Erste russische Kunstausstellung, Berlin (1922) [German]

13 April 2016, dusan

The First Russian Art Exhibition [Erste russische Kunstausstellung] opened at the Van Diemen Gallery on Unter den Linden 21, near the Russian embassy in Berlin, on 15 October 1922. More than 700 works by 167 artists where shown, including paintings, graphic works, sculptures, as well as designs for theater, architectural models, and porcelain. The exhibition’s official host was the Russian Ministry for Information, and it was put together by the artists Naum Gabo, David Shterenberg, and Nathan Altman. El Lissitzky designed the catalogue’s cover. Gabo was in charge of the three rooms where Russian avant-garde art was presented, including several of his own sculptures. Due to the positive response in the press and the large number of visitors (ca. 15,000), the exhibition was prolonged until the end of the year. On the initiative of the International Workers’ Assistance, the show was conceived as a commercial exhibition; the proceeds were to go to “Russia’s starving”. In the Spring of 1923, a version of the exhibition traveled to Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

Publisher Internationale Arbeiterhilfe, Berlin, 1922
31+[46] pages
via Bibliotheque Kandinsky

Commentary: Branko Ve Poljanski (Zenit 1923, trans. 2002), Eckhard Neumann (Art Journal 1967).

PDF (27 MB)

More about the exhibition

Mel Gordon: Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin (2000–)

6 January 2015, dusan

This sourcebook of rare visual documents and study of pre-Nazi, Cabaret-period “Babylon on the Spree” has the distinction of being praised both by scholars and avatars of contemporary culture.

Publisher Feral House, Los Angeles, 2000
Expanded edition, 2006
ISBN 1932595112
303 pages

Review: Lemons (Salon, 2000).


PDF, PDF (64 MB, updated on 2018-5-8)

See also Karl Toepfer, Empire of Ecstasy: Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910-1935, 1997.

Andreas Killen: Berlin Electropolis: Shock, Nerves, and German Modernity (2006)

29 June 2013, dusan

Berlin Electropolis ties the German discourse on nervousness in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to Berlin’s transformation into a capital of the second industrial revolution. Focusing on three key groups—railway personnel, soldiers, and telephone operators—Andreas Killen traces the emergence in the 1880s and then later decline of the belief that modernity caused nervous illness. During this period, Killen explains, Berlin became arguably the most advanced metropolis in Europe. A host of changes, many associated with breakthroughs in technologies of transportation, communication, and leisure, combined to radically alter the shape and tempo of everyday life in Berlin. The resulting consciousness of accelerated social change and the shocks and afflictions that accompanied it found their consummate expression in the discourse about nervousness.”

Wonderfully researched and clearly written, this book offers a wealth of new insights into the nature of the modern metropolis, the psychological aftermath of World War I, and the operations of the German welfare state. Killen also explores cultural attitudes toward electricity, the evolution of psychiatric thought and practice, and the status of women workers in Germany’s rapidly industrializing economy. Ultimately, he argues that the backlash against the welfare state that occurred during the late Weimar Republic brought about the final decoupling of modernity and nervous illness.

Publisher University of California Press, 2006
Weimar and Now: German Cultural Criticism, Volume 38
ISBN 0520931637, 9780520931633
303 pages

review (Eric J. Engstrom, H-German)
review (Harry Oosterhuis, History of Psychiatry)