occult and esoteric, expressed a mad desperation for national pride and power during this era.


Sunday 11 September 2011 10:30am – 1pm

From extraterritorial to exiles: four case studies (Hirschfeld-Mack, Buchholz, Huelsenbeck and Schwitters)
Andrew McNamara
Siegfried Kracauer appropriated the term ‘extra-territorial’ to denote the experience of life in industrial modernity divorced from custom and tradition. Modern artists are in this sense willing extra-territorials. But exile is another thing entirely; for many artists, it was a thoroughly harrowing experience. This talk will examine the fraught ambitions and experiences of these four fascinating and diverse careers.

Degenerate art
Jacqueline Strecker
The notorious Degenerate art exhibition held in Munich in 1937 represented the culmination of the National Socialists’ brutal assault against modernism. This talk explores the confrontation between modern and official art in Nazi Germany.


Sunday 25 September 2011 10:30am – 1pm